Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Ch 18; 19
In 2Ch 18, we see the beginnings of what amounted to
Jehoshaphat's three-fold "unequal yoking" with unbelievers:
First of all, he became allied with Ahab in war (2Ch 18:1-3).
was allied with Ahaziah in commerce (2Ch 20:35,36); and
Finally, he was
allied with Israel in marriage -- through his son Jehoram (2Ch
"When Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned safely to his palace
in Jerusalem, Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to
the king, 'Should you help the wicked and love [or 'make alliances with'] those
who hate the LORD? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you" (2Ch
"There is a difference between doing good to unbelievers and
cultivating friendship with them; and the saint is careful to observe this
difference, lest he come under the rebuke that greeted the ears of Jehoshaphat,
on his return from friendly co-operation with Ahab: 'Shouldest thou help the
ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? Therefore is wrath upon thee from
before the Lord.' We can have our conversation [way of life] towards the world
in all courtesy and benevolence, without going on to their ground, and joining
affinity in schemes of pleasure, profit or friendship" (Robert Roberts, "Seasons
Reading 2 - Dan 1:11,12
"Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had
appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 'Please test your servants
for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink' " (Dan
To allay the official's fears (v 10), Daniel proposes a
relatively brief test. Only 10 days would not be enough time to do irreparable
damage; so presumably the effects could be reversed after the 10 days
"It could have cost their lives but despite that threat they
pressed on determined to give God first place. In religious circles we very
often hear that we must put God first. It gets drummed into us. But here is a
very practical example -- not a lesson -- of some young men who did just that
and were blessed because of it. It shows us that we can stand up and be counted
for God and that when we do, God will reward us for it.
"Daniel and his three friends determined not to defile
themselves with the food of the Babylonians. They wanted to stay holy to God and
to put God first in their lives. This must have been a tough move. By standing
apart they were going against the wishes of the most powerful man in the world,
they were standing alone when all their friends were going with the flow, and
their lives were on the line for just suggesting it. But because they put God
first, God blessed them, so that even in their ten-day trial period, they looked
healthier and better nourished than any of their equals. God also gave them more
wisdom and knowledge than anyone else.
"So let us always put God first in both the small things and
in the big things, and may God bless us for it" (Robert Prins).
Reading 3 - John 19:8,9
"When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went
back inside the palace. 'Where do you come from?' he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave
him no answer" (John 19:8,9).
"What was the single most amazing thing that Jesus did? Was it
the overcoming of the tempter in the wilderness? Was it acts of healing? Of
raising the dead to life? Was it even hanging on the cross?
"I submit that the single most amazing thing that our Lord
did, was to be silent.
"Jesus was on trial. He was set upon by a band of
none-too-gentle soldiers, under orders to whisk him away to a night-time court.
False witnesses accused him. Malicious council members conspired against him.
Falsely pious leaders plotted with evil intent against him. And all the while,
Jesus knew that he was right, and they were wrong.
"Before them was a loved Son. The accused was the only one who
was truly blameless. The only one who really cared in his heart for the nation
that these brutish elders thought they were saving from the Romans. Before them
was someone who had only and always given of himself for others. The only one
who had the power to truly do good. The only one who had the power to throw off
the true yoke. Jesus was silent.
"Jesus was not powerless. He could have confuted the lies. He
could have shouted down the insinuations as well as the blunt accusations. He
could have put them in their place. He could have annihilated their arguments.
He could have used his power to hurt them, or destroy them, and escape. He was
right, and they were all wrong. Jesus was silent.
"How do we react, I wonder, to words spoken against us? Do we
consider that they may be justified? Most times they probably are, and we are
blind to our own failings.
"More often, perhaps, we are blinded by our sense of justice.
We are quick to excuse ourselves, and even quicker to attack supposed injustice
against ourselves. We may lash out most often against those closest to us. When
we are tempted to react in such a way, let us think on the mind of Christ. 'Let
this mind be in you...' " (Mike Bull).