Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Ch 35:24,25
"So they took him out of his chariot, put him in the other
chariot he had and brought him to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried in the
tombs of his fathers, and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him. Jeremiah
composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the men and women singers
commemorate Josiah in the laments" (2Ch 35:24,25).
Josiah was the most righteous and useful man of his age; yet
he died at the age of thirty-nine, when -- had he remained alive -- he could
have done so much good. This sort of thing can seem like such a mystery; yet it
that the God of heaven is no respecter of persons;
that death is
remorseless and irresistible;
that there is nothing and no one on this
fleeting earth on which we should set our hearts, or put our trust; and
there must be a resurrection and life eternal for God's faithful servants, for
"God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
And it teaches us one more thing besides: "The righteous
perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no
one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil" (Isa
57:1). Great evil and judgment was soon to fall upon the nation of Judah, but
God's faithful servant Josiah was to be taken away before the worst of it
arrived. And so we learn that death -- far from a punishment -- can in fact be a
real blessing; and that we should trust in God alone and recognize that, in all
things, He knows what is best, and He does what is best for us.
Reading 2 - Hos 3:1
"Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by
another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though
they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes" (Hos 3:1).
"We are brought back to the current relationship of husbands
to their wives, and as far as Hosea is concerned the outcome is a happy one. The
first verse reveals the profound spirit of love, pity and forgiveness that is so
characteristic of God. It made Him send the prophet to do what He Himself had
done throughout history: to love and to seek the sinner in order to restore her
to favour. It was not an easy task for Hosea, even though it may have been in
his heart, because Gomer had destroyed his happiness and ruined his marriage.
Nevertheless he obeyed the divine command... There is a consistent divine logic
behind this command: I love the sinner, therefore you must love your wife who
has sinned; I pity the wayward, hence you must pity your wife who has betrayed
you; I forgive the disobedient, so you must forgive your wife who disobeyed the
marriage covenant; I am compassionate to the weak, thus you must show compassion
to the wife who yielded to temptation. This is the divine way of life" (John
Marshall, "The Christadelphian" 117:6).
Reading 3 - Acts 19:19
"A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls
together and burned them publicly" (Acts 19:19).
Were these disciples graduating from an imperfect to a more
perfect faith? Or new converts renouncing their old ways? Or both?
"The Word of God has power in this wicked city, and the power
must have been mighty, which would make them willing to destroy their property.
"From this instructive passage we may learn that: (1) True
religion has the power to break the hold of unjust and dishonest means of living
over sinners. (2) Those who have been engaged in an un-Christian and
dishonorable practice will abandon it when they become Christians. (3) Their
abhorrence of their former course ought to be expressed as publicly as was the
offense. (4) The evil practice will be abandoned at any sacrifice, however
great. The question is 'what is right?' Not 'what will it cost?'
"If what they did when they were converted was right -- and
who can doubt it? -- it sets forth a great principle on which new converts
should act" (Albert Barnes).
"When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came
to fifty thousand drachmas" (Acts 19:19b).
At a day's wages per drachma (as per the NIV margin), the
total value could be several million dollars in today's terms.