Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Ezr 7:27,28
"Praise be to the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put it
into the king's heart to bring honor to the house of the LORD in Jerusalem in
this way and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his
advisers and all the king's powerful officials. Because the hand of the LORD my
God was on me, I took courage and gathered leading men from Israel to go up with
me" (Ezra 7:27,28).
"Ezra may have been the agent, but he understood that the work
was really God's. This is an attitude all God's servants should attempt to
adopt: thankfulness that God in His mercy has allowed human involvement in the
working out of His great plan and purpose."
THE HAND OF THE LORD MY GOD WAS ON ME: "This can be discovered
and proved true by experience. Work done for God and not for selfish motives
brings its own reward: peace of mind and contentment. As the Apostle wrote,
'Godliness with contentment is GREAT GAIN' (1TI 6:10). ¶ Undoubtedly it was
as a result of Ezra's deep pre-occupation with study and meditation in the word
of God's law that he was able to see with great clarity 'the hand of God' in
many aspects of the events in which he played his part. This perception was to
give him great comfort and confidence in the difficult times he faced when he
reached Jerusalem, and the phrase is therefore found often on his lips: Ezr
7:6,9; 8:18,22,31" (Michael Ashton, "The Exiles Return").
Reading 2 - Hos 8:7
"They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no
head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow
it up" (Hos 8:7).
Israel had sown the wind, something foolish and worthless (cp
Job 7:7; Pro 11:29; Ecc 1:14,17), namely idolatry. Sowing the "wind" of vanities
(idols) will yield the "whirlwind" of Divine judgment!
Paul comments on this: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be
mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature,
from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit,
from the Spirit will reap eternal life" (Gal 6:7,8).
THE STALK HAS NO HEAD; IT WILL PRODUCE NO FLOUR: The
"whirlwind" from God will destroy their crops.
WERE IT TO YIELD GRAIN, FOREIGNERS WOULD SWALLOW IT UP: And
even if the "whirlwind" of God does not destroy all their crops, then alien
marauders will take anything that is left.
Reading 3 - Acts 27:39
"When daylight came, they did not recognize the land" (Acts
"Principles are like stars, constant and comprehensive, but
not local or particular. The pilot with only local knowledge may guide the ship
through the well-known channel and into the old port, but a knowledge of the
stars is necessary when sailing in unknown seas. If a pilot should mistake a
foreign port for the one he knows and attempt to guide the vessel according to
the old rules he will bring it to disaster. Ships of various kinds have been
wrecked through such mistaken confidence. Oftentimes men have ignored principles
and have applied the lessons learned in former years to circumstances that are
totally different. They have even quoted the words of former leaders in a manner
that would horrify such leaders could they rise from their graves and witness
the application" (Islip Collyer, "Principles and Proverbs").