Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Job 8
Bildad (who speaks in Job 8; 18; 25) rests his philosophy on
tradition (Job 8:8-10; 18:5-20). Like Eliphaz, Bildad has a far too rigid view
of providence (Job 8:11-19; 18:5): that is, he believes that God will not "cast
away" the perfect man (Job 8:20).
Reading 2 - Mic 4:8
"As for you, O watchtower of the flock, O stronghold of the
Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will
come to the Daughter of Jerusalem" (Mic 4:8).
The "watchtower of the flock" is "the tower of Edar (flock)";
this was a watchtower near Bethlehem (Gen 35:21), where shepherds watched over
their flocks of sheep destined for sacrifice in the Temple.
This scene is fulfilled in Luke 2:8: "And there were shepherds
living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at
"The former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will
come to the Daughter of Jerusalem": "The former dominion" is the beginning, or
the nucleus of the Kingdom, with Christ in the midst of Israel: Zec 8:23; Isa
60:3,5-9; 61:5,9; 62:1-3; Eze 37:26-28.
Literally, Jesus Christ was God's "first dominion": the first
place on earth where the Father would reign supreme and unimpeded! The coming of
this "first dominion" was first announced to the shepherds of Bethlehem, at the
birth of Jesus (cp the imagery of childbirth in Mic 4:910), just as this verse
The first place on earth where the dominion of "Christ the
Lord" (Luke 2:11) was proclaimed was the hills near Bethlehem, the city of
David. The angels sang of the birth of one in whom God would dwell in fullness,
one who was the "kingdom of God" upon earth in its initial form. Christ would
proclaim "glory to God" and "peace... toward men" (the true "peace" of sins
forgiven, and reconciliation) (Luke 2:14). And he will finally bring that glory
and peace in its consummate fullness when the true Kingdom comes at last to the
"daughter of Zion".
Reading 3 - Heb 13:2
"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some
people have entertained angels without knowing it" (Heb 13:2).
Literally, show hospitality or love to strangers or
foreigners. This is translated from the Greek "philoxenos" (1Ti 3:2), which
occurs in the New Testament only here and Rom 12:13, although the related work
("hospitable") occurs also among the qualifications for elders listed in 1Ti 3:2
and Tit 1:8, and also 1Pe 4:9). Such hospitality is commanded by the Law of
Moses (Deu 10:19) and in the New Testament (Rom 12:13; 1Pe 4:9; 1Ti 5:10). Those
who care for the little ones care for Christ (Mat 25:38,40). Hospitality was
highly esteemed in the ancient world and was certainly very important for
Christians. Accommodation at inns was expensive, and in any case inns had a bad
reputation. But as Christian preachers traveled around, believers gave them
lodging and so facilitated their mission (see esp 3Jo 1:5-8). Without
hospitality in Christian homes, the spread of the faith would have been much
Some have entertained "angels" "without knowing it": Abraham
(Gen 18:1-8) and Lot (Gen 19:1-3), but possibly also to Gideon (Jdg 6:11-22),
and Manoah and the mother of Samson (Jdg 13:3-21). Angels also appeared to
Hagar, Daniel, the shepherds, Peter, and many others. Compare the two at Emmaus
(Luk 24:15-31). The writer is not advocating hospitality on the off chance that
one might happen to receive an angel as guest but rather because God is pleased
when believers are hospitable. Sometimes unexpectedly happy results follow acts
It is always possible God may manifest His care and protection
in just such a way today -- the "without knowing it" reminds us that, even if
this were to occur, we might never know when it did... when some "unnumbered
comforts" were bestowed upon us!
Are there any reasons why we should think that an immortal
angel could NOT appear to us today? None that I know of. Of course the verse
does say "unawares"... so it sounds like, by the very nature of things, we
wouldn't be able to prove it -- even if we were visited by angels of God. And we
know, for that matter, that mortal men and women can be employed in the
providence of God as His "messengers" (or angels). (The same thing was true in
Bible times: think of the two spies who came to Rahab: the word in Jam 2:25 is
"spies" in NIV, and "messengers" in KJV; it is in fact "aggelos" or angels.
Similarly, Boaz entertained Ruth, and she proved to be a "messenger" from God,
by which Boaz was richly blessed.)
But I wouldn't consider that examples of mortal "angels" being
sent would necessarily rule out immortal "angels" being sent too. Any way, if
nothing else (and even if we never know!), it's probably healthy to keep that
thought in mind. It may make us kinder and more courteous to the next store
clerk, or deliveryman, or homeless person, or internet correspondent we