Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Job 23:3
"If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his
dwelling!" (Job 23:3).
"In Job's uttermost extremity he cried after the Lord. The
longing desire of an afflicted child of God is once more to see his Father's
face. His first prayer is not 'O that I might be healed of the disease which now
festers in every part of my body!' nor even 'O that I might see my children
restored from the jaws of the grave, and my property once more brought from the
hand of the spoiler!' but the first and uppermost cry is, 'O that I knew where I
might find HIM, who is my God! that I might come even to His seat!' God's
children run home when the storm comes on. It is the heaven-born instinct of a
gracious soul to seek shelter from all ills beneath the wings of Jehovah. 'He
that hath made his refuge God,' might serve as the title of a true believer. A
hypocrite, when afflicted by God, resents the infliction, and, like a slave,
would run from the Master who has scourged him; but not so the true child of
God; he kisses the hand which smote him, and seeks shelter from the rod in the
bosom of the God who frowned upon him. Job's desire to commune with God was
intensified by the failure of all other sources of consolation. The patriarch
turned away from his sorry friends, and looked up to the celestial throne, just
as a traveller turns from his empty skin bottle, and betakes himself with all
speed to the well. He bids farewell to earth-born hopes, and cries, 'O that I
knew where I might find my God!' Nothing teaches us so much the preciousness of
the Creator, as when we learn the emptiness of all besides. Turning away with
bitter scorn from earth's hives, where we find no honey, but many sharp stings,
we rejoice in Him whose faithful word is sweeter than honey or the honeycomb. In
every trouble we should first seek to realize God's presence with us. Only let
us enjoy His smile, and we can bear our daily cross with a willing heart for His
dear sake" (CH Spurgeon).
Reading 2 - Zec 1:4
"Do not be like your forefathers, to whom the earlier prophets
proclaimed: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Turn from your evil ways and
your evil practices.' But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares
the LORD" (Zec 1:4).
Zechariah was to warn the Israelites not to be like their
forefathers -- who refused to respond to the preaching of earlier (pre-exilic)
prophets who urged them to repent (eg, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Habakkuk).
Their failure to do so resulted in the heaviest of punishments falling upon
them: cp 2Ki 17:13,14; 2Ch 36:15-17; Jer 7:25,26.
TURN FROM YOUR EVIL WAYS...: "The world says, in its little,
passing wisdom, that if you desire a better position in life: act and dress for
it now. Live mentally in its atmosphere. Adopt all the ways and views constant
with it. Eliminate from your life those things that are beneath its dignity and
importance. Lift your conduct to comport yourself on its level. This is the
world's meaningless 'advancement': but the principle is so true in eternal
things. If we expect to be made 'equal to the angels' and 'stand in the presence
of God' throughout eternity, we must start acting like it now. We must live in
harmony with it. Many things must be put away which -- though not really 'bad'
in themselves, and quite suitable for earthlings -- are quite out of place in
the environment we seek, and for which we must prepare ourselves. Do not
carelessly indulge yourself at present with things inconsistent with divinity,
in the vain delusion they'll be miraculously and conveniently, at the last day,
cleaned out of your mind and interests, to make you suitable for God's company.
It will be too late then. It's your whole life's present purpose (and
opportunity) to labor fervently on it now -- with, of course, God's offered and
essential help. Time is short! Don't drift in fatal self-delusion" (GV
Reading 3 - 3Jo 1:8
"We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we
may work together for the truth" (3Jo 1:8).
Aspects of fellowship:
Fellow-heirs: "This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are
HEIRS TOGETHER with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together
in the promise in Christ Jesus" (Eph 3:6).
Fellow-soldiers: " But I think it
is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and
FELLOW SOLDIER, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my
needs" (Phi 2:25).
Fellow-helpers: as above (3Jo 1:8)
"Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews
among my FELLOW WORKERS for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort
to me" (Col 4:11).
Fellow-servants: "Then each of them was given a white
robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their
FELLOW SERVANTS and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was
completed" (Rev 6:11).
Fellow-prisoners: "Greet Andronicus and Junias, my
relatives who have been IN PRISON WITH ME" (Rom 16:7).
"Yes, and I ask you, loyal YOKEFELLOW, help these women who have contended at my
side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my FELLOW
WORKERS, whose names are in the book of life" (Phi 4:3).
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but FELLOW CITIZENS with
God's people and members of God's household" (Eph 2:19).