Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Gen 27
"God's purpose succeeds, in spite of human weaknesses. The
characters in this narrative are the four members of the patriarchal family. Two
of them -- Isaac and Esau -- seek to frustrate the revealed purpose of God.
Rebekah and Jacob seek to carry it out, but by wrong methods. Each of the four
is rebuked and disappointed. Isaac is deceived and frightened. Esau loses all.
Jacob has to flee. Rebekah loses her favorite son (Pro 19:21). So the record
shows that the divine purpose is worked out through a tangled skein of human
weakness and deception.
"In all these circumstances, Jacob was a timid man, dominated
by a desire to serve God and obtain the divine blessing (Gen 28:17-34). His
timidity seen in this incident reveals him as dominated by his mother, in awe of
his father, and in fear of his brother. Divinely contrived circumstances
purifies the character of Jacob, and strengthens it" (GE Mansfield).
Reading 2 - Psa 32
This is one of the penitential psalms (Psa 6, 32, 38, 51, 102,
130, 143). These psalms probably refer to David's sins with Bathsheba and Uriah,
and the aftermath. The probable order of some of these psalms:
Psa 6: where David is weak, weary, and vexed by his disease.
where he sees his sickness as a divine punishment, and more seriously prays to
Psa 51: the sincerest and most abject confession and
Psa 32: Finally, "Blessed in the man whose sins are
"Maschil" means Instruction. But there is nothing particularly
academic here. What a man, a sinner, needs to learn is the facts of his
relationship with God. And how often, as in David's case here, does he learn not
only by the counsel (v 8) of the searching wisdom of God's Word, but also (and
especially) in the harder school of experience. Vv 8,9 chime in with this
This is the first of the 13 Maschil psalms (Psa 32, 42, 44,
45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89,142).
"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins
are covered" (Psa 32:1).
This word "blessed", as in Psa 1:1, emphasizes more than the
idea of receiving good things. It suggests happiness, even exhilaration -- cp v
7: "songs of deliverance". Such a "blessing" may be the possession of the man
who is without sin (Christ only -- Psa 1:1!) and the man whose sins have been
pardoned (all the rest of us -- Psa 32:1!).
"Forgiven" is the Heb "nasa", signifying to be lifted up or
away, as a burden being removed (cp Joh 1:29).
WHOSE SINS ARE COVERED: Men, aware of their sin, seek to hide
it (cp v 3 with Gen 3:8), but God is willing that it be covered (cp v 5 with Gen
3:21; see Psa 51:2,3). The sins of God's people are... "Covered" (Psa 32:1),
"Removed" (Psa 103:12), "Cast behind God's back" (Isa 38:17), "Blotted out" (Psa
51:1; Isa 44:22), "Washed away" (Psa 51:2,7), "Remembered no more" (Jer 31:34),
"Sought for but not found" (Jer 50:20), "Cast into the depths of the sea" (Mic
David is convicted and confesses and repents: 'Blessed is he
whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered'... It could be read like
a cold theological declaration from a list of doctrines, but in fact it was a
gasp of relief: 'Oh the blessedness -- the sheer joy, in fact -- of realizing
that your black sin is covered and forgiven.'
"Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against
him and in whose spirit is no deceit" (v 2).
COUNT: Impute or reckon. A key word in Paul's theology. Used
in Rom 4:1-8 to establish that righteousness was reckoned to Abraham because of
his faith (Gen 15:6) and to David apart from works ("I said, I will
confess..."). The word does not mean a pretended absolution, but a very real
removal of sin. The truth of the matter, in Bible expression, is that a man
whose sins are forgiven is consequently sinless. Not only does God treat him as
though he were sinless, but he IS sinless! "As far as the east is from the west,
so far hath he removed our transgressions from us" (Psa 103:12).
IN WHOSE SPIRIT IS NO DECEIT: Psa 34:17,18. Not like Jacob the
deceiver (Gen 27:36; Joh 1:47), but like Jesus (Isa 53:7; Rev 14:5). A spirit
free from self-deception ('If I don't think about it, it will eventually go
away'): v 11; Luk 11:34. (2) Cp Isa 53:7,9: Christ is the lamb brought to the
slaughter, in whose lips there was no guile (1Pe 2:22,23). Contrast Zec 13:3,
and -- as for those in Christ -- cp Zep 3:13 and Rev 14:5.
Reaching this state of sinlessness is conditional, upon being
free of guile. That is something utterly crucial. David knew that his guile had
been a barrier to pardon, an impediment to peace, an obstruction on the road to
reformation. It keeps the prison shut -- it is an iron bar, a lock with only one
key. Strangely the key is in the hand of the prisoner. The key is this -- quit
the hypocrisy, stop the window dressing, open the heart and make the
"When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning
all day long" (v 3).
WHEN I KEPT SILENT: That is, concerning my sin. Compare the
sinners in Eden hiding from the presence of the Lord (Gen 3:8). And compare
David not wanting to see the point of Nathan's parable until it was forced upon
him: 2Sa 12:1-5. So here is the silence of deception, as David attempted to push
out of his conscience the memory of his offences. But the joy of life and
fellowship with God was gone. David found himself in the condition of his first
parents, who had tried to hide in the garden from the Elohim. He had placed a
heavy lid over his conscience; but beneath the lid, the caldron boiled. It was
only a matter of time before his sins would "blow the lid off"!
MY BONES WASTED AWAY: Literal? Or deep-seated anguish
idiomatically expressed as the consumer or breaker of bones (Psa 22:14; Job
30:17,30; Pro 12:4; Hab 3:16).
"For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength
was sapped as in the heat of summer" (v 4).
FOR DAY AND NIGHT YOUR HAND WAS HEAVY UPON ME: Psa 38:2,3 has
the same background. The "hand of the Lord" often refers to an inflicted
disease: Exo 9:3; Deu 2:15; Act 13:11.
MY STRENGTH WAS SAPPED AS IN THE HEAT OF SUMMER: When God's
hand was upon him, he wilted like a frail plant in the heat of summer. Contrast
Psa 1:3. But the Hebrew here is obscure; the LXX has "while a thorn was fastened
in me" -- with possible reference to the crown of thorns in Mat 27:29 and Mar
Reading 3 - Mat 17:20
"Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if
you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move
from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Mat
"Faith is trust in God, and this implies knowledge of God's
will. A faith to achieve what is not in the will of God is both fruitless and
futile. But living faith, in harmony with God's will, is, Jesus teaches, charged
with power of accomplishment. Jesus gave the same illustration of faith's power
when the disciples had expressed surprise that the fig tree had withered away
(Mat 21:21). On another occasion (Luk 17:7) he used the rooting up of a sycamore
tree instead of moving a mountain, as a figure of difficulty. He had been
speaking of forgiveness to an unlimited number of occasions on repentance; and
as the disciples regarded this as difficult to perform, they begged of him,
'Lord, increase our faith.' This was answered by the reference to faith as a
grain of mustard seed. A living seed has power -- that power is the expression
of its life and is comparable to the power of faith in man. The spirit that
forgives is the expression of the living faith of the disciples of Christ" (John
Carter, "Parables of the Messiah" 124,125).