The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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April 20

Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.

Reading 1 - Deu 3:27

"Go up to the top of Pisgah and look west and north and south and east. Look at the land with your own eyes, since you are not going to cross this Jordan" (Deu 3:27).

The Law -- typified by Moses its giver -- had to be crucified, or put to death, before "Joshua" (or "Jesus", as in the New Testament) could enter the Promised Land. But, like Abraham, Moses the faithful man was shown the land he would later possess (Gen 13:14,15). It was wonderfully merciful of Yahweh that Moses -- his eye undimmed -- might be allowed such a vision of what will surely be his future glory with his Saviour and ours: an eternal inheritance in the Land of Promise, after his resurrection from the dead.

Reading 2 - Pro 30:8

"Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread" (Pro 30:8).

In the materialistic age in which we sojourn, we see all around us both men and women striving for greater things, seeking better work conditions, better pay, a better position in society. And even for Christ's brethren, there is immense pressure for them to "succeed" in the things of this life -- a success which is measured purely in terms of social advantages, and material possessions. Yet when measured against the standards of Divine Wisdom, this "success" proves to be nothing short of failure.

"Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luk 12:15). This was the exhortation of the Lord Jesus, introducing his parable of the man seeking to build bigger and better barns in which to store his accumulation of wealth.

But although riches are not to be sought after; neither is there any virtue in poverty. There are those who suppose that there is righteousness in becoming poor for poverty's sake, and so give up all to live on the goodwill of others. But there can be no virtue in making ourselves burdensome to others, or even worse, looking to the state as a provider. Indeed, scripturally, poverty is associated with shame: "Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured" (Pro 13:18).

There is no intrinsic virtue to poverty, for it merely cultivates covetousness, and in many cases, theft to obtain that which is desired, yet beyond lawful means to obtain.

Reading 3 - John 13:17

"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them" (John 13:17).

"Happiness is not in catering to desire, but in putting desire away. Happiness is not in seeking pleasure, but in recognizing and thankfully enjoying the myriad of pleasures that God showers bountifully on us every moment: in His love, in His Word, in His Purpose, in His marvelous Creation: from the infinitely small to the infinitely great -- all infinitely beautiful. Happiness is not in getting, but in giving: not in being served, but in serving (though truly there is happiness in being served -- if the service is of need beyond our own capacity to fill, and if the service is in love). Christ tells us where happiness is: in pureness of heart, in meekness, in mercifulness, in hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Don't look for it anywhere else. It isn't there. It must be created within ourselves. Its source is of God" (GVG).

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