The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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April 26

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

Reading 1 - Deu 12:5-7

"But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you" (Deu 12:5-7).

Notice that there was to be one, singular and unique, "place" chosen by God -- there He would place His Holy Name, and there alone would Israel go to worship Him. This is in marked and intended contrast to the many and varied places of "worship" of the false gods of the land: high places, and sacred stones, and Asherah poles (vv 2,3) under every spreading tree -- abominable sites, as well as abominable "sights": lewd and immoral!

So it has always been: only one way that leads to life, but a hundred paths that meander here and there, winding through every confusing backwater and surveying every vice, until they all end at last in death. "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

Reading 2 - Ecc 5:10

"Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income" (Ecc 5:10).

It is a fundamental fact of life that the acquisition and enjoyment of "things" can never achieve satisfaction, primarily because -- no matter how rich one is -- there are always more "things" to be lusted for, and acquired. This is a prescription for unhappiness. The fabulously wealthy John D. Rockefeller was once asked how much more money he wanted. He replied, "Just a little bit more!" My father once spoke of the richest family in the county where I grew up: "They don't want a lot more land -- just what adjoins them!" This is a problem for the whole human race. They get -- they want more; they get more -- they want yet more! "The leech has two daughters. 'Give! Give!' they cry"... some things and some people "are never satisfied" (Pro 30:15).

It should be noted that this verse speaks, not of those who HAVE money, but of those who LOVE money. Having and loving are not the same thing! One may -- like an Abraham -- possess much wealth, yet not truly love it -- but simply be grateful for it, and use it wisely and well. On the other hand, one may -- like a Judas -- have little or nothing in the way of this world's wealth, yet desperately desire such wealth -- so much so as to do almost anything to acquire it. This is of course the same point the apostle Paul was making when he wrote to Timothy: "People who WANT to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1Ti 6:9,10).

I once worked in a downtown Austin bank. Austin at that time was an up-and-coming business center, but it still retained a lot of the old-time small-town flavor. At first I was impressed by the very well-dressed, well-groomed folks who came into the bank on business. At the same time, I was somewhat amused at the other sorts of customers who showed up -- farmers and ranchers in their pick-ups and old workclothes. But one day it dawned me that the "fashionable" sort were there begging to borrow money, while the "old blue-jeans and dirty boots" set were there to invest the money they already had.

Reading 3 - Acts 2:1-4

"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" (Acts 2:1-4).

"To the thoughtful mind the greatest argument for the resurrection of Christ must always be the fact that Christianity rose with its founder. Nothing but Resurrection can explain the transformation of the men we saw running in panic from Gethsemane into the fearless evangelists of the Acts of the Apostles. These cowed, despondent men stood forth in the city they dreaded and faced rulers and people alike, indicting them for slaying their Lord, announcing his resurrection, and baptizing thousands of repentant Jews who trembled at their words. Before, they had been in mortal fear of arrest; now they were to go forth boldly facing imprisonment, persecution and death, and they were to go forth gloriously, counting it joy to suffer for his sake" (Melva Purkis, "A Life of Jesus" 353).

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