The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

Previous Index Next

April 27

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

Reading 1 - Deu 13:1-3

"If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, 'Let us follow other gods' (gods you have not known) 'and let us worship them,' you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deu 13:1-3).

"In the book of Deuteronomy it was laid down what the attitude of the people of Israel should be to those who claimed to speak with the authority of God's Holy Spirit.

"First, does the prophet utter prophecies which are proved to be true by their fulfilment? 'If the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken, the prophet has spoken it presumptuously', ie, without God's authority (Deu 18:22). But there was always the possibility that the 'prophet' might succeed, by means of a bit of clever guesswork, in deceiving his hearers. So then a further test: 'If a prophet arises among you... and the sign or wonder which he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, "Let us go after other gods"... you shall not listen to the words of that prophet' (Deu 13:1,2).

"In other words, a prophecy or a sign or a wonder does not guarantee that the Holy Spirit is at work. The final and certain test is whether the teaching is good and true and right" (Harry Whittaker, "Gifts of the Holy Spirit").

Reading 2 - Ecc 6:9

"Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind" (Ecc 6:9).

It is better to enjoy what one has than to desire the unattainable. The thoughts of the heart are only evil continually, and ought to be curbed, not indulged (Gen 6:5). "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).

Man must learn to be content with what he has, so long as he has the promises of God (Heb 13:5,6), to be content whatever the circumstances, because he knows that his God can supply every need (Phi 4:11-13; Mat 6:25-33).

We do not find happiness OUTSIDE of ourselves; we find happiness INSIDE ourselves.

It may be said there are two ways to find happiness:

Reading 3 - Acts 3:6

"Then Peter said, 'Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk' " (Acts 3:6).

There were gates of gold and silver, and an exceedingly Beautiful Gate (Acts 3:2) -- enormous wealth was concentrated in the Temple of the Jews, but none of it did any good for the poor lame man, who sat year after year in its shadow; none of it could deliver him from his affliction. "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" (1Pe 1:18,19).

Also compare Exo 20:23,24: "Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it... Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you." The temple -- with all its gold and silver -- though it was practically worshiped as a "god" by the devout Jews, could not bring deliverance, or salvation, to the lame man. What could deliver him was recourse to the simple "altar" of "earth" (human nature), which was Jesus Christ. This plain and unadorned "altar" of flesh honored the name of his Father and thus brought a blessing unattainable elsewhere!

The apostles had apparently provided no redemption money for the Day of Atonement (Exo 30:12-14); they knew that their redemption -- even as the healing of the lame man -- was in and through the precious blood of Christ.

Previous Index Next