The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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May 3

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

Reading 1 - Deu 20

"In this chapter rules are given to be observed in times of war. When a battle was near, a priest was to address the soldiers, and encourage them to fight (Deu 20:1-4), then the officers were to declare who might return home (Deu 20:5-9). When an enemy's city was approached, peace was to be proclaimed on certain conditions, which, if accepted, the inhabitants were to be tributaries and servants, but if not, when taken, all were to be put to the sword, excepting women, children, and cattle (Deu 20:10-15). However, those of the seven nations were to be utterly destroyed (Deu 20:16-18), and, during a siege, no trees bearing fruit fit for food were to be cut down (Deu 20:19)" (Gill).

Reading 2 - Ecc 12:11

"The words of the wise are like goads" (Ecc 12:11).

Goads were used by the shepherds to guide the wandering sheep, and also by farmers to stimulate the indolent farm animal (Act 9:5).

"...Their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails -- given by one Shepherd" (Ecc 12:11).

Saints are fastened securely to their hope (Isa 22:23; Zec 10:4), like the curtains of Solomon's temple are fastened securely to the God of Israel (Song 1:5).

The reference to nails obviously points to the cross. As firmly fixed as was Christ to the cross, so sure was our salvation! Hang your hopes on a firm nail or peg... something that will not slip nor give way.

The "one shepherd" is plainly the Lord Jesus Christ. Man's highest good is found in this "one Shepherd", who leads his flock in green pastures and causes them to rest by still water, but who especially offers them abundant life in himself (John 10:9,10).

Reading 3 - Acts 12:23

"Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died" (Acts 12:23).

"All flesh before Him is as nothing. He will not allow the flesh to glory in His sight. Adam was banished from Eden for casting dishonour on Him by disobedience. Moses was punished for taking to himself the credit of the miracle at the rock of Meribah. David fell into the hands of God, in three days' plague, for exalting in the numbers of his army. The Assyrian was brought down for taking to himself the credit of what God did by him in the punishment of Israel. Mighty and arrogant Nebuchadnezzar was sent to herd among the beasts till he learnt that 'the heavens do rule.' Herod was eaten up by worms, because he gave not God the glory; and salvation is by God in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself -- not of works, lest any man should boast" (Robert Roberts, "Seasons of Comfort" 62).

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