Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 1Ki 20:42
"This is what the LORD says: 'You have set free a man I had
determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for
his people' " (1Ki 20:42).
"Here is an apparent frustration of the ways of providence
through human weakness. God meant the destruction of the king of Syria, and he
escaped through Ahab's misplaced leniency. The case reveals the fact that there
is no mechanical coercion of the human will in the working out of the divine
purpose by means of men; co-operation of man in such a case is necessary, and
that where the result aimed at is not attained through the failure of that
co-operation, the purpose will be accomplished by another instrument, for divine
purposes will never ultimately fail" (Robert Roberts, "Ways of Providence"
Compare Mordecai's words to Esther: "For if you remain silent
at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place,
but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have
come to royal position for such a time as this?" (Est 4:14).
Reading 2 - Jer 47
"This is the word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the
prophet concerning the Philistines..." (Jer 47:1).
The Philistines are first mentioned in Gen 10:14. Apparently
they came from Caphtor, or Crete, very early in Bible times (Deu 2:23; Jer 47:4;
Amo 9:7). The land of Canaan received its other name -- Philistia, or Palestine
-- from them (Psa 60:8; 87:4; Isa 14:29).
The Philistines ousted other peoples and settled initially on
the Maritime Plain north of Gaza -- a very fertile and desirable area. They seem
to have lived in the region around Gerar and Beersheba as early as the time of
Abraham (Gen 21:32,34; 26:1).
After the Exodus, the tribes of Israel were directed by God to
journey to Canaan by a route that bypassed the coast of the Philistines (Exo
13:17,18), presumably because they were too strong for Israel at that time. When
the Israelites began to settle the Land, the tribe of Judah captured Gaza,
Ashkelon, and Ekron (Jdg 1:18), three of the five main Philistine cities; the
other two were Gath and Ashdod. But a bit later, because of its idolatries,
Israel was handed over into the hands of the Philistines (Jdg 10:6,7). It was
delivered from them (Jdg 10:11,12), but soon fell under their dominion again,
and remained so, off and on, through the times of Samson (Jdg 14-16), Eli (1Sa
4-6), Samuel, and Saul (1Sa 10:5: 12:9; 13:19-21; 14:52). After Saul's army was
defeated, and he and his sons slain by the Philistines (1Sa 28:4; 29:11;
31:1-13), king David overcame and repelled them on several occasions (2Sa 3:18;
5:17-25; 8:1; 19:9; 21:15-22; 23:9-17).
After David's reign, the Philistines are mentioned less
frequently, although they come in for threats of judgment by various prophets at
later times because they invariably aligned themselves with Israel's enemies
(Babylon and Assyria) against their old foe Israel.
The Philistines are joined with other Arab nations
confederated against Israel in the latter days was pointed out (Psa 83). This
prophetic psalm undoubtedly had a historic fulfillment (possibly 2Ch 20 or 2Ch
32), yet it also points forward to a time when the combined enemies of Israel
"know that thou alone, whose name is the Lord, art the Most High over all the
earth" (v 18). Today, the modern counterpart to the ancient Philistine territory
is what is now called the Gaza Strip, with its exploding Palestinian Arab
population -- nearly all of which are inflamed with the most intense hatred of
their Israeli "oppressors".
Bible prophecies about Philistia seem to fall into two main
categories, with some natural overlapping: (1) first, the Philistines' hatred
toward Israel takes shape in despicable actions; and (2) then, the Lord Himself
takes vengeance upon these enemies of His people.
Reading 3 - 1Co 6:20
"You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your
body" (1Co 6:20).
"Do not waste a minute of God's time, not one cent of His
money. You are totally 'bought with a price,' to be His faithful laborers. You
were not selected from the perishing millions to indulge yourself in unfaithful
stewardship, or to lounge lazily in the sun. Total devotion to the work of God
is the only way to eternal joy. Indolent, self-pleasing, and embezzling servants
will be cast with shame into outer darkness. Have wisdom in this brief day of
such glorious opportunity. The reward for faithful devotion in His service is
beyond our highest conception: the punishment for slothfulness is dreadful to
contemplate. Truly, no one can earn the reward: it is a free gift -- but on
conditions. Only by total love, manifested in total devotion and service, can we
obtain God's mercy and acceptance. Anything less is a mockery of His infinite
goodness toward us. Why would any servant be so stupid as to expect a reward,
and not rather severe punishment, for laziness and unfaithful self-indulgence
and self-use of his lord's entrusted goods?" (GVG).