Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Ch 29:3
"In the first month of the first year of his reign, he
[Hezekiah] opened the doors of the temple of the LORD and repaired them" (2Ch
for restored communion (2Ch 29:3);
deliverance from prison (Act 5:19);
surrender (Rev 3:20);
service (1Co 16:9); and
for safety (Gen 7:16);
privacy and communion (Mat 6:6);
prayer (2Ki 4:5,21,33);
self-sufficiency (Rev 3:20); and separation and
rejection (Mat 25:10).
Reading 2 - Dan 9:2,3
"In the first year of his [Darius', or Cyrus'] reign, I,
Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given
to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy
years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition,
in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes" (Dan 9:2,3).
Daniel's attention was fixed on the period of 70 years which
was coming to an end with the recent overthrow of the Babylonian empire. Surely,
he must have thought, this would be the beginning of the reestablishment of the
Kingdom of God, and perhaps even the time for the appearance of Israel's
But, in response to his prayer, Gabriel speaks not of these 70
years but of 70 "sevens" (vv 24-27). Would Daniel and others think that, when
the 70 years were finished, the kingdom would come very quickly, if not
immediately? If so, then the answer was a loud "No!" The kingdom would not come
after 70 years, but only after (at least!) 490 years. And if 490 years must pass
before some of the promises pertaining to the kingdom were fulfilled, then no
one should confuse Israel's soon return to their land with the commencement of
the kingdom. (At best, it was only a typical, and very imperfect, fulfillment.)
The timing of the kingdom needed clarification, but so did the
nature of the kingdom. The kingdom of God would indeed begin, but not with the
return to the land of the people of Israel, nor with the rebuilding of the
temple. It would not even begin with the repentance of the nation of Israel.
Before the kingdom of God could come to the earth, there must be first a
solution to the great human dilemma of sin. This was the subject of the prophecy
of vv 24-27. And even that fulfillment (the atoning work of the Messiah), great
though it would be, would be merely the "first step" on the road to the true
Kingdom of God -- which was in fact to be considerably AFTER even the 490 years.
All this is implied in Gabriel's answer to Daniel's prayer.
No wonder that, as Daniel began to comprehend the great period
of time in front of him, before the fulfillment of all his hopes, he experienced
distress and depression and agitation.
However, God reminded Daniel that he would miss none of the
glories of that Kingdom -- even though it would commence long after he died. The
very last words of the prophecy of Daniel contain God's final reassurance to His
faithful servant: "As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then
at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance" (Dan
12:13). Like a loving father to an eager child, anxious for a special day to
come, God speaks to Daniel: 'Don't worry. Go to sleep. I'll wake you up in
plenty of time. You won't miss anything.'
Reading 3 - Acts 9:23-25
"After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him,
but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city
gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him
in a basket through an opening in the wall" (Acts 9:23-25).
The basket here is a "spuris" -- a large basket -- obviously
large enough for a man to hide in. This was the same sort of basket which was
filled, seven times over, with the bread miraculously multiplied by Jesus (Mat
15:37; 16:10). And here, on a spiritual level, was part of the "bread" of Christ
-- his "body"! -- being miraculously multiplied again! For this man Paul,
escaping from Damascus in the basket (2Co 11:32,33), would live to see a
miraculous multiplying of the "bread" or "body" of Christ -- through his labors
in traveling and preaching the gospel.