Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday, April 14, 2021


The Daily Bible Readings
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Psalm 135; Isaiah 26:1-15; Mark 12:18-27 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. […] For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
After His resurrection, Jesus did not appear to Pilate, Herod, Annas, Caiaphas, or those who crucified Him. He appeared to those who loved Him—who would be His witnesses in the world (Acts 13:31; 1 Cor. 15:1–11). Yet one day we will all appear before Him—the unbelieving for judgment and believers for their reward (Rom. 2:5–8; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27; Rev. 20:11–15).

Today’s Readings:
A Reading from the Book of Psalms
Psalm 135
Praise to God

1 Praise the Lord.

  Praise the name of the Lord;
     praise him, you servants of the Lord,
2 you who minister in the house of the Lord,
     in the courts of the house of our God.

3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
     sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.
4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob to be his own,
     Israel to be his treasured possession.

5 I know that the Lord is great,
     that our Lord is greater than all gods.
6 The Lord does whatever pleases him,
     in the heavens and on the earth,
     in the seas and all their depths.
7 He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
     he sends lightning with the rain
     and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

8 He struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
     the firstborn of people and animals.
9 He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, Egypt,
     against Pharaoh and all his servants.
10 He struck down many nations
      and killed mighty kings—
11 Sihon king of the Amorites,
      Og king of Bashan,
      and all the kings of Canaan—
12 and he gave their land as an inheritance,
      an inheritance to his people Israel.

13 Your name, Lord, endures forever,
      your renown, Lord, through all generations.
14 For the Lord will vindicate his people
      and have compassion on his servants.

15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
      made by human hands.
16 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
      eyes, but cannot see.
17 They have ears, but cannot hear,
      nor is there breath in their mouths.
18 Those who make them will be like them,
      and so will all who trust in them.

19 All you Israelites, praise the Lord;
      house of Aaron, praise the Lord;
20 house of Levi, praise the Lord;
      you who fear him, praise the Lord.
21 Praise be to the Lord from Zion,
      to him who dwells in Jerusalem.

   Praise the Lord.

Verses 1-4 — The subject-matter of praise, is the blessings of grace flowing from the everlasting love of God. The name of God as a covenant God and Father in Christ, blessing us with all spiritual blessings in him, is to be loved and praised. The Lord chose a people to himself, that they might be unto him for a name and a praise. If they do not praise him for this distinguishing favor, they are the most unworthy and ungrateful of all people.

Verses 5-14 — God is, and will be always, the same to his church, a gracious, faithful, wonder-working God. And his church is, and will be, the same to him, a thankful, praising people: thus his name endures for ever. He will return in ways of mercy to them, and will delight to do them good.

Verses 15-21 — These verses arm believers against idolatry and all false worship, by showing what sort of gods the heathen worshiped. And the more deplorable the condition of the Gentile nations that worship idols, the more are we to be thankful that we know better. Let us pity, and pray for, and seek to benefit benighted heathens and deluded sinners. Let us endeavor to glorify his name, and recommend his truth, not only with our lips, but by holy lives, copying the example of Christ's goodness and truth.

A Reading from the Old Testament
Isaiah 26:1-15
Song of Victory

1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

  We have a strong city;
     God makes salvation
     its walls and ramparts.
2 Open the gates
     that the righteous nation may enter,
     the nation that keeps faith.
3 You will keep in perfect peace
     those whose minds are steadfast,
     because they trust in you.
4 Trust in the Lord forever,
     for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
5 He humbles those who dwell on high,
     he lays the lofty city low;
  he levels it to the ground
     and casts it down to the dust.
6 Feet trample it down—
     the feet of the oppressed,
     the footsteps of the poor.

7 The path of the righteous is level;
     you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.
8 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,
     we wait for you;
  your name and renown
     are the desire of our hearts.
9 My soul yearns for you in the night;
     in the morning my spirit longs for you.
  When your judgments come upon the earth,
     the people of the world learn righteousness.
10 But when grace is shown to the wicked,
      they do not learn righteousness;
   even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
      and do not regard the majesty of the Lord.
11 Lord, your hand is lifted high,
      but they do not see it.
   Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame;
      let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.

12 Lord, you establish peace for us;
      all that we have accomplished you have done for us.
13 Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us,
      but your name alone do we honor.
14 They are now dead, they live no more;
      their spirits do not rise.
   You punished them and brought them to ruin;
      you wiped out all memory of them.
15 You have enlarged the nation, Lord;
      you have enlarged the nation.
   You have gained glory for yourself;
      you have extended all the borders of the land.

Verses 1-4 — “That day,” seems to mean when the New Testament Babylon shall be leveled with the ground. The unchangeable promise and covenant of the Lord are the walls of the church of God. The gates of this city shall be open. Let sinners then be encouraged to join to the Lord. Thou wilt keep him in peace; in perfect peace, inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events. Trust in the Lord for that peace, that portion, which will be for ever. Whatever we trust to the world for, it will last only for a moment; but those who trust in God shall not only find in him, but shall receive from him, strength that will carry them to that blessedness which is for ever. Let us then acknowledge him in all our ways, and rely on him in all trials.

Verses 5-11 — The way of the just is evenness, a steady course of obedience and holy conversation. And it is their happiness that God makes their way plain and easy. It is our duty, and will be our comfort, to wait for God, to keep up holy desires toward him in the darkest and most discouraging times. Our troubles must never turn us from God; and in the darkest, longest night of affliction, with our souls must we desire him; and this we must wait and pray to him for. We make nothing of our religion, whatever our profession may be, if we do not make heart-work of it. Though we come ever so early, we shall find God ready to receive us. The intention of afflictions is to teach righteousness: blessed is the man whom the Lord thus teaches. But sinners walk contrary to him. They will go on in their evil ways, because they will not consider what a God he is whose laws they persist in despising. Scorners and the secure will shortly feel, what now they will not believe, that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. They will not see the evil of sin; but they shall see. Oh that they would abandon their sins, and turn to the Lord, that he may have mercy upon them.

Verses 12-15 — Every creature, every business, any way serviceable to our comfort, God makes to be so; he makes that work for us which seemed to make against us. They had been slaves of sin and Satan; but by the Divine grace they were taught to look to be set free from all former masters. The cause opposed to God and his kingdom will sink at last. See our need of afflictions. Before, prayer came drop by drop; now they pour it out, it comes now like water from a fountain. Afflictions bring us to secret prayer. Consider Christ as the Speaker addressing his church. His resurrection from the dead was an earnest of all the deliverance foretold. The power of his grace, like the dew or rain, which causes the herbs that seem dead to revive, would raise his church from the lowest state. But we may refer to the resurrection of the dead, especially of those united to Christ.

A Reading from the New Testament
Mark 12:18-27
Jesus Teaches about the Resurrection

12:18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”

A right knowledge of the Scripture, as the fountain whence all revealed religion now flows, and the foundation on which it is built, is the best preservative against error. Christ put aside the objection of the Sadducees, who were the scoffing infidels of that day, by setting the doctrine of the future state in a true light. The relation between husband and wife, though appointed in the earthly paradise, will not be known in the heavenly one. It is no wonder if we confuse ourselves with foolish errors, when we form our ideas of the world of spirits by the affairs of this world of sense. It is absurd to think that the living God should be the portion and happiness of a man if he is for ever dead; and therefore it is certain that Abraham's soul exists and acts, though now for a time separate from the body. Those that deny the resurrection greatly err, and ought to be told so. Let us seek to pass through this dying world, with a joyful hope of eternal happiness, and of a glorious resurrection.

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible. The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts.

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