Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday, May 5, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Psalm 80; Isaiah 65:17-25; John 14:18-31 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It is no wonder that we feel apprehensive when we measure our troubles against our ability to handle them. Anxiety, however, disappears when we learn to take our concerns to God. He is the only One who has the power and wisdom to deal with every issue perfectly. This is why we stand tallest and strongest on our knees. When we are submitted to the One who always works in our best interest, we know we have absolutely nothing to fear.

Today’s Readings:
A Reading from the Book of Psalms
Psalm 80
Israel the Vine


1 Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock.
  You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
     shine forth
2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
  Awaken your might;
     come and save us.

3 Restore us, O God;
     make your face shine on us,
     that we may be saved.

4 How long, Lord God Almighty,
     will your anger smolder
     against the prayers of your people?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears;
     you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
6 You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors,
     and our enemies mock us.

7 Restore us, God Almighty;
     make your face shine on us,
     that we may be saved.

8 You transplanted a vine from Egypt;
     you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it,
     and it took root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
      the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 Its branches reached as far as the Sea,
      its shoots as far as the River.

12 Why have you broken down its walls
      so that all who pass by pick its grapes?
13 Boars from the forest ravage it,
      and insects from the fields feed on it.
14 Return to us, God Almighty!
      Look down from heaven and see!
   Watch over this vine,
15    the root your right hand has planted,
      the son you have raised up for yourself.

16 Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
      at your rebuke your people perish.
17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
      the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
      revive us, and we will call on your name.

19 Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
      make your face shine on us,
      that we may be saved.


Commentary
Verses 1-7 — He that dwells upon the mercy-seat, is the good Shepherd of his people. But we can neither expect the comfort of his love, nor the protection of his arm, unless we partake of his converting grace. If he is really angry at the prayers of his people, it is because, although they pray, their ends are not right, or there is some secret sin indulged in them, or he will try their patience and perseverance in prayer. When God is displeased with his people, we must expect to see them in tears, and their enemies in triumph. There is no salvation but from God's favor; there is no conversion to God but by his own grace.

Verses 8-16 — The church is represented as a vine and a vineyard. The root of this vine is Christ, the branches are believers. The church is like a vine, needing support, but spreading and fruitful. If a vine do not bring forth fruit, no tree is so worthless. And are not we planted as in a well-cultivated garden, with every means of being fruitful in works of righteousness? But the useless leaves of profession, and the empty boughs of notions and forms, abound far more than real piety. It was wasted and ruined. There was a good reason for this change in God's way toward them. And it is well or ill with us, according as we are under God's smiles or frowns. When we consider the state of the purest part of the visible church, we cannot wonder that it is visited with sharp corrections. They request that God would help the vine. Lord, it is formed by thyself, and for thyself, therefore it may, with humble confidence, be committed to thyself.

Verses 17-19 — The Messiah, the Protector and Savior of the church, is the Man of God's right hand; he is the Arm of the Lord, for all power is given to him. In him is our strength, by which we are enabled to persevere to the end. The vine, therefore, cannot be ruined, nor can any fruitful branch perish; but the unfruitful will be cut off and cast into the fire. The end of our redemption is, that we should serve Him who hath redeemed us, and not go back to our old sins.


A Reading from the Old Testament
Isaiah 65:17-25
God’s People Like a Tree


17 “See, I will create
      new heavens and a new earth.
   The former things will not be remembered,
      nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
      in what I will create,
   for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
      and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
      and take delight in my people;
   the sound of weeping and of crying
      will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it
      an infant who lives but a few days,
      or an old man who does not live out his years;
   the one who dies at a hundred
      will be thought a mere child;
   the one who fails to reach a hundred
      will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
      they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
      or plant and others eat.
   For as the days of a tree,
      so will be the days of my people;
   my chosen ones will long enjoy
      the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain,
      nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
   for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
      they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
      while they are still speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
      and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
      and dust will be the serpent’s food.
   They will neither harm nor destroy
      on all my holy mountain,”
   says the Lord.


Commentary
In the grace and comfort believers have in and from Christ, we are to look for this new heaven and new earth. The former confusions, sins and miseries of the human race, shall be no more remembered or renewed. The approaching happy state of the church is described under a variety of images. He shall be thought to die in his youth, and for his sins, who only lives to the age of a hundred years. The event alone can determine what is meant; but it is plain that Christianity, if universal, would so do away violence and evil, as greatly to lengthen life. In those happy days, all God's people shall enjoy the fruit of their labors. Nor will children then be the trouble of their parents, or suffer trouble themselves. The evil dispositions of sinners shall be completely mortified; all shall live in harmony. Thus the church on earth shall be full of happiness, like heaven. This prophecy assures the servants of Christ, that the time approaches, wherein they shall be blessed with the undisturbed enjoyment of all that is needful for their happiness. As workers together with God, let us attend his ordinances, and obey his commands.


A Reading from the New Testament
John 14:18-31
Keeping God’s Word


14:18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.


Commentary
Verses 18-24 — Christ promises that he would continue his care of his disciples. I will not leave you orphans, or fatherless, for though I leave you, yet I leave you this comfort, I will come to you. I will come speedily to you at my resurrection. I will come daily to you in my Spirit; in the tokens of his love, and visits of his grace. I will come certainly at the end of time. Those only that see Christ with an eye of faith, shall see him for ever: the world sees him no more till his second coming; but his disciples have communion with him in his absence. These mysteries will be fully known in heaven. It is a further act of grace, that they should know it, and have the comfort of it. Having Christ's commands, we must keep them. And having them in our heads, we must keep them in our hearts and lives. The surest evidence of our love to Christ is, obedience to the laws of Christ. There are spiritual tokens of Christ and his love given to all believers. Where sincere love to Christ is in the heart, there will be obedience. Love will be a commanding, constraining principle; and where love is, duty follows from a principle of gratitude. God will not only love obedient believers, but he will take pleasure in loving them, will rest in love to them. He will be with them as his home. These privileges are confined to those whose faith works by love, and whose love to Jesus leads them to keep his commandments. Such are partakers of the Holy Spirit's new-creating grace.

Verses 25-27 — Would we know these things for our good, we must pray for, and depend on the teaching of the Holy Ghost; thus the words of Jesus will be brought to our remembrance, and many difficulties be cleared up which are not plain to others. To all the saints, the Spirit of grace is given to be a remembrance, and to him, by faith and prayer, we should commit the keeping of what we hear and know. Peace is put for all good, and Christ has left us all that is really and truly good, all the promised good; peace of mind from our justification before God. This Christ calls his peace, for he is himself our Peace. The peace of God widely differs from that of Pharisees or hypocrites, as is shown by its humbling and holy effects.

Verses 28-31 — Christ raises the expectations of his disciples to something beyond what they thought was their greatest happiness. His time was now short, he therefore spake largely to them. When we come to be sick, and to die, we may not be capable of talking much to those about us; such good counsel as we have to give, let us give while in health. Observe the prospect Christ had of an approaching conflict, not only with men, but with the powers of darkness. Satan has something in us to perplex us with, for we have all sinned; but when he would disturb Christ, he found nothing sinful to help him. The best evidence of our love to the Father is, our doing as he has commanded us. Let us rejoice in the Savior's victories over Satan the prince of this world. Let us copy the example of his love and obedience.



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. www.commontexts.org

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