Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Thursday, August 26, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9; Song of Songs 1:1-17; James 1:1-8
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction
In today’s lectionary readings, luscious imagery unites the passage from Song of Songs in our psalm reading. In our reading from the Song of a Songs, which is Solomon’s, is excellent above any others, for it is wholly taken up with describing the excellencies of Christ and the love between him and his redeemed people. In our epistle reading, James says the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea. In our verse of the day, Paul emphasizes the unity of the body.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Romans 12:4-5

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
God is never pleased when someone says, “I love Jesus, but I don’t need the church.” No Christian has ever been called to “go it alone” in his or her walk of faith. We need one another and should serve and support each other with love and gladness.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter

Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9
Anointed with the Oil of Gladness


1 My heart is stirred by a noble theme
     as I recite my verses for the king;
     my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

2 You are the most excellent of men
     and your lips have been anointed with grace,
     since God has blessed you forever.

6 Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
     a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
     therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
     by anointing you with the oil of joy.
8 All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
     from palaces adorned with ivory
     the music of the strings makes you glad.
9 Daughters of kings are among your honored women;
     at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.


Commentary
Verses 1-2: The psalmist's tongue was guided by the Spirit of God, as the pen is by the hand of a ready writer. This psalm is touching the King Jesus, his kingdom and government. It is a shame that this good matter is not more the subject of our discourse. There is more in Christ to engage our love, than there is or can be in any creature. This world and its charms are ready to draw away our hearts from Christ; therefore we are concerned to understand how much more worthy he is of our love. By his word, his promise, his gospel, the good will of God is made known to us, and the good work of God is begun and carried on in us.

Verses 6-9: The throne of this almighty King is established for ever. While the Holy Spirit leads Christ's people to look to his cross, he teaches them to see the evil of sin and the beauty of holiness; so that none of them can feel encouragement to continue in sin. The Mediator is God, else he had been neither able to do the Mediator's work, nor fit to wear the Mediator's crown. God the Father, as his God in respect to his human nature and mediatorial offices, has given to him the Holy Spirit without measure. Thus anointed to be a Prophet, Priest, and King, Christ has pre-eminence in the gladdening gifts and graces of the spirit, and from his fullness communicates them to his brethren in human nature. The Spirit is called the oil of gladness, because of the delight wherewith Christ was filled, in carrying on his undertakings. The salvation of sinners is the joy of angels, much more of the Son. And in proportion as we are conformed to his holy image, we may expect the gladdening gifts influences of the Comforter. The excellencies of the Messiah, the suitableness of his offices, and the sufficiency of his grace, seem to be intended by the fragrance of his garments. The church formed of true believers, is here compared to the queen, whom, by an everlasting covenant, the Lord Jesus has betrothed to himself. This is the bride, the Lamb's wife, whose graces are compared to fine linen, for their purity; to gold, for their costliness: for as we owe our redemption, so we owe our adorning, to the precious blood of the Son of God.


From the Books of Wisdom
Song of Songs 1:1-17
Love Better than Wine


1 Solomon’s Song of Songs.

She

2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
     for your love is more delightful than wine.
3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
     your name is like perfume poured out.
     No wonder the young women love you!
4 Take me away with you—let us hurry!
     Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Friends

  We rejoice and delight in you;
     we will praise your love more than wine.

She

  How right they are to adore you!

5 Dark am I, yet lovely,
     daughters of Jerusalem,
  dark like the tents of Kedar,
     like the tent curtains of Solomon.
6 Do not stare at me because I am dark,
     because I am darkened by the sun.
  My mother’s sons were angry with me
     and made me take care of the vineyards;
     my own vineyard I had to neglect.
7 Tell me, you whom I love,
     where you graze your flock
     and where you rest your sheep at midday.
  Why should I be like a veiled woman
     beside the flocks of your friends?

Friends

8 If you do not know, most beautiful of women,
     follow the tracks of the sheep
  and graze your young goats
     by the tents of the shepherds.

He

9 I liken you, my darling, to a mare
     among Pharaoh’s chariot horses.
10 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,
      your neck with strings of jewels.
11 We will make you earrings of gold,
      studded with silver.

She

12 While the king was at his table,
      my perfume spread its fragrance.
13 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
      resting between my breasts.
14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
      from the vineyards of En Gedi.

He

15 How beautiful you are, my darling!
      Oh, how beautiful!
      Your eyes are doves.

She

16 How handsome you are, my beloved!
      Oh, how charming!
      And our bed is verdant.

He

17 The beams of our house are cedars;
      our rafters are firs.


Commentary
Verse 1: This is "the Song of songs," excellent above any others, for it is wholly taken up with describing the excellencies of Christ, and the love between him and his redeemed people.

Verses 2-6: The church, or rather the believer, speaks here in the character of the spouse of the King, the Messiah. The kisses of his mouth mean those assurances of pardon with which believers are favored, filling them with peace and joy in believing, and causing them to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost. Gracious souls take most pleasure in loving Christ, and being loved of him. Christ's love is more valuable and desirable than the best this world can give. The name of Christ is not now like ointment sealed up, but like ointment poured forth; which denotes the freeness and fullness of the setting forth of his grace by the gospel. Those whom he has redeemed and sanctified, are here the virgins that love Jesus Christ, and follow him wheresoever he goes, Revelation 14:4. They entreat him to draw them by the quickening influences of his Spirit. The more clearly we discern Christ's glory, the more sensible shall we be that we are unable to follow him suitably, and at the same time be more desirous of doing it. Observe the speedy answer given to this prayer. Those who wait at Wisdom's gate, shall be led into truth and comfort. And being brought into this chamber, our griefs will vanish. We have no joy but in Christ, and for this we are indebted to him. We will remember to give thanks for thy love; it shall make more lasting impressions upon us than any thing in this world. Nor is any love acceptable to Christ but love in sincerity, Ephesians 6:24. The daughters of Jerusalem may mean professors not yet established in the faith. The spouse was black as the tents of the wandering Arabs, but comely as the magnificent curtains in the palaces of Solomon. The believer is black, as being defiled and sinful by nature, but comely, as renewed by Divine grace to the holy image of God. He is still deformed with remains of sin, but comely as accepted in Christ. He is often base and contemptible in the esteem of men, but excellent in the sight of God. The blackness was owing to the hard usage that had been suffered. The children of the church, her mother, but not of God, her Father, were angry with her. They had made her suffer hardships, which caused her to neglect the care of her soul. Thus, under the emblem of a poor female, made the chosen partner of a prince, we are led to consider the circumstances in which the love of Christ is accustomed to find its objects. They were wretched slaves of sin, in toil, or in sorrow, weary and heavy laden, but how great the change when the love of Christ is manifested to their souls!

Verses 7-8: Observe the title given to Christ, You whom I love. Those that do so, may come to him boldly, and may humbly plead with him. Is it with God's people a noon-time of outward troubles, inward conflicts? Christ has rest for them. Those whose souls love Jesus Christ, earnestly desire to share in the privileges of his flock. Turning aside from Christ is what gracious souls dread more than anything else. God is ready to answer prayer. Follow the track, ask for the good old way, observe the footsteps of the flock, look what has been the practice of godly people. Sit under the direction of good ministers; beside the tents of the under shepherds. Bring thy charge with thee, they shall all be welcome. It will be the earnest desire and prayer of the Christian, that God would so direct him in his worldly business, and so order his situation and employment, that he may have his Lord and Savior always before him.

Verses 9-17: The Bridegroom gives high praises of his spouse. In the sight of Christ believers are the excellent of the earth, fitted to be instruments for promoting his glory. The spiritual gifts and graces which Christ bestows on every true believer, are described by the ornaments then in use, ver. Song of Songs 1:10; Song of Songs 1:11. The graces of the saints are many, but there is dependence upon each other. He who is the Author, will be the Finisher of the good work. The grace received from Christ's fullness, springs forth into lively exercises of faith, affection, and gratitude. Yet Christ, not his gifts, is most precious to them. The words translated "henna blossoms," signifies "atonement or propitiation." Christ is dear to all believers, because he is the propitiation for their sins. No pretender must have his place in the soul. They resolved to lodge him in their hearts all the night; during the continuance of the troubles of life. Christ takes delight in the good work which his grace has wrought on the souls of believers. This should engage all who are made holy, to be very thankful for that grace which has made those fair, who by nature were deformed. The spouse (the believer) has a humble, modest eye, discovering simplicity and godly sincerity; eyes enlightened and guided by the Holy Spirit, that blessed Dove. The church expresses her value for Christ. Thou art the great Original, but I am but a faint and imperfect copy. Many are fair to look at, yet their temper renders them unpleasant: but Christ is fair, yet pleasant. The believer, ver. Song of Songs 1:16, speaks with praise of those holy ordinances in which true believers have fellowship with Christ. Whether the believer is in the courts of the Lord, or in retirement; whether following his daily labors, or confined on the bed of sickness, or even in a dungeon, a sense of the Divine presence will turn the place into a paradise. Thus the soul, daily having fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, enjoys a lively hope of an incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading inheritance above.


From the Epistles
James 1:1-8
One Who Doubts is like a Wave of the Sea


1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Commentary
Christianity teaches men to be joyful under troubles: such exercises are sent from God's love; and trials in the way of duty will brighten our graces now, and our crown at last. Let us take care, in times of trial, that patience, and not passion, is set to work in us: whatever is said or done, let patience have the saying and doing of it. When the work of patience is complete, it will furnish all that is necessary for our Christian race and warfare. We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for wisdom to make a right use of it. And who does not want wisdom to guide him under trials, both in regulating his own spirit, and in managing his affairs? Here is something in answer to every discouraging turn of the mind, when we go to God under a sense of our own weakness and folly. If, after all, any should say, This may be the case with some, but I fear I shall not succeed, the promise is, To any that ask, it shall be given. A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions. When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions. This may not always expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please God. No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God.


Today’s Lectionary 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. 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.

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