Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Tuesday, August 31, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Psalm 144:9-15; Song of Songs 5:2—6:3; 1 Peter 2:19-25
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction
In today’s lectionary readings, the psalmist talks about the blessings that God gave to him. In our reading from Song of Songs, we read about the Bride’s defense of her groom when he is, once again, absent. In the midst of her search for him, she clings to the promises of his love and the beauty of his character. Our epistle reading provides a compelling commendation to Christians to do what is right even if it brings suffering. In our verse of the day, we come to the Lord offering ourselves in full submission. God chooses, however, to treat us tenderly like a loving shepherd who longs to care for us.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Psalm 95:6-7

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice,
Do you physically bow down before God in worship? Do you kneel before Him in prayer? A humble posture can help to remind us of the Lord’s majesty.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter

Psalm 144:9-15
The Blessing of Sons and Daughters


9 I will sing a new song to you, my God;
     on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
10 to the One who gives victory to kings,
      who delivers his servant David.

   From the deadly sword 11 deliver me;
      rescue me from the hands of foreigners
   whose mouths are full of lies,
      whose right hands are deceitful.

12 Then our sons in their youth
      will be like well-nurtured plants,
   and our daughters will be like pillars
      carved to adorn a palace.
13 Our barns will be filled
      with every kind of provision.
   Our sheep will increase by thousands,
      by tens of thousands in our fields;
14    our oxen will draw heavy loads.
   There will be no breaching of walls,
      no going into captivity,
      no cry of distress in our streets.
15 Blessed is the people of whom this is true;
      blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.


Commentary
Fresh favors call for fresh returns of thanks; we must praise God for the mercies we hope for by his promise, as well as those we have received by his providence. To be saved from the hurtful sword, or from wasting sickness, without deliverance from the dominion of sin and the wrath to come, is but a small advantage. The public prosperity David desired for his people, is stated. It adds much to the comfort and happiness of parents in this world, to see their children likely to do well. To see them as plants, not as weeds, not as thorns; to see them as plants growing, not withered and blasted; to see them likely to bring forth fruit unto God in their day; to see them in their youth growing strong in the Spirit. Plenty is to be desired, that we may be thankful to God, generous to our friends, and charitable to the poor; otherwise, what profit is it to have our garners full? Also, uninterrupted peace. War brings abundance of mischiefs, whether it be to attack others or to defend ourselves. And in proportion as we do not adhere to the worship and service of God, we cease to be a happy people. The subjects of the Savior, the Son of David, share the blessings of his authority and victories, and are happy because they have the Lord for their God.

From the Books of Wisdom
Song of Songs 5:2—6:3
A Dream of Love


She

2 I slept but my heart was awake.
     Listen! My beloved is knocking:
  “Open to me, my sister, my darling,
     my dove, my flawless one.
  My head is drenched with dew,
     my hair with the dampness of the night.”
3 I have taken off my robe—
     must I put it on again?
  I have washed my feet—
     must I soil them again?
4 My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
     my heart began to pound for him.
5 I arose to open for my beloved,
     and my hands dripped with myrrh,
  my fingers with flowing myrrh,
     on the handles of the bolt.
6 I opened for my beloved,
     but my beloved had left; he was gone.
     My heart sank at his departure.
  I looked for him but did not find him.
     I called him but he did not answer.
7 The watchmen found me
     as they made their rounds in the city.
  They beat me, they bruised me;
     they took away my cloak,
     those watchmen of the walls!
8 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
     if you find my beloved,
  what will you tell him?
     Tell him I am faint with love.


Friends

9 How is your beloved better than others,
     most beautiful of women?
  How is your beloved better than others,
     that you so charge us?


She

10 My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
      outstanding among ten thousand.
11 His head is purest gold;
      his hair is wavy
      and black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves
      by the water streams,
   washed in milk,
      mounted like jewels.
13 His cheeks are like beds of spice
      yielding perfume.
   His lips are like lilies
      dripping with myrrh.
14 His arms are rods of gold
      set with topaz.
   His body is like polished ivory
      decorated with lapis lazuli.
15 His legs are pillars of marble
      set on bases of pure gold.
   His appearance is like Lebanon,
      choice as its cedars.
16 His mouth is sweetness itself;
      he is altogether lovely.
   This is my beloved, this is my friend,
      daughters of Jerusalem.


Friends

1 Where has your beloved gone,
     most beautiful of women?
  Which way did your beloved turn,
     that we may look for him with you?

She

2 My beloved has gone down to his garden,
     to the beds of spices,
  to browse in the gardens
     and to gather lilies.
3 I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
     he browses among the lilies.


Commentary
Verses 5:2-8: Churches and believers, by carelessness and security, provoke Christ to withdraw. We ought to notice our spiritual slumbers and distempers. Christ knocks to awaken us, knocks by his word and Spirit, knocks by afflictions and by our consciences; thus, Revelation 3:20. When we are unmindful of Christ, still he thinks of us. Christ's love to us should engage ours to him, even in the most self-denying instances; and we only can be gainers by it. Careless souls put slights on Jesus Christ. Another could not be sent to open the door. Christ calls to us, but we have no mind, or pretend we have no strength, or we have no time, and think we may be excused. Making excuses is making light of Christ. Those put contempt upon Christ, who cannot find in their hearts to bear a cold blast, or to leave a warm bed for him. See the powerful influences of Divine grace. He put in his hand to unbolt the door, as one weary of waiting. This betokens a work of the Spirit upon the soul. The believer's rising above self-indulgence, seeking by prayer for the consolations of Christ, and to remove every hinderance to communion with him; these actings of the soul are represented by the hands dropping sweet-smelling myrrh upon the handles of the locks. But the Beloved was gone! By absenting himself, Christ will teach his people to value his gracious visits more highly. Observe, the soul still calls Christ her Beloved. Every desertion is not despair. Lord, I believe, though I must say, Lord, help my unbelief. His words melted me, yet, wretch that I was, I made excuses. The smothering and stifling of convictions will be very bitter to think of, when God opens our eyes. The soul went in pursuit of him; not only prayed, but used means, sought him in the ways wherein he used to be found. The watchmen wounded me. Some refer it to those who misapply the word to awakened consciences. The charge to the daughters of Jerusalem, seems to mean the distressed believer's desire of the prayers of the feeblest Christian. Awakened souls are more sensible of Christ's withdrawings than of any other trouble.

Verses 5:9-16: Even those who have little acquaintance with Christ, cannot but see amiable beauty in others who bear his image. There are hopes of those who begin to inquire concerning Christ and his perfections. Christians, who are well acquainted with Christ themselves, should do all they can to make others know something of him. Divine glory makes him truly lovely in the eyes of all who are enlightened to discern spiritual things. He is white in the spotless innocence of his life, ruddy in the bleeding sufferings he went through at his death. This description of the person of the Beloved, would form, in the figurative language of those times, a portrait of beauty of person and of grace of manners; but the aptness of some of the allusions may not appear to us. He shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all that believe. May his love constrain us to live to his glory.

Verse 6:1: Those made acquainted with the excellences of Christ, and the comfort of an interest in him, desire to know where they may meet him. Those who would find Christ, must seek him early and diligently.

Verses 6:2-3: Christ's church is a garden, enclosed, and separated from the world; he takes care of it, delights in it, and visits it. Those who would find Christ, must attend him in his ordinances, the word, sacraments, and prayer. When Christ comes to his church, it is to entertain his friends. And to take believers to himself: he picks the lilies one by one; and at the great day he will send forth his angels to gather all his lilies, that he may be for ever admired in them. The death of a believer is not more than the owner of a garden plucking a favorite flower; and He will preserve it from withering, yea, cause it to flourish for ever, with increasing beauty. If our own hearts can witness for us that we are Christ's, question not his being ours, for the covenant never breaks on his side. It is the comfort of the church, that he feeds among the lilies, that he takes delight in his people.


From the Epistles
1 Peter 2:19-25
Christ Leaves an Example


19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin,
        and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Commentary
What glory or distinction could it be, for professed Christians to be patient when corrected for their faults? But if when they behaved well they were ill treated by proud and passionate heathen masters, yet bore it without peevish complaints, or purposes of revenge, and persevered in their duty, this would be acceptable to God as a distinguishing effect of his grace, and would be rewarded by him. Christ's death was designed not only for an example of patience under sufferings, but he bore our sins; he bore the punishment of them, and thereby satisfied Divine justice. Hereby he takes them away from us. The fruits of Christ's sufferings are the death of sin, and a new holy life of righteousness; for both which we have an example, and powerful motives, and ability to perform also, from the death and resurrection of Christ. And our justification; Christ was bruised and crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and by his stripes the diseases of our souls are cured. Here is man's sin; he goes astray; it is his own act. His misery; he goes astray from the pasture, from the Shepherd, and from the flock, and so exposes himself to dangers without number. Here is the recovery by conversion; they are now returned as the effect of Divine grace. This return is, from all their errors and wanderings, to Christ. Sinners, before their conversion, are always going astray; their life is a continued error.


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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