Monday, September 20, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Monday, September 20, 2021


The Daily Bible Readings
Monday, September 20, 2021
Psalm 128; Proverbs 27:1-27; James 4:8-17
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

In today’s lectionary readings, the psalm teaches us that the only way to obtain blessings that will make our families comfortable is to live in the fear of God and in obedience to him. Our readings in both Proverbs and James teaches us that it’s impossible to know what the future may hold or what one may be able to accomplish. Our verse of the day teaches us that the rains sent by God water the earth on schedule, a sign of God’s faithfulness to His people and the covenant.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Joel 2:23

Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.
Rather than using rivers like the neighboring Egyptians (the Nile) and Mesopotamians (the Tigris and Euphrates), Israel depended on rain to provide water to irrigate its fields (Lev 26:4). The early autumn rains in September–October softened the soil for plowing after the summer dry season, while the later spring rains allowed spring and summer crops to mature. They both are God’s blessing (Jer 5:24).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter

Psalm 128
Your Wife Like a Fruitful Vine

1 Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
     who walk in obedience to him.
2 You will eat the fruit of your labor;
     blessings and prosperity will be yours.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
     within your house;
  your children will be like olive shoots
     around your table.
4 Yes, this will be the blessing
     for the man who fears the Lord.

5 May the Lord bless you from Zion;
     may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
     all the days of your life.
6 May you live to see your children’s children—
     peace be on Israel.

Psalm 128, as the former, is a psalm for families. In that we were taught that the prosperity of our families depends upon the blessing of God; in this we are taught that the only way to obtain that blessing which will make our families comfortable is to live in the fear of God and in obedience to him. Those that do so, in general, shall be blessed (Psalms 128:1; Psalms 128:2; Psalms 128:4), In particular, I. They shall be prosperous and successful in their employments, Psalms 128:2. II. Their relations shall be agreeable, Psalms 128:3. III. They shall live to see their families brought up, Psalms 128:6. IV. They shall have the satisfaction of seeing the church of God in a flourishing condition, Psalms 128:5; Psalms 128:6. We must sing this psalm in the firm belief of this truth, That religion and piety are the best friends to outward prosperity, giving God the praise that it is so and that we have found it so, and encouraging ourselves and others with it.

From the Books of Wisdom
Proverbs 27:1-27
Don’t Brag about Tomorrow

1 Do not boast about tomorrow,
     for you do not know what a day may bring.

2 Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth;
     an outsider, and not your own lips.

3 Stone is heavy and sand a burden,
     but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.

4 Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,
     but who can stand before jealousy?

5 Better is open rebuke
     than hidden love.

6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
     but an enemy multiplies kisses.

7 One who is full loathes honey from the comb,
     but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.

8 Like a bird that flees its nest
     is anyone who flees from home.

9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
     and the pleasantness of a friend
     springs from their heartfelt advice.

10 Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family,
      and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you—
      better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away.

11 Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart;
      then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt.

12 The prudent see danger and take refuge,
      but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

13 Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger;
      hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.

14 If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning,
      it will be taken as a curse.

15 A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping
      of a leaky roof in a rainstorm;
16 restraining her is like restraining the wind
      or grasping oil with the hand.

17 As iron sharpens iron,
      so one person sharpens another.

18 The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit,
      and whoever protects their master will be honored.

19 As water reflects the face,
      so one’s life reflects the heart.

20 Death and Destruction are never satisfied,
      and neither are human eyes.

21 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
      but people are tested by their praise.

22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar,
      grinding them like grain with a pestle,
      you will not remove their folly from them.

23 Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
      give careful attention to your herds;
24 for riches do not endure forever,
      and a crown is not secure for all generations.
25 When the hay is removed and new growth appears
      and the grass from the hills is gathered in,
26 the lambs will provide you with clothing,
      and the goats with the price of a field.
27 You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family
      and to nourish your female servants.

Over-confidence, self-praise, stupidity and jealousy must all be avoided (27:1-4). True friends will show the inner love they have for each other by being open and honest with each other. Over-pleasantness may be a sign of a deceitful heart (5-6). Those with many possessions do not find contentment; the poor are more than satisfied if they can get what the rich throw away (7). Among the most priceless of possessions are a happy home and faithful friends (8-10).

Common sense will save people a lot of trouble and bring happiness to their parents (11-12), but those who give rash guarantees must be prepared to suffer the consequences (13). A loudmouthed but insincere friend is a curse, and a nagging wife can make life miserable (14-16). Where there is true understanding, differences of personality and viewpoint are of benefit to all concerned. Faithfulness to one another brings its reward (17-18).

The mind of a person reflects the true self. Therefore, a person’s worth must be judged by reputation and character, not by possessions or wealth. Material things cannot fully satisfy (19-21). The character of the fool is easily judged, for no amount of corrective discipline will bring any lasting change (22). Instead of thinking only of building up wealth, a person should combine conscientiousness in daily work with trust in God’s provision (23-27).

From the Epistles
James 4:8-17
Draw Near to God

8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Verses 8-10: All sin must be wept over; here, in godly sorrow, or, hereafter, in eternal misery. And the Lord will not refuse to comfort one who really mourns for sin, or to exalt one who humbles himself before him.

Verses 11-17: Our lips must be governed by the law of kindness, as well as truth and justice. Christians are brethren. And to break God's commands, is to speak evil of them, and to judge them, as if they laid too great a restraint upon us. We have the law of God, which is a rule to all; let us not presume to set up our own notions and opinions as a rule to those about us, and let us be careful that we be not condemned of the Lord. "Go to now," is a call to any one to consider his conduct as being wrong. How apt worldly and contriving men are to leave God out of their plans! How vain it is to look for any thing good without God's blessing and guidance! The frailty, shortness, and uncertainty of life, ought to check the vanity and presumptuous confidence of all projects for futurity. We can fix the hour and minute of the sun's rising and setting to-morrow, but we cannot fix the certain time of a vapor being scattered. So short, unreal, and fading is human life, and all the prosperity or enjoyment that attends it; though bliss or woe for ever must be according to our conduct during this fleeting moment. We are always to depend on the will of God. Our times are not in our own hands, but at the disposal of God. Our heads may be filled with cares and contrivances for ourselves, or our families, or our friends; but Providence often throws our plans into confusion. All we design, and all we do, should be with submissive dependence on God. It is foolish, and it is hurtful, to boast of worldly things and aspiring projects; it will bring great disappointment, and will prove destruction in the end. Omissions are sins which will be brought into judgment, as well as commissions. He that does not the good he knows should be done, as well as he who does the evil he knows should not be done, will be condemned. Oh that we were as careful not to omit prayer, and not to neglect to meditate and examine our consciences, as we are not to commit gross outward vices against light!

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. 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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