Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Saturday, September 11, 2021

 
Mount Zion (Utah)

The Daily Bible Readings
Saturday, September 11, 2021
Psalm 19; Proverbs 21:1-17; Matthew 21:23-32
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction
In today’s lectionary readings, the psalmist proclaims that fear (worship) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. In our reading from Proverbs, we read that God is in charge. Our gospel reading includes the parable of the two sons sent to work in the vineyard. In our verse of the day, we look to the Lord on Mount Zion for help.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Psalm 121:1-2

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
The mountains, in and of themselves, are not the source of salvation; salvation comes from the Lord, who dwells on the most important mountain: Zion (48:2; 68:16).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter

Psalm 19
God’s Statutes Rejoice the Heart


1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
     the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
     night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
     no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
     their words to the ends of the world.
  In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5    It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
     like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
     and makes its circuit to the other;
     nothing is deprived of its warmth.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
     refreshing the soul.
  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
     making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
     giving joy to the heart.
  The commands of the Lord are radiant,
     giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
     enduring forever.
  The decrees of the Lord are firm,
     and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
      than much pure gold;
   they are sweeter than honey,
      than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
      in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
      Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
      may they not rule over me.
   Then I will be blameless,
      innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
      be pleasing in your sight,
      Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.


Commentary
Verses 1-6: The heavens so declare the glory of God, and proclaim his wisdom, power, and goodness, that all ungodly men are left without excuse. They speak themselves to be works of God's hands; for they must have a Creator who is eternal, infinitely wise, powerful, and good. The counter-changing of day and night is a great proof of the power of God, and calls us to observe, that, as in the kingdom of nature, so in that of providence, he forms the light, and creates the darkness, Isaiah 45:7, and sets the one against the other. The sun in the firmament is an emblem of the Sun of righteousness, the Bridegroom of the church, and the Light of the world, diffusing Divine light and salvation by his gospel to the nations of the earth. He delights to bless his church, which he has espoused to himself; and his course will be unwearied as that of the sun, till the whole earth is filled with his light and salvation. Let us pray for the time when he shall enlighten, cheer, and make fruitful every nation on earth, with the blessed salvation. They have no speech or language, so some read it, and yet their voice is heard. All people may hear these preachers speak in their own tongue the wonderful works of God. Let us give God the glory of all the comfort and benefit we have by the lights of heaven, still looking above and beyond them to the Sun of righteousness.

Verses 7-10: The Holy Scripture is of much greater benefit to us than day or night, than the air we breathe, or the light of the sun. To recover man out of his fallen state, there is need of the word of God. The word translated "law," may be rendered doctrine, and be understood as meaning all that teaches us true religion. The whole is perfect; its tendency is to convert or turn the soul from sin and the world, to God and holiness. It shows our sinfulness and misery in departing from God, and the necessity of our return to him. This testimony is sure, to be fully depended on: the ignorant and unlearned believing what God saith, become wise unto salvation. It is a sure direction in the way of duty. It is a sure fountain of living comforts, and a sure foundation of lasting hopes. The statues of the Lord are right, just as they should be; and, because they are right, they rejoice the heart. The commandments of the Lord are pure, holy, just, and good. By them we discover our need of a Savior; and then learn how to adorn his gospel. They are the means which the Holy Spirit uses in enlightening the eyes; they bring us to a sight and sense of our sin and misery, and direct us in the way of duty. The fear of the Lord, that is, true religion and godliness, is clean, it will cleanse our way; and it endured for ever. The ceremonial law is long since done away, but the law concerning the fear of God is ever the same. The judgments of the Lord, his precepts, are true; they are righteous, and they are so altogether; there is no unrighteousness in any of them. Gold is only for the body, and the concerns of time; but grace is for the soul, and the concerns of eternity. The word of God, received by faith, is more precious than gold; it is sweet to the soul, sweeter than honey. The pleasure of sense soon surfeit, yet never satisfy; but those of religion are substantial and satisfying; there is no danger of excess.

Verses 11-14: God's word warns the wicked not to go on in his wicked way, and warns the righteous not to turn from his good way. There is a reward, not only after keeping, but in keeping God's commandments. Religion makes our comforts sweet, and our crosses easy, life truly valuable, and death itself truly desirable. David not only desired to be pardoned and cleansed from the sins he had discovered and confessed, but from those he had forgotten or overlooked. All discoveries of sin made to us by the law, should drive us to the throne of grace, there to pray. His dependence was the same with that of every Christian who says, Surely in the Lord Jesus have I righteousness and strength. No prayer can be acceptable before God which is not offered in the strength of our Redeemer or Divine Kinsman, through Him who took our nature upon him, that he might redeem us unto God, and restore the long-lost inheritance. May our hearts be much affected with the excellence of the word of God; and much affected with the evil of sin, and the danger we are in of it, and the danger we are in by it.


From the Books of Wisdom
Proverbs 21:1-17
God is in Charge


1 In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water
     that he channels toward all who please him.

2 A person may think their own ways are right,
     but the Lord weighs the heart.

3 To do what is right and just
     is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart—
     the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.

5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit
     as surely as haste leads to poverty.

6 A fortune made by a lying tongue
     is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.

7 The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
     for they refuse to do what is right.

8 The way of the guilty is devious,
     but the conduct of the innocent is upright.

9 Better to live on a corner of the roof
     than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

10 The wicked crave evil;
      their neighbors get no mercy from them.

11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom;
      by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.

12 The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked
      and brings the wicked to ruin.

13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
      will also cry out and not be answered.

14 A gift given in secret soothes anger,
      and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.

15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
      but terror to evildoers.

16 Whoever strays from the path of prudence
      comes to rest in the company of the dead.

17 Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;
      whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.


Commentary
Verse 1: As God directs the course along which a stream flows, so he guides the decisions of national rulers according to his plan.

Verses 2-4: God knows people’s motives and he will not accept their sacrifices if their thoughts and actions are wrong.

Verses 5-8: Prosperity that comes through diligence is a fitting reward, but prosperity that comes through greed, lying and violence is a deadly trap.

Verses 9-12: Some people make life unpleasant for those who live in the same house, and others deliberately do evil wherever they can. They will come to ruin, but the righteous will enjoy blessing.

Verses 13-17: Some people live solely for themselves, ignoring the needy and bribing the influential so that they can get whatever they want and live in complete comfort. One day they will justly suffer for their selfishness and dishonesty.


From the Gospels
Matthew 21:23-32
The Faith of Tax Collectors and Prostitutes


23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’
26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.
32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Commentary
Verses 23-27: As our Lord now openly appeared as the Messiah, the chief priests and scribes were much offended, especially because he exposed and removed the abuses they encouraged. Our Lord asked what they thought of John's ministry and baptism. Many are more afraid of the shame of lying than of the sin, and therefore scruple not to speak what they know to be false, as to their own thoughts, affections, and intentions, or their remembering and forgetting. Our Lord refused to answer their inquiry. It is best to shun needless disputes with wicked opposers.

Verses 28-32: Parables which give reproof, speak plainly to the offenders, and judge them out of their own mouths. The parable of the two sons sent to work in the vineyard, is to show that those who knew not John's baptism to be of God, were shamed by those who knew it, and owned it. The whole human race are like children whom the Lord has brought up, but they have rebelled against him, only some are more plausible in their disobedience than others. And it often happens, that the daring rebel is brought to repentance and becomes the Lord's servant, while the formalist grows hardened in pride and enmity.



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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