Friday, October 15, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Friday, October 15, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Friday, October 15, 2021
Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35b; Job 37:1-24; Revelation 17:1-18
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction
Our psalm is a majestic hymn of praise that extols Yahweh as creator and sustainer of the natural world in today’s lectionary readings. As the psalmist views God’s creative work, it is even a more striking record than that of Genesis in some respects. In our reading in Job, Elihu felt that Job needed a good dose of the greatness of God. It was good advice wrongly applied to Job’s situation. Elihu did rightly understand that the mighty sound of thunder seems to man to be the voice of God. In our reading from the Book of Revelation, the fall of Babylon is carefully detailed. Under the Antichrist, Babylon (in both its religious and commercial aspects) will have influence over the earth as never before. Our verse of the day touches on a deep mystery. There is no God besides God.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
2 Samuel 7:22

How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.
God's goodness is to David a proof of his greatness, and he sees it displayed, not only in his dealings with himself, but also in the past history of the Jewish nation. There is in this a depth of evangelic piety. An unconverted heart would see the greatness of God in the majesty of creation, or in severe dealings with the impenitent. David saw it in acts of mercy and kindness. We look upon Elijah as the very type of sternness, yet he too recognized the presence of God in "the still small voice" of gentleness and love (1 Kings 19:13).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter

Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35b
In Wisdom You Have Made Them All


1 Praise the Lord, my soul.

  Lord my God, you are very great;
     you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

2 The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
     he stretches out the heavens like a tent
3    and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
  He makes the clouds his chariot
     and rides on the wings of the wind.
4 He makes winds his messengers,
     flames of fire his servants.

5 He set the earth on its foundations;
     it can never be moved.
6 You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
     the waters stood above the mountains.
7 But at your rebuke the waters fled,
     at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
8 they flowed over the mountains,
     they went down into the valleys,
     to the place you assigned for them.
9 You set a boundary they cannot cross;
     never again will they cover the earth.

24 How many are your works, Lord!
      In wisdom you made them all;
      the earth is full of your creatures.

35b Praise the Lord, my soul.

    Praise the Lord.


Commentary
Every object we behold calls on us to bless and praise the Lord, who is great. His eternal power and Godhead are clearly shown by the things which he hath made. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. The Lord Jesus, the Son of his love, is the Light of the world.

From the Books of Wisdom
Job 37:1-24
Elihu Continues: I Am Afraid


1 “At this my heart pounds
     and leaps from its place.
2 Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,
     to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
3 He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven
     and sends it to the ends of the earth.
4 After that comes the sound of his roar;
     he thunders with his majestic voice.
  When his voice resounds,
     he holds nothing back.
5 God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
     he does great things beyond our understanding.
6 He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
     and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’
7 So that everyone he has made may know his work,
     he stops all people from their labor.
8 The animals take cover;
     they remain in their dens.
9 The tempest comes out from its chamber,
     the cold from the driving winds.
10 The breath of God produces ice,
      and the broad waters become frozen.
11 He loads the clouds with moisture;
      he scatters his lightning through them.
12 At his direction they swirl around
      over the face of the whole earth
      to do whatever he commands them.
13 He brings the clouds to punish people,
      or to water his earth and show his love.

14 “Listen to this, Job;
      stop and consider God’s wonders.
15 Do you know how God controls the clouds
      and makes his lightning flash?
16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised,
      those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?
17 You who swelter in your clothes
      when the land lies hushed under the south wind,
18 can you join him in spreading out the skies,
      hard as a mirror of cast bronze?

19 “Tell us what we should say to him;
      we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.
20 Should he be told that I want to speak?
      Would anyone ask to be swallowed up?
21 Now no one can look at the sun,
      bright as it is in the skies
      after the wind has swept them clean.
22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor;
      God comes in awesome majesty.
23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;
      in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
24 Therefore, people revere him,
      for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?”


Commentary
Verses 1-13: The changes of the weather are the subject of a great deal of our thoughts and common talk; but how seldom do we think and speak of these things, as Elihu, with a regard to God, the director of them! We must notice the glory of God, not only in the thunder and lightning, but in the more common and less awful changes of the weather; as the snow and rain. Nature directs all creatures to shelter themselves from a storm; and shall man only be unprovided with a refuge? Oh that men would listen to the voice of God, who in many ways warns them to flee from the wrath to come; and invites them to accept his salvation, and to be happy. The ill opinion which men entertain of the Divine direction, peculiarly appears in their murmurs about the weather, though the whole result of the year proves the folly of their complaints. Believers should avoid this; no days are bad as God makes them, though we make many bad by our sins.

Verses 14-20: Due thoughts of the works of God will help to reconcile us to all his providences. As God has a powerful, freezing north wind, so he has a thawing, composing south wind: the Spirit is compared to both, because he both convinces and comforts, Song of Songs 4:16. The best of men are much in the dark concerning the glorious perfections of the Divine nature and the Divine government. Those who, through grace, know much of God, know nothing, in comparison with what is to be known, and of what will be known, when that which is perfect is come.

Verses 21-24: Elihu concludes his discourse with some great sayings concerning the glory of God. Light always is, but is not always to be seen. When clouds come between, the sun is darkened in the clear day. The light of God's favor shines ever towards his faithful servants, though it be not always seen. Sins are clouds, and often hinder us from seeing that bright light which is in the face of God. Also, as to those thick clouds of sorrow which often darken our minds, the Lord hath a wind which passes and clears them away. What is that wind? It is his Holy Spirit. As the wind dispels and sweeps away the clouds which are gathered in the air, so the Spirit of God clears our souls from the clouds and fogs of ignorance and unbelief, of sin and lust. From all these clouds the Holy Spirit of God frees us in the work of regeneration. And from all the clouds which trouble our consciences, the Holy Spirit sets us free in the work of consolation. Now that God is about to speak, Elihu delivers a few words, as the sum of all his discourse. With God is terrible majesty. Sooner or later all men shall fear him.


From the Apocalypse of John
Revelation 17:1-18
Earth’s Kings Conquered


17:1 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. 2 With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”

3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5 The name written on her forehead was a mystery:

BABYLON THE GREAT

THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES

AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.

When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.
7 Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.

9 “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. 10 They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. 11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.

12 “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. 13 They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. 16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled. 18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”

Commentary
Verses 1-6: Rome clearly appears to be meant in this chapter. Pagan Rome subdued and ruled with military power, not by art and flatteries. She left the nations in general to their ancient usages and worship. But it is well known that by crafty and politic management, with all kinds of deceit of unrighteousness, papal Rome has obtained and kept her rule over kings and nations. Here were allurements of worldly honor and riches, pomp and pride, suited to sensual and worldly minds. Prosperity, pomp, and splendor, feed the pride and lusts of the human heart, but are no security against the Divine vengeance. The golden cup represents the allurements, and delusions, by which this mystical Babylon has obtained and kept her influence, and seduced others to join her abominations. She is named, from her infamous practices, a mother of harlots; training them up to idolatry and all sorts of wickedness. She filled herself with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus. She intoxicated herself with it; and it was so pleasant to her, that she never was satisfied. We cannot but wonder at the oceans of Christian blood shed by men called Christians; yet when we consider these prophecies, these awful deeds testify to the truth of the gospel. And let all beware of a splendid, gainful, or fashionable religion. Let us avoid the mysteries of iniquity, and study diligently the great mystery of godliness, that we may learn humility and gratitude from the example of Christ. The more we seek to resemble him, the less we shall be liable to be deceived by antichrist.

Verses 7-14: The beast on which the woman sat was, and is not, and yet is. It was a seat of idolatry and persecution, and is not; not in the ancient form, which was pagan: yet it is; it is truly the seat of idolatry and tyranny, though of another sort and form. It would deceive into stupid and blind submission all the inhabitants of the earth within its influence, except the remnant of the elect. This beast was seven heads, seven mountains, the seven hills on which Rome stands; and seven kings, seven sorts of government. Five were gone by when this prophecy was written; one was then in being; the other was yet to come. This beast, directed by the papacy, makes an eighth governor, and sets up idolatry again. It had ten horns, which are said to be ten kings who had as yet no kingdoms; they should not rise up till the Roman empire was broken; but should for a time be very zealous in her interest. Christ must reign till all enemies be put under his feet. The reason of the victory is, that he is the King of kings, and Lord of lords. He has supreme dominion and power over all things; all the powers of earth and hell are subject to his control. His followers are called to this warfare, are fitted for it, and will be faithful in it.

Verses 15-18: God so ruled the hearts of these kings, by his power over them, and by his providence, that they did those things, without intending it, which he purposed and foretold. They shall see their folly, and how they have been bewitched and enslaved by the harlot, and be made instruments in her destruction. She was that great city which reigned over the kings of the earth, when John had this vision; and every one knows Rome to be that city. Believers will be received to the glory of the Lord, when wicked men will be destroyed in a most awful manner; their joining together in sin, will be turned to hatred and rage, and they will eagerly assist in tormenting each other. But the Lord's portion is his people; his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure, to his glory, and the happiness of all his servants.



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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