Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday, October 6, 2021


The Daily Bible Readings
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Psalm 55:1-15; Job 15:1-35; Matthew 5:27-36
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

In today’s lectionary readings, the psalm describes a time of some kind of rebellion or power struggle against David, and a key leader in the struggle was a trusted associate who betrayed David. In our reading in Job, Eliphaz was not impressed by Job’s eloquent dependence on God as expressed in the previous chapters. He replied with a sharp rebuke of Job, accusing him of empty knowledge, of unprofitable talk, and of having cast off fear. In our gospel reading, Jesus deals with what they had heard regarding the law of adultery. In our verse of the day, we are called to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not to lean upon our own understanding, because the Lord our God is our everlasting Rock.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Isaiah 26:4

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
This verse contains the simple imperative: “Trust.” Though simple in word, trust is difficult to maintain in life. Most people have had negative life experiences that have taught them that trust is a commodity not to trade in easily, for anyone and everyone we fully trust will eventually fail. Many times failure is unintentional, but failure is inevitable. Humans, it seems, were not built to fully carry that kind of weight for each other.

But the Lord is the Rock. Unmovable. Unshakable. Unchangeable. His character stands more firmly than stone. Though any human will eventually crack under the pressure of the weight of carrying another’s trust, the Lord is more than capable of carrying the trust of all who have faith in him. We know this is true because he has proven himself to be trustworthy time and time again—most of all through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus validates all of the trust that believers place in God; his saving work on our behalf proves that God, the Eternal Rock, can bear that weight.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter

Psalm 55:1-15
It is Not Enemies who Taunt Me

1 Listen to my prayer, O God,
     do not ignore my plea;
2    hear me and answer me.
  My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
3    because of what my enemy is saying,
     because of the threats of the wicked;
  for they bring down suffering on me
     and assail me in their anger.

4 My heart is in anguish within me;
     the terrors of death have fallen on me.
5 Fear and trembling have beset me;
     horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
     I would fly away and be at rest.
7 I would flee far away
     and stay in the desert;
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
     far from the tempest and storm.”

9 Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,
     for I see violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
      malice and abuse are within it.
11 Destructive forces are at work in the city;
      threats and lies never leave its streets.

12 If an enemy were insulting me,
      I could endure it;
   if a foe were rising against me,
      I could hide.
13 But it is you, a man like myself,
      my companion, my close friend,
14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
      at the house of God,
   as we walked about
      among the worshipers.

15 Let death take my enemies by surprise;
      let them go down alive to the realm of the dead,
      for evil finds lodging among them.

Verses 1-8: In these verses we have, 1. David praying. Prayer is a salve for every sore, and a relief to the spirit under every burden. 2. David weeping. Griefs are thus, in some measure, lessened, while those increase that have no vent given them. David in great alarm. We may well suppose him to be so, upon the breaking out of Absalom's conspiracy, and the falling away of the people. Horror overwhelmed him. Probably the remembrance of his sin in the matter of Uriah added much to the terror. When under a guilty conscience we must mourn in our complaint, and even strong believers have for a time been filled with horror. But none ever was so overwhelmed as the holy Jesus, when it pleased the Lord to put him to grief, and to make his soul an offering for our sins. In his agony he prayed more earnestly, and was heard and delivered; trusting in him, and following him, we shall be supported under, and carried through all trials. See how David was weary of the treachery and ingratitude of men, and the cares and disappointments of his high station: he longed to hide himself in some desert from the fury and fickleness of his people. He aimed not at victory, but rest; a barren wilderness, so that he might be quiet. The wisest and best of men most earnestly covet peace and quietness, and the more when vexed and wearied with noise and clamor. This makes death desirable to a child of God, that it is a final escape from all the storms and tempests of this world, to perfect and everlasting rest.

Verses 9-15: No wickedness so distresses the believer, as that which he witnesses in those who profess to be of the church of God. Let us not be surprised at the corruptions and disorders of the church on earth, but long to see the New Jerusalem. He complains of one that had been very industrious against him. God often destroys the enemies of the church by dividing them. And an interest divided against itself cannot long stand. The true Christian must expect trials from professed friends, from those with whom he has been united; this will be very painful; but by looking unto Jesus we shall be enabled to bear it. Christ was betrayed by a companion, a disciple, an apostle, who resembled Ahithophel in his crimes and doom. Both were speedily overtaken by Divine vengeance. And this prayer is a prophecy of the utter, the everlasting ruin, of all who oppose and rebel against the Messiah.

From the Books of Wisdom
Job 15:1-35
Eliphaz’s Second Speech

1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:

2 “Would a wise person answer with empty notions
     or fill their belly with the hot east wind?
3 Would they argue with useless words,
     with speeches that have no value?
4 But you even undermine piety
     and hinder devotion to God.
5 Your sin prompts your mouth;
     you adopt the tongue of the crafty.
6 Your own mouth condemns you, not mine;
     your own lips testify against you.

7 “Are you the first man ever born?
     Were you brought forth before the hills?
8 Do you listen in on God’s council?
     Do you have a monopoly on wisdom?
9 What do you know that we do not know?
     What insights do you have that we do not have?
10 The gray-haired and the aged are on our side,
      men even older than your father.
11 Are God’s consolations not enough for you,
      words spoken gently to you?
12 Why has your heart carried you away,
      and why do your eyes flash,
13 so that you vent your rage against God
      and pour out such words from your mouth?

14 “What are mortals, that they could be pure,
      or those born of woman, that they could be righteous?
15 If God places no trust in his holy ones,
      if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes,
16 how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt,
      who drink up evil like water!

17 “Listen to me and I will explain to you;
      let me tell you what I have seen,
18 what the wise have declared,
      hiding nothing received from their ancestors
19 (to whom alone the land was given
      when no foreigners moved among them):
20 All his days the wicked man suffers torment,
      the ruthless man through all the years stored up for him.
21 Terrifying sounds fill his ears;
      when all seems well, marauders attack him.
22 He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness;
      he is marked for the sword.
23 He wanders about for food like a vulture;
      he knows the day of darkness is at hand.
24 Distress and anguish fill him with terror;
      troubles overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack,
25 because he shakes his fist at God
      and vaunts himself against the Almighty,
26 defiantly charging against him
      with a thick, strong shield.

27 “Though his face is covered with fat
      and his waist bulges with flesh,
28 he will inhabit ruined towns
      and houses where no one lives,
      houses crumbling to rubble.
29 He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure,
      nor will his possessions spread over the land.
30 He will not escape the darkness;
      a flame will wither his shoots,
      and the breath of God’s mouth will carry him away.
31 Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless,
      for he will get nothing in return.
32 Before his time he will wither,
      and his branches will not flourish.
33 He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes,
      like an olive tree shedding its blossoms.
34 For the company of the godless will be barren,
      and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes.
35 They conceive trouble and give birth to evil;
      their womb fashions deceit.”

Verses 1-16: Eliphaz begins a second attack upon Job, instead of being softened by his complaints. He unjustly charges Job with casting off the fear of God, and all regard to him, and restraining prayer. See in what religion is summed up, fearing God, and praying to him; the former the most needful principle, the latter the most needful practice. Eliphaz charges Job with self-conceit. He charges him with contempt of the counsels and comforts given him by his friends. We are apt to think that which we ourselves say is important, when others, with reason, think little of it. He charges him with opposition to God. Eliphaz ought not to have put harsh constructions upon the words of one well known for piety, and now in temptation. It is plain that these disputants were deeply convinced of the doctrine of original sin, and the total depravity of human nature. Shall we not admire the patience of God in bearing with us? and still more his love to us in the redemption of Christ Jesus his beloved Son?

Verses 17-35: Eliphaz maintains that the wicked are certainly miserable: whence he would infer, that the miserable are certainly wicked, and therefore Job was so. But because many of God's people have prospered in this world, it does not therefore follow that those who are crossed and made poor, as Job, are not God's people. Eliphaz shows also that wicked people, particularly oppressors, are subject to continual terror, live very uncomfortably, and perish very miserably. Will the prosperity of presumptuous sinners end miserably as here described? Then let the mischiefs which befall others, be our warnings. Though no chastening for the present seemed to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless, afterward it yielded the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby. No calamity, no trouble, however heavy, however severe, can rob a follower of the Lord of his favor. What shall separate him from the love of Christ?

From the Gospels
Matthew 5:27-36
Teachings about Marriage and Vow-Making

5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.

Verses 27-32: Victory over the desires of the heart, must be attended with painful exertions. But it must be done. Every thing is bestowed to save us from our sins, not in them. All our senses and powers must be kept from those things which lead to transgression. Those who lead others into temptation to sin, by dress or in other ways, or leave them in it, or expose them to it, make themselves guilty of their sin, and will be accountable for it. If painful operations are submitted to, that our lives may be saved, what ought our minds to shrink from, when the salvation of our souls is concerned? There is tender mercy under all the Divine requirements, and the grace and consolations of the Spirit will enable us to attend to them.

Verses 33-36: There is no reason to consider that solemn oaths in a court of justice, or on other proper occasions, are wrong, provided they are taken with due reverence. But all oaths taken without necessity, or in common conversation, must be sinful, as well as all those expressions which are appeals to God, though persons think thereby to evade the guilt of swearing. The worse men are, the less they are bound by oaths; the better they are, the less there is need for them. Our Lord does not enjoin the precise terms wherein we are to affirm or deny, but such a constant regard to truth as would render oaths unnecessary.

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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