Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday, October 13, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Psalm 39; Job 32:1-22; Luke 16:19-31
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction
In today’s lectionary readings, our psalm is a Psalm of David, though it cannot be connected to any specific point in his life. It is possible that it was from his last few years of life. David began this psalm by recounting his prayer—asking God’s help in not speaking foolishly or sinfully when the wicked are before him. At the end of Job’s persuasive arguments in Job 28-30, his friends had nothing more to say. They still thought that Job was utterly wrong, but they felt he was so confirmed in his own opinions (he was righteous in his own eyes) that it was useless to keep the discussion going. But when Elihu saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused. He was angry against Job because he felt that Job justified himself rather than God. Elihu felt that Job was more concerned about being right himself than God being right. Our gospel reading is the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Our verse of the day is often spoken as a promise of hope to grieving or discouraged people. However, before it can be applied, it must first be understood in context.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God’s plans for us are always for our good (Rom. 12:1, 2). Although we may endure times of adversity, we always have hope because of His amazing lovingkindness toward us (8:28). And if we patiently and obediently wait for Him, He will most certainly fulfill His promises to us and purposes for us in a way that’s above and beyond all that we ask or imagine (Ps. 138:8; Eph. 3:20).

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter

Psalm 39
Worn Down by the Blows of Your Hands


1 I said, “I will watch my ways
     and keep my tongue from sin;
  I will put a muzzle on my mouth
     while in the presence of the wicked.”
2 So I remained utterly silent,
     not even saying anything good.
  But my anguish increased;
3    my heart grew hot within me.
  While I meditated, the fire burned;
     then I spoke with my tongue:

4 “Show me, Lord, my life’s end
     and the number of my days;
     let me know how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
     the span of my years is as nothing before you.
  Everyone is but a breath,
     even those who seem secure.

6 “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
     in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
     without knowing whose it will finally be.

7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for?
     My hope is in you.
8 Save me from all my transgressions;
     do not make me the scorn of fools.
9 I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
     for you are the one who has done this.
10 Remove your scourge from me;
      I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
11 When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
      you consume their wealth like a moth—
      surely everyone is but a breath.

12 “Hear my prayer, Lord,
      listen to my cry for help;
      do not be deaf to my weeping.
   I dwell with you as a foreigner,
      a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
      before I depart and am no more.”


Commentary
Verses 1-6: If an evil thought should arise in the mind, suppress it. Watchfulness in the habit, is the bridle upon the head; watchfulness in acts, is the hand upon the bridle. When not able to separate from wicked men, we should remember they will watch our words, and turn them, if they can, to our disadvantage. Sometimes it may be necessary to keep silence, even from good words; but in general we are wrong when backward to engage in edifying discourse. Impatience is a sin that has its cause within ourselves, and that is, musing; and its ill effects upon ourselves, and that is no less than burning. In our greatest health and prosperity, every man is altogether vanity, he cannot live long; he may die soon. This is an undoubted truth, but we are very unwilling to believe it. Therefore let us pray that God would enlighten our minds by his Holy Spirit, and fill our hearts with his grace, that we may be ready for death every day and hour.

Verses 7-13: There is no solid satisfaction to be had in the creature; but it is to be found in the Lord, and in communion with him; to him we should be driven by our disappointments. If the world be nothing but vanity, may God deliver us from having or seeking our portion in it. When creature-confidences fail, it is our comfort that we have a God to go to, a God to trust in. We may see a good God doing all, and ordering all events concerning us; and a good man, for that reason, says nothing against it. He desires the pardoning of his sin, and the preventing of his shame. We must both watch and pray against sin. When under the correcting hand of the Lord, we must look to God himself for relief, not to any other. Our ways and our doings bring us into trouble, and we are beaten with a rod of our own making. What a poor thing is beauty! and what fools are those that are proud of it, when it will certainly, and may quickly, be consumed! The body of man is as a garment to the soul. In this garment sin has lodged a moth, which wears away, first the beauty, then the strength, and finally the substance of its parts. Whoever has watched the progress of a lingering distemper, or the work of time alone, in the human frame, will feel at once the force of this comparison, and that, surely every man is vanity. Afflictions are sent to stir up prayer. If they have that effect, we may hope that God will hear our prayer. The believer expects weariness and ill treatment on his way to heaven; but he shall not stay here long : walking with God by faith, he goes forward on his journey, not diverted from his course, nor cast down by the difficulties he meets. How blessed it is to sit loose from things here below, that while going home to our Father's house, we may use the world as not abusing it! May we always look for that city, whose Builder and Maker is God.


From the Books of Wisdom
Job 32:1-22
Elihu is Upset with Job’s Friends


32:1 So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. 3 He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him. 4 Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. 5 But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.

6 So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said:

  “I am young in years,
     and you are old;
  that is why I was fearful,
     not daring to tell you what I know.
7 I thought, ‘Age should speak;
     advanced years should teach wisdom.’
8 But it is the spirit in a person,
     the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.
9 It is not only the old who are wise,
     not only the aged who understand what is right.

10 “Therefore I say: Listen to me;
      I too will tell you what I know.
11 I waited while you spoke,
      I listened to your reasoning;
   while you were searching for words,
12    I gave you my full attention.
   But not one of you has proved Job wrong;
      none of you has answered his arguments.
13 Do not say, ‘We have found wisdom;
      let God, not a man, refute him.’
14 But Job has not marshaled his words against me,
      and I will not answer him with your arguments.

15 “They are dismayed and have no more to say;
      words have failed them.
16 Must I wait, now that they are silent,
      now that they stand there with no reply?
17 I too will have my say;
      I too will tell what I know.
18 For I am full of words,
      and the spirit within me compels me;
19 inside I am like bottled-up wine,
      like new wineskins ready to burst.
20 I must speak and find relief;
      I must open my lips and reply.
21 I will show no partiality,
      nor will I flatter anyone;
22 for if I were skilled in flattery,
      my Maker would soon take me away.


Commentary
Verses 1-5: Job's friends were silenced, but not convinced. Others had been present. Elihu was justly displeased with Job, as more anxious to clear his own character than the justice and goodness of God. Elihu was displeased with Job's friends because they had not been candid to Job. Seldom is a quarrel begun, more seldom is a quarrel carried on, in which there are not faults on both sides. Those that seek for truth, must not reject what is true and good on either side, nor approve or defend what is wrong.

Verses 6-14: Elihu professes to speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and corrects both parties. He allowed that those who had the longest experience should speak first. But God gives wisdom as he pleases; this encouraged him to state his opinion. By attention to the word of God, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit, young men may become wiser than the aged; but this wisdom will render them swift to hear, slow to speak, and disposed to give others a patient hearing.

Verses 15-22: If we are sure that the Spirit of God suggested what we are about to say, still we ought to refrain, till it comes to our turn to speak. God is the God of order, not of confusion. It is great refreshment to a good man, to speak for the glory of the Lord, and to edify others. And the more we consider the majesty of God, as our Maker, and the more we dread his wrath and justice, the less shall we sinfully fear or flatter men. Could we set the wrath Lord always before us, in his mercies and his terrors, we should not be moved from doing our duty in whatever we are called to do.


From the Gospels
Luke 16:19-31
Lazarus Comforted by Abraham


16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”


Commentary
Here the spiritual things are represented, in a description of the different state of good and bad, in this world and in the other. We are not told that the rich man got his estate by fraud, or oppression; but Christ shows, that a man may have a great deal of the wealth, pomp, and pleasure of this world, yet perish for ever under God's wrath and curse. The sin of this rich man was his providing for himself only. Here is a godly man, and one that will hereafter be happy for ever, in the depth of adversity and distress. It is often the lot of some of the dearest of God's saints and servants to be greatly afflicted in this world. We are not told that the rich man did him any harm, but we do not find that he had any care for him. Here is the different condition of this godly poor man, and this wicked rich man, at and after death. The rich man in hell lifted up his eyes, being in torment. It is not probable that there are discourses between glorified saints and damned sinners, but this dialogue shows the hopeless misery and fruitless desires, to which condemned spirits are brought. There is a day coming, when those who now hate and despise the people of God, would gladly receive kindness from them. But the damned in hell shall not have the least abatement of their torment. Sinners are now called upon to remember; but they do not, they will not, they find ways to avoid it. As wicked people have good things only in this life, and at death are for ever separated from all good, so godly people have evil things only in this life, and at death they are for ever put from them. In this world, blessed be God, there is no gulf between a state of nature and grace, we may pass from sin to God; but if we die in our sins, there is no coming out. The rich man had five brethren, and would have them stopped in their sinful course; their coming to that place of torment, would make his misery the worse, who had helped to show them the way thither. How many would now desire to recall or to undo what they have written or done! Those who would make the rich man's praying to Abraham justify praying to saints departed, go far to seek for proofs, when the mistake of a damned sinner is all they can find for an example. And surely there is no encouragement to follow the example, when all his prayers were made in vain. A messenger from the dead could say no more than what is said in the Scriptures. The same strength of corruption that breaks through the convictions of the written word, would triumph over a witness from the dead. Let us seek to the law and to the testimony, Isaiah 8:19; Isaiah 8:20, for that is the sure word of prophecy, upon which we may rest, 2 Peter 1:19. Circumstances in every age show that no terrors, or arguments, can give true repentance without the special grace of God renewing the sinner's heart.


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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