Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Daily Bible Readings for Thursday, January 13, 2022

Acts 8: Simon the Sorcerer

The Daily Bible Readings
Thursday, January 13, 2022
Psalm 36:5-10; Jeremiah 3:1-5; Acts 8:18-24
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction & Summary

In today’s lectionary readings, our psalm contains some of the most beautiful language of any psalm in the Psalter, as many readers have long recognized. Verse 9 has rightly garnered the most attention: “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” These words profess faith in God alone as the source and foundation of life, security, and goodness. Since the profession of faith appears within a prayer for deliverance that sets the righteous and wicked in sharp contrast, many scholars classify the psalm as a prayer for help by an individual.

In our reading in the third chapter of the book of Jeremiah, God implies that Israel won’t even return to him, saying that she’s like a wife that he’s already divorced. She’s moved on to other lovers, other gods. Israel’s adultery with other gods—committed on practically every corner—has caused a terrible drought. But Israel still refuses to be ashamed.

Tucked into our reading in the Book of Acts, Simon, a magician living in Samaria, has seen the Holy Spirit indwell new Jesus-followers as Peter and John laid their hands on them (Acts 8:9–13, 14–17). He thinks this is a magic trick worth learning.

In our verse of the day, because of our sin and rebellion against God, man has become an arrogant enemy of the most holy Creator. Still, through the death of Christ alone, whose sinless blood was poured out to pay the full price for our sins, we can be reconciled to God and returned into full fellowship with Him simply by trusting Christ as Savior and Lord.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
2 Corinthians 5:19-20

…that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
God created us to be united with Him in an intimate love relationship, and He has entrusted us with the task of telling the world what He has done to make it possible for everyone who has faith in Him to enjoy eternal life and an intimate relationship with Him. Through the Cross, we have the privilege of embracing and enjoying His loving presence forever.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 36:5-10
We Feast on the Abundance of God’s House

5 Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
     your faithfulness to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
     your justice like the great deep.
     You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
     People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
     you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
     in your light we see light.

10 Continue your love to those who know you,
      your righteousness to the upright in heart.


The goodness of God.

Men may shut up their compassion, yet, with God we shall find mercy. This is great comfort to all believers, plainly to be seen, and not to be taken away. God does all wisely and well; but what he does we know not now, it is time enough to know hereafter. God's loving-kindness is precious to the saints. They put themselves under his protection, and then are safe and easy. Gracious souls, though still desiring more of God, never desire more than God. The gifts of Providence so far satisfy them, that they are content with such things as they have. The benefit of holy ordinances is sweet to a sanctified soul, and strengthening to the spiritual and Divine life. But full satisfaction is reserved for the future state. Their joys shall be constant. God not only works in them a gracious desire for these pleasures, but by his Spirit fills their souls with joy and peace in believing. He quickens whom he will; and whoever will, may come, and take from him of the waters of life freely. May we know, and love, and uprightly serve the Lord; then no proud enemy, on earth or from hell, shall separate us from his love. Faith calls things that are not, as though they were. It carries us forward to the end of time; it shows us the Lord, on his throne of judgment; the empire of sin fallen to rise no more.

From the Prophetic Books of Major Prophets
Jeremiah 3:1-5
Unfaithful Israel

1 “If a man divorces his wife
     and she leaves him and marries another man,
  should he return to her again?
     Would not the land be completely defiled?
  But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers—
     would you now return to me?”
  declares the Lord.
2 “Look up to the barren heights and see.
     Is there any place where you have not been ravished?
  By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers,
     sat like a nomad in the desert.
  You have defiled the land
     with your prostitution and wickedness.
3 Therefore the showers have been withheld,
     and no spring rains have fallen.
  Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute;
     you refuse to blush with shame.
4 Have you not just called to me:
     ‘My Father, my friend from my youth,
5 will you always be angry?
     Will your wrath continue forever?’
  This is how you talk,
     but you do all the evil you can.”


Exhortations to repentance.

In repentance, it is good to think upon the sins of which we have been guilty, and the places and companies where they have been committed. How gently the Lord had corrected them! In receiving penitents, he is God, and not man. Whatever thou hast said or done hitherto, wilt thou not from this time apply to me? Will not this grace of God overcome thee? Now pardon is proclaimed, wilt thou not take the benefit? They will hope to find in him the tender compassion of a Father towards a returning prodigal. They will come to him as the Guide of their youth: youth needs a guide. Repenting sinners may encourage themselves that God will not keep his anger to the end. All God's mercies, in every age, suggest encouragement; and what can be so desirable for the young, as to have the Lord for their Father, and the Guide of their youth? Let parents daily direct their children earnestly to seek this blessing.

From the Acts of the Apostles
Acts 8:18-24
God’s Gifts Cannot be Purchased

8:18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”


The hypocrisy of Simon detected.

Simon Magus was ambitious to have the honor of an apostle, but cared not at all to have the spirit and disposition of a Christian. He was more desirous to gain honor to himself, than to do good to others. Peter shows him his crime. He esteemed the wealth of this world, as if it would answer for things relating to the other life, and would purchase the pardon of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal life. This was such a condemning error as could by no means consist with a state of grace. Our hearts are what they are in the sight of God, who cannot be deceived. And if they are not right in his sight, our religion is vain, and will stand us in no stead. A proud and covetous heart cannot be right with God. It is possible for a man to continue under the power of sin, yet to put on a form of godliness. When tempted with money to do evil, see what a perishing thing money is, and scorn it. Think not that Christianity is a trade to live by in this world. There is much wickedness in the thought of the heart, its false notions, and corrupt affections, and wicked projects, which must be repented of, or we are undone. But it shall be forgiven, upon our repentance. The doubt here is of the sincerity of Simon's repentance, not of his pardon, if his repentance was sincere. Grant us, Lord, another sort of faith than that which made Simon wonder only, and did not sanctify his heart. May we abhor all thoughts of making religion serve the purposes of pride or ambition. And keep us from that subtle poison of spiritual pride, which seeks glory to itself even from humility. May we seek only the honor which comes from God.

Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. 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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