Saturday, February 5, 2022
Psalm 138; Judges 3:7-11; Luke 4:42-44
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible
Introduction & Summary
The story in our reading in Judges begins with the heartbreaking backdrop of Israel doing evil in the sight of the Lord. Regrettably, the people of Israel forgot the one true God and served Baal and Asheroth, the chief god and goddess of the Canaanites. God subjugated his people under the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim, king of Aram Naharaim, for eight long years. He did this as a measure of discipline to humble his people and bring them back to him. God’s subjecting Israel to Cushan-Rishathaim’s cruelty for eight years worked. Finally, like a damsel in distress, Israel recognized that they could not make it alone, and they cried out to the Lord for help. And when their hearts were humbled, God raised up a great champion to deliver them. Othniel, son of Kenaz.
In our gospel reading, Jesus continues His preaching ministry in Galilee. He taught about the kingdom of God in the sense that He announced the presence of the King and corrected people’s misconceptions about the kingdom.
The interesting thing about our verse of the day is that the psalmist isn’t rejoicing over his deliverance from enemies or illness. He is celebrating deliverance from his fears or terrors.
Today’s Verse of the Day:
For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.God’s faithful word is the basis for praise. His revelation matches his character: it is always good, right, and true. His word and his actions are without error. The whole earth, ordered perfectly by the Lord, reflects his unfailing love.
Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
I Will Bow Toward Your Holy Temple
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.
3 When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.
4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
when they hear what you have decreed.
5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
for the glory of the Lord is great.
6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
though lofty, he sees them from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
with your right hand you save me.
8 The Lord will vindicate me;
your love, Lord, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.
Verses 1-5: When we can praise God with our whole heart, we need not be unwilling for the whole world to witness our gratitude and joy in him. Those who rely on his loving-kindness and truth through Jesus Christ, will ever find him faithful to his word. If he spared not his own Son, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? If God gives us strength in our souls, to bear the burdens, resist the temptations, and to do the duties of an afflicted state, if he strengthens us to keep hold of himself by faith, and to wait with patience for the event, we are bound to be thankful.
Verses 6-8: Though the Lord is high, yet he has respect to every lowly, humbled sinner; but the proud and unbelieving will be banished far from his blissful presence. Divine consolations have enough in them to revive us, even when we walk in the midst of troubles. And God will save his own people that they may be revived by the Holy Spirit, the Giver of life and holiness. If we give to God the glory of his mercy, we may take to ourselves the comfort. This confidence will not do away, but quicken prayer. Whatever good there is in us, it is God works in us both to will and to do. The Lord will perfect the salvation of every true believer, and he will never forsake those whom he has created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works.
From the Historical Books
God’s Spirit Rests on Othniel
The first judge was Othniel: even in Joshua's time Othniel began to be famous. Soon after Israel's settlement in Canaan their purity began to be corrupted, and their peace disturbed. But affliction makes those cry to God who before would scarcely speak to him. God returned in mercy to them for their deliverance. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel. The Spirit of wisdom and courage to qualify him for the service, and the Spirit of power to excite him to it. He first judged Israel, reproved and reformed them, and then went to war. Let sin at home be conquered, that worst of enemies, then enemies abroad will be more easily dealt with. Thus let Christ be our Judge and Lawgiver, then he will save us.
From the Gospels
Christ's preaching much affected the people; and a working power went with it to the consciences of men. Our business should be to spread abroad Christ's fame in every place, to beseech him in behalf of those diseased in body or mind, and to use our influence in bringing sinners to him, that his hands may be laid upon them for their healing. He cast the devils out of many who were possessed. We were not sent into this world to live to ourselves only, but to glorify God, and to do good in our generation. The people sought him, and came unto him. A desert is no desert, if we are with Christ there. He will continue with us, by his word and Spirit, and extend the same blessings to other nations, till, throughout the earth, the servants and worshipers of Satan are brought to acknowledge him as the Christ, the Son of God, and to find redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
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. 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.