The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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January 4

Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.

Reading 1 - Gen 8:9

"He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark" (Gen 8:9).

"The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you" (Psa 116:6,7).

Tired, and with no place to set its feet or lay its head, the dove found its way back to the Ark of safety, and Noah stretched out his hand to receive it back to himself. The "father" looked for, and then received back to his bosom the "prodigal son", who -- weary with looking for but finding no resting place -- returns to its home!

Reading 2 - Psa 9:1

"I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders" (Psa 9:1).

"Praise should always follow answered prayer; as the mist of earth's gratitude rises when the sun of heaven's love warms the ground. Hath the Lord been gracious to thee, and inclined His ear to the voice of thy supplication? Then praise Him as long as thou livest. Let the ripe fruit drop upon the fertile soil from which it drew its life. Deny not a song to Him who hath answered thy prayer and given thee the desire of thy heart. To be silent over God's mercies is to incur the guilt of ingratitude; it is to act as basely as the nine lepers, who after they had been cured of their leprosy, returned not to give thanks unto the healing Lord. To forget to praise God is to refuse to benefit ourselves; for praise, like prayer, is one great means of promoting the growth of the spiritual life. It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hope, to increase our faith. It is a healthful and invigorating exercise which quickens the pulse of the believer, and nerves him for fresh enterprises in his Master's service" (CH Spurgeon).

The word "wonders" is used especially of the great redemptive miracles (ie, Psa 106:7,22) but also of their less lofty counterparts in daily experience (Psa 71:17), and of the hidden wonders of Scripture (Psa 119:18). It is a word reserved for God, and never used of man's feeble and temporary efforts.

Reading 3 - Mat 6:9-13

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen" (Mat 6:9-13).

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