The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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January 27

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

Reading 1 - Gen 44; 45

"The record of Joseph provides wonderful portrayals of the work of our Master. In Gen 44 and 45 he adopts further methods for the reconciliation of his brethren: in this he is a type of the ultimate redemption of natural Israel, at the return of the Lord.

"The drama of the situation is the way in which Joseph acts with superb understanding and careful examination. He sought to discover whether Benjamin would be delivered because of the envy of the brethren, as he himself had been -- or had they redeemed their consciences? Joseph's test determines the answer! The brethren failed to recognize their brother in the imperious ruler of Egypt (as do Jewry of the Lord Jesus), dressed in his resplendent robes of authority (as the Lord Jesus is in immortality). Ultimately Joseph manifested himself plainly to his family -- as the Lord Jesus will reveal the signs in his hands (Zec 13:6). When he declared: 'Come near to me' (Gen 45:4), he anticipates the message of Christ (Mat 11:28; Eph 2:13) which will be offered to Israel in the future" (GEM).

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Mat 11:28).

Reading 2 - Psa 49:20

"A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish" (Psa 49:20).

Ignorance is an obvious characteristic of beasts (Psa 73:22), as is sensuality (Tit 1:12; 2Pe 2:12). Those believers who turned away from Christ and back to the Law of Moses are called "dogs" by Paul (Phi 3:2)!

And like the beasts they perish! This verse recalls Nebuchadnezzar, and his behavior and his judgment from God -- to be made like the beasts of the field for seven years (Dan 4). This verse and the Nebuchadnezzar incident provide the scriptural rationale for various and sundry of the kingdoms of men being signified by beasts, as in Daniel and Revelation and elsewhere.

The leaders of the nations may be ever so wise, in the wisdom of the world, in political expertise, and economics, and other disciplines besides -- but if they do not understand the gospel of the kingdom of God... then they are -- in divine terms -- beasts! They may walk upright; they may wear expensive business suits; they may be driven about in fine limousines and fly around the world in luxurious jets; they may have monumental wealth and state-of-the-art arsenals at their disposal... but for all that, they are beasts nonetheless.

And when and if they defy the plans of Almighty God, they will perish like the beasts. Sobering thoughts.

Reading 3 - Rom 1:20

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Rom 1:20).

"A simple consideration of the activities in which the power of the universe is engaged provides satisfactory witness of the working of God; for we are led to contemplate the wide range of ordered operations, each directed to its own end, and duly controlled within that end. We observe, in spite of human ignorance in so many details, how operations coordinate, and represent one magnificent harmony of purpose for beneficient ends. Every example of design would be pertinent. We shall content ourselves with citing just one obvious case which all can observe and admire. We refer to a common flowering plant. It usually begins from a seed planted in the ground. This sends out roots growing downwards and a shoot growing upwards into the air. From the shoot come leaves and flowers, and these flowers comprise a fascinating combination of contrivances for the production of fertile seeds, with which not only the earth with its supply of nourishment through the roots is associated, but also the sun and rain and air and insects play their part in so marvellous and admirable a manner as to compel an acknowledgment of the working of God. Wisdom must recognise in these ordained processes which produce and preserve each species the compelling evidence of eternal power infallibly guided by God Himself. Eternal power and Godhead are thus seen from things that are made" (Will Watkins, "The Christadelphian" 113: 424,425).

"Tell a man that man's most intricate computer 'just happened' by a heap of nuts and bolts falling into a pile yesterday, and he'll say you are mad; and he will be right. Tell a man that a worm's brain (which is infinitely more intricate and wonderful than man's most advanced computer) 'just happened' by a few bits of nothing falling together one hundred billion years or so ago, and he'll say you are an educated modern scientist; and he will be right again. Tell him that, if he can believe that, he is 'safely' over the hump out of rationality and reality into evolutionary fantasy and superstition... 'His eternal power and divinity are clearly seen from the Creation of the world, by the things that are made, so that they are WITHOUT EXCUSE.' That's God's viewpoint, and it's preeminently reasonable" (GVG).

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