Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Deu 24:19
"When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a
sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the
widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands"
"What a delightful peek at the right way of life is prescribed
by God's beautiful law. Here are no 'thrifty' scrapings to the last straw, but
an open-handed liberality that leaves handfuls for the poor. No one could starve
under such a system: no one sink to the despairing depths we see yawning around
us in modern times. Of course it cannot be -- now. But it ought to be, and it
will be, when we have God's Kingdom back among us, to 'judge for the poor and
the needy, and break in pieces the oppressors.' We wait God's hand in the
matter; and He says, 'They shall not be ashamed that wait for me' " (Robert
"Boaz ordered handfuls of corn to be left on purpose for Ruth
[Rth 2:16], and God blessed him. All that is left is not lost" (Matthew
Reading 2 - Song 4:7
"All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you"
This is cited by Paul as the description of the Bride of
Christ: "Not having spot or wrinkle" (Eph 5:27). Now all fair, she has -- like
Esther -- completed her time of purification (Est 2:12). It is the work of
Christ the husband to cleanse (Eph 5:26) the "bride" by giving himself for her
(Eph 5:25; Tit 2:13,14). Thus the Bride is made "like him" (1Jo 3:2) -- this is
the greatest "wedding present"!
"Are we part of the Bride? Is it our utmost and constant
effort to be WORTHY to be so, to the exclusion of everything else? If not, why
not? Where is wisdom? Where is plain ordinary common sense? There IS a Bride,
and she IS ever spotless. She was made white and pure in the blood of the Lamb,
and she is kept spotless by dedicated, loving obedience; and striving, and
repentance, and prayer. The wise will give their whole lives and energies to
becoming and being part of this glorious and joyous community. That is what
manifests that they are the wise. All who do not are the foolish. 'He
sanctifieth and cleanseth it by the washing of water by the Word, that he might
present it to himself a glorious Ecclesia, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any
such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph 5:26,27). 'Keep
yourselves in the love of God... Him that is able to keep you from falling, and
to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy'
(Jud 1:21-24)" (GVG).
"As if the thought occurred to the Bridegroom that the carping
world would insinuate that he had only mentioned her comely parts, and had
purposely omitted those features which were deformed or defiled, he sums up all
by declaring her universally and entirely fair, and utterly devoid of stain. A
spot may soon be removed, and is the very least thing that can disfigure beauty,
but even from this little blemish the believer is delivered in his Lord's sight.
If he had said there is no hideous scar, no horrible deformity, no deadly ulcer,
we might even then have marvelled; but when he testifies that she is free from
the slightest spot, all these other forms of defilement are included, and the
depth of wonder is increased. If he had but promised to remove all spots
by-and-by, we should have had eternal reason for joy; but when he speaks of it
as already done, who can restrain the most intense emotions of satisfaction and
delight?" (CH Spurgeon).
Reading 3 - Acts 18:2,3
"Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they
were, he stayed and worked with them" (Acts 18:2,3).
So many of God's faithful servants have been shepherds: Abel,
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David, to name but a few. In NT times, the
vocation of fisherman was prominent among the Lord's followers. Both these
secular occupations well fitted such men for the spiritual work they would do --
as "shepherds" of the flock of God, and "fishers of men". The connections in
Scripture between the literal and the typical in these cases are plentiful
indeed, and rich in spiritual instruction.
Taking our lead from such obvious patterns, what then should
we make of the livelihoods of God's two most prominent servants: Jesus the
carpenter (Mat 13:55; Mar 6:3) and Paul the tentmaker (Act 18:3)?
The thread starts in Exodus, where the LORD God commanded
Moses to build Him a tabernacle, "according to the pattern showed you in the
mount" (Exo 25:40; Heb 8:5). For this work, the LORD called and inspired
Bezaleel and his assistant Aholiab to be "cunning" workmen in metal and timber
"Bezaleel" signifies "in the shadow (under the protection) of
El". He was of the tribe of Judah; the son of Uri ("light"; the plural is
"Urim"); the grandson of Hur ("whiteness", "splendor"). He was definitely the
"artisan-in-charge": Aholiab was "given with him" (Exo 31:6; cp Exo 38:23), "to
help him" (NIV).
Apparently Bezaleel was especially skilled in metal and stone
and wood, whereas his assistant Aholiab (the name itself signifies "the tent of
his father") was more adept in the working of fabrics and skins. The distinction
is borne out by a careful reading of Exo 35:30-35; 38:23. Together, they carried
forward the word of building the tabernacle.
A bit more about Bezaleel: Clearly, he stands in the narrative
as a type of Christ:
He was a "carpenter". This is a Hebrew word, according to most authorities,
which signifies an artisan in metal and stone as well as wood (as does its Greek
equivalent, applied to Joseph and Jesus).
His name ("in the shadow of El")
calls to mind Psa 57:1; 63:7; and especially Psa 91:1. Likewise, Jesus was and
is "under the protection of El", as Isa 49:1,2 and Joh 1:18 imply: "In the
shadow of His hand hath He hid me..." "The only begotten Son, who is in the
bosom of the Father..."
He was of Judah!
He was the son of Uri ("light")
and Hur ("splendor"). Likewise, Jesus was the son of "Light" (1Jo 1:5), and
himself "the Light of the world" (Joh 9:5), being the "brightness" of his
Father's glory (Heb 1:3)!
The Mosaic tabernacle, with all that pertained to it, was a
"figure" (Greek "parable") of the "greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made
with hands" (Heb 9:9,11). This spiritual "tabernacle", or temple, is of course
the ecclesia, built upon Jesus Christ the "foundation" (Eph 2:20-22; 1Co 3:16;
1Pe 2:5-7) and chief corner-stone (Psa 118:22,23). As Bezaleel labored to build
the literal tabernacle, so Jesus labored to build the spiritual. As Aholiab
assisted the "master builder", so Paul assisted Christ (cp 1Co 3:9-15; 2Co
The secular occupations of Jesus and Paul beautifully fill out
this picture: Jesus, like Bezaleel, the "artisan" in wood and stone and metal,
built the framework and foundation of the spiritual tabernacle -- the "center
pole" of his work being the cross of wood erected at Golgotha. He also "worked"
in metal -- the spikes with which he was nailed to the cross.
Afterward, Paul -- the New Testament "Aholiab" -- was chiefly
responsible for the "stitching together" of the skins and fabrics (the
individual ecclesias?) into whole coverings, to overlay the wooden framework.
Building up and binding together individuals into ecclesias, and ecclesias into
the One Body of Christ.
The "carpenter" and the "tentmaker" working together,
according to the pattern of the more perfect tabernacle!