The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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August 28

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

Reading 1 - 2Ki 1

"1Ki and 2Ki were originally one book divided into two by the LXX (BC 294-289). It appears Isaiah and Jeremiah were the authors, using the public records of the kings. It could be that Isaiah wrote to the time of Hezekiah (2Ch 32:32). Jewish tradition says that Jeremiah was the author. The purpose of the book is to show the reason for the Davidic Kingdom being disrupted and to reveal why Yahweh sent Israel into captivity (Eze 21:24-32). It describes the events in the Northern Kingdom of Israel from the ministry of Elisha to the death of Jehu, Israel's 10th king (2Ki 1-10). It provides alternating annals of both kingdoms to the captivity of Israel. Jonah, Amos and Hosea prophesied at this time in the north (2Ki 11-17). The record continues to the end of the Kingdom. The prophets Obadiah, Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Jeremiah prophesied at this time (2Ki 18-25). Judah outdistanced Israel for over a century. The Northern Kingdom was compared to the shameful example of Jeroboam. The Southern Kingdom was likened to the glory of David. The one example cast the shadows of death; the other revealed the light of life. Nineteen kings reigned over the north for a period of 250 years, whilst 20 kings reigned in the south from the time of the Disruption for 390 years. The 19 kings of the north came from 7 different dynasties in contrast to the one dynasty in the South. The record of the kings graphically shows the faithfulness of Yahweh to the Davidic Covenant in the preservation of a line (cp 2Ki 8:19)" (GE Mansfield).

Reading 2 - Jer 50; 51

Jer 50; 51 is the most detailed prophecy of the fall of Babylon. And again, this passage was certainly fulfilled in 539 BC. But a number of verses suggest a future fulfillment: " 'In those days, at that time,' declares the Lord, 'the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God. They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten' " (Jer 50:4,5). When in the past has Israel bound itself in a perpetual covenant to the Lord at Jerusalem, a covenant that cannot and will not be broken? Never. So these verses have yet to be fulfilled.

" 'But I will bring Israel back to their own pasture and he will graze on Carmel and Bashan; his appetite will be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead. In those days, at that time,' declares the Lord, 'search will be made for Israel's guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare' " (Jer 50:19,20).

Israel will experience true forgiveness only when they accept Jesus as their Messiah. That event is yet future.

Reading 3 - 1Co 10:32

"Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God" (1Co 10:32).

"Regardless of how 'lawful' a thing may be for us, if it is not a necessity but just a matter of our pleasure and desire, and if we know that it will distress our brethren and sisters, and weaken the ecclesia, and perhaps even divide it; and if we ignore the tears and pleadings of those who implore us to put the love of God and the peace and welfare of the ecclesia ahead of our own selfishness -- and if we still go ahead with our willful course, then we have committed a serious sin before God. We have brazenly declared that our own present pleasure and satisfaction is more important to us than the love of God or the ecclesia's wellbeing. We have declared that we neither have nor understand the beautiful, self-sacrificing spirit of Christ, and that we are, therefore, none of his. We may argue all too truly that few indeed have this. That's beside the point. The point is: do WE have it? Can we face Christ without it?" (GVG).

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