Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Ch 15:2
"Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is
with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you" (2Ch
"The Scriptures abound with similar declarations. They make
the course of every earnest man clear. Seek the Lord in the reading of His word,
in prayer to Him, and in the doing of those things He has commanded; and He will
guide your way in the darkness without any apparent interference, and cause all
things (yea even evil circumstances) to work together for your good, namely,
your preparedness for an entrance into His glorious kingdom. But if ye decline
from His ways and seek your own pleasure, He will leave you to your own --
perhaps successful -- devices, which will at last work out your own
self-destruction" (Robert Roberts, "Ways of Providence" 43,44).
Reading 2 - Eze 47:1,8
"The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I
saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east...
He said to me, 'This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into
the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the Sea, the
water there becomes fresh' " (Eze 47:1,8).
Or, more expressively, as the KJV: "The waters shall be
HEALED!". Think of those waters of the Dead Sea, dreary and dreadful! This was
the "Chamber of Horrors" in the land of Israel. Travelers describe it as a place
of utter desolation. Lying in a deep hollow, some thirteen hundred feet below
any other sea, the Dead Sea was sunk deep into the earth, like the mouth of the
abyss. Masses of tar float upon its surface, and line its shores. Poisonous
gases abound, and on its banks are hot sulfur springs. Swimming, or rather
floating, in its thick brine is unpleasant; the skin tingles with its acid salts
long afterwards. It is not desirable to linger upon the brink of it, neither is
there anything to tempt one to do so. Very scanty is the vegetation, few are the
birds, and rare the living things. It is the place of destruction. Nothing may
live there, at least for long.
The doomed lake has dark mysteries buried in its heart -- down
deep in its depths lie the destroyed cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah,
whose sins provoked the wrath of God. In this respect the Dead Sea is a fit
picture of our fallen humanity, a truthful symbol of the whole world, which lies
in wickedness. It may be said that the world is a vast "Dead Sea", and its
cities modern "Sodoms".
God is at work creating new heavens and a new earth, and in
the process forms of beauty are developed -- little "outposts" of the Kingdom of
God which is coming -- but to this day the old decadent cities of our world
remain easily-recognizable matches for the depraved and debauched cities of the
plain, where Lot first pitched his tent, and then finally took up residence.
And the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked. Can
it ever be purified? Can its "waters" be healed? Yes, God says, they WILL be
healed! Let us believe His promise, and take courage. Let us believe that, one
day, the worst hell-holes of sin will yet be made holy. Even when it seems to be
the least likely expectation, even when we are shocked at the sin which
surrounds us, we are still to believe that Yahweh shall reign for ever and ever,
and the serpent and sin shall be crushed under our Redeemer's heel. "The waters
SHALL be healed": all the brine and tar of the Dead Sea will not be enough to
forestall the hand of the Almighty. The worst that Calcutta, or London, or New
York can offer will yet be made sweet as the pure water of Siloam. The
atrocities of war and oppression will cease, and the reign of evil will end; for
the Lord has promised it, and it will be done. The kingdoms of this world must
become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and every heart and every
mind will be truly and wholly his. "The waters shall be healed." Thank
Reading 3 - John 16:22,23
"Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you
will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer
ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask
in my name" (John 16:22,23).
Here is a profound reassurance: not that all our perplexing
questions will be answered, but that -- when that day comes that we see the
risen Jesus -- many questions will not even need to be asked! Why? Because our
sins will be totally forgiven!
And NOT that all our requests -- here and now, or hereafter --
will inevitably be answered in the affirmative, BUT that, when Christ returns
and gathers us to himself, there will be such joy that there will be no need,
and no thought, of anything beyond, or of any disappointment. In that day we
will have our Savior, and we will need nothing else!