Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Ch 36
"This last chapter [2Ch 36] brings to a conclusion the Davidic
monarchy, in the dismal environment of ecclesial failure. This is encapsulated
in the lives of the kings of Judah following righteous king Josiah. He was the
last of the courageous monarchs who endeavoured to bring the nation back from
apostasy. Josiah's rule was righteous, but being based on obedience to law, did
not reach the 'hearts and reins' of the people. Thus, the opening verse of 2Ch
36 epitomises the attitude of the people. 'Then the people of the land took
Jehoahaz' (v 1). They acted for their own interests and found Jehoahaz was to
commence the final plunge downwards. He was the king of retribution (vv 1-4). He
was followed by Jehoiakim, the irreligious egotist (vv 5-8). Jehoiachin was the
despised broken idol (vv 9,10). Zedekiah became the vacillating king (vv 11-13).
Then the record shows the spiritual decadence of the nation (vv 14-16), the
destruction of Jerusalem (vv 17-21). The final section of the chapter
foreshadows a change by divine decree -- the king of the east who provided for
the rebuilding of Jerusalem (vv 22,23). Cyrus stands as a type of Christ, who
shall complete the typical work of the past, when he makes Jerusalem the throne
of Yahweh, and brings to this earth a recognition of the righteous holiness of
Yahweh" (GE Mansfield).
Reading 2 - Hos 4:8
"They [the priests] feed on the sins of my people and relish
their wickedness" (Hos 4:8).
Israel's priests were feeding on the "sin offerings" that the
people brought to their pagan shrines. Yet, since these offerings were to idols,
it was as though the priests really fed on the people's sins. The priests
desired these offerings, which meant they desired the people to practice
idolatry so they would bring more sacrifices.
Or, alternatively, the priests were feeding on the legitimate
"sin offerings" which were brought to Yahweh, and so they were happy to
encourage the people in their various sins, knowing that this would result in
more sin offerings being brought to Yahweh, and thus more bounty being brought
to them, the priests!
With this may be compared the practices of the Roman Catholic
"priesthood", which more or less encourages sin -- knowing that priestly
"indulgences" and "forgiveness" and "blessings" for a sinful laity will bring
more and more money into the Church's coffers!
Reading 3 - Acts 20:28
"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the
Holy Spirit has made you overseers" (Acts 20:28).
"The elders of Ephesus were exhorted by Paul to feed the
ecclesia of God, the word feed in this text being the verb, poimaino, of which
the word pastor (poimen) in Eph 4:11,12 is the noun. Many elders would therefore
be teachers... Paul singled out for special honor those elders who labored in
the word and doctrine. It is well today not to overlook the pastoral aspect of
Christian teaching. The ideal is not so much to have pupils learning a set of
doctrines, which may be more correct than nutritious, but to have them first
realize their starving condition, then lead them to the Chief Pastor who said:
'I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that
believeth on me shall never thirst.' The true pastor does not lead his flock to
rich grass on cliff edges, nor does he always keep them in one small field" (JB
Norris, "First Century Ecclesia" 145).