Today’s Reading: Psalm 94; 2 Kings 3; Zechariah 7; John 1:1-18
“Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder why it should be thus all the day long, While there are others living about us, Never molested tho in the wrong.” These are the words that we often sing from W.B. Stevens’ song Farther Along. In our first reading, the God of vengeance is entreated, “repay to the proud what they deserve!” When I am wrongfully accused or suffer for doing what is right, I need to remind myself that the Lord disciplines me and teaches me out of His law because He loves me. He will not abandon nor forsake me. When the cares of my heart are many, His consolations cheer my soul.
Today’s second reading describes the combining of forces between the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom to put down a continuing revolt of Moab that began after the death of Ahab (2 Kings 1:1). The revolt was against a “tribute” imposed in the days of king David (see 2 Samuel 8:2). The story describes how Elisha is consulted about the military campaign. As I read the history of Judah and Israel, it impresses me how often the kings inquire, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” Even the kings labeled as evil, when the chips are down, many times want to know what God thinks. Help me Lord to be concerned about what you think, and to temper my plans by it (James 4:13-15).
In the third reading, Zechariah receives an inquiry to which the Lord tells him to respond with the question, “Was it for me that you fasted?” Ritual is empty if it is not accompanied by heart-felt obedience. I have rituals that are part of my life that are to have meaning when I engage them. When I pray, I dig deep into my heart for truly meaningful words to express to God my love, my sorrow for my sin, and my concern for others. When I observe communion of the Lord’s last supper, I dig deep to keep the significance of that suffering and the greatness of that price paid for my sins. When I read the words of scripture, I dig deep to reflect upon it’s application to my day-to-day life.
Today’s fourth reading switches to the book of John and tells John’s account of Jesus beginning with God in the creation and His coming to earth. One of the curious things about the life of Jesus that is mentioned here is that, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” The ESV study bible comments, “The Jewish rejection of the Messiah, despite convincing proofs of his messianic identity (esp. the ‘signs’), is one of the major emphases of the Gospel (see esp. John 12:37-40).” Will I receive Him to be the ruler of every thought and impulse in my life?
Thanks for reading with me. Have a blessed day, dear friend! — Randy Sexton