April 12: Numbers 31 | Proverbs 22 | John 4
Reading 1 - Num 31
"Balaam predicted that a scepter will arise to destroy 'all the sons of tumult' (Num 24:17). As a token of this, Moses is now ordered to wage war against the Midianite men of strife. He does so thus foreshadowing the coming day of vengeance (Isa 26:9; 61:2; 63:4; Rev 11:18). This fulfills the instructions earlier given him to 'vex the Midianites and smite them; for they vex you with their wiles' and have 'beguiled you' (Num 25:17,18). The Midianites, having enticed the Israelites to unfaithfulness, now must be punished. The key verse of this chapter is v 3, with the word 'avenge'. It is significant that in the battle, not an Israelite is lost" (HP Mansfield, "Christadelphian Expositor").
Reading 2 - Pro 22:6
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (Pro 22:6).
"A statement of general tendencies and not of an inexorable law. Human beings are neither machines nor plants. They have a power of choice; they can respond to good influences or they can be rebellious. Some very good men have had a bad early training and some very bad men were given every opportunity in the instruction of their early days. One of the surprising discoveries made by each successive generation is that children differ from the very cradle" (Islip Collyer, "Principles and Proverbs").
Reading 3 - John 4
Jesus and the Samaritan woman (John 4): "At the beginning of the conversation he did not make himself known to her... but first she caught sight of a thirsty man [v 7], then a Jew [v 9], then a rabbi [vv 13,14], afterwards a prophet [vv 17-19], last of all the Messiah [vv 25,26]. She tried to get the better of the thirsty man, she showed her dislike of the Jew, she heckled the rabbi, she was swept off her feet by the prophet, and finally she adored the Messiah" (Tatian).