February 11: Exo 21 | Psa 74 | Mark 7

Reading 1 - Exo 21:5,6

"But if the servant declares, 'I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,' then his master must take him before the judges [or 'before God']. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life" (Exo 21:5,6).

Christ is the servant of his master -- that is, Yahweh -- and because he is without sin, might have "gone free" from the penalty of sin, which is death (Rom 6:23). But because he loves his Master -- and because he loves his "family" (you and me!) -- he willingly and lovingly submits to the Father's service for his whole life, including the anguished death upon the cross. And all so that you and I can belong to him, and he to us, forever.

Figuratively, then, Christ is the slave whose ear has been pierced, and whose life has been devoted, wholeheartedly and without reservation, to his Master (Psa 40:6; Heb 10:7-9).

Reading 2 - Psa 74:16

"The day is yours, and yours also the night" (Psa 74:16).

"The night of affliction is as much under the arrangement and control of the Lord of Love as the bright summer days when all is bliss... His love wraps the night about itself as a mantle, but to the eye of faith the sable robe is scarce a disguise. From the first watch of the night even unto the break of day the eternal Watcher observes His saints, and overrules the shades and dews of midnight for His people's highest good. We believe in no rival deities of good and evil contending for the mastery, but we hear the voice of Jehovah saying, 'I create light and I create darkness; I, the Lord, do all these things.' [Isa 45:7]

"Gloomy seasons of religious indifference and social sin are not exempted from the divine purpose. When the altars of truth are defiled, and the ways of God forsaken, the Lord's servants weep with bitter sorrow, but they may not despair, for the darkest eras are governed by the Lord, and shall come to their end at His bidding. What may seem defeat to us may be victory to Him" (CHS).

Reading 3 - Mark 7:21,22

"For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly" (Mar 7:21,22).

"Envy" is, in the KJV, translated "an evil eye".

"When the Householder in the parable rebukes the labourers who grudge the latecomers equal pay, he says, 'Is thine eye evil, because I am good?' [Mat 20:15] Are they greedy and envious because he is generous? The evil eye results from an attachment to earthly treasure which corrupts the spirit and blinds the heart. The 'good' or 'single' eye, on the other hand, is that of the liberal man whose vision is unclouded by greed and his mind not divided by envy" (LG Sargent, "Teachings of the Master" 210).


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