February 25: Exodus 38 | Psalms 100-101 | 1 Corinthians 8-9

Reading 1 - Exo 38:8

"They made the bronze basin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting" (Exo 38:8).

"After the altar of burnt offering, there is a laver or large vessel, filled with water, at which the priests have to wash (or lave) before entering into the tabernacle to perform its services. As the Lord Jesus and the saints are the antitypical Aaron and his sons, the significance bears on them; and bearing on them, bears also on all who will finally be reconciled to God... After sacrifice, washing -- purification, making clean. This is no accidental order of events. In the popular conception of things, sacrifice would be enough, for the whole burden of their preaching is that the blood of Christ is the only essential for a sinner's salvation...

"This is not an enlightened statement of the case. The blood is only an element in the process of reconciliation: after reconciliation must come reformation, if the reconciliation is to continue in force. The sinner must 'walk worthy of the vocation wherewith he is called' (Eph 4:1), and, if he do not, he will be rejected: so Paul says (Heb 6:8), and in preaching thus, he only re-echoes the plain teaching of Christ, who says, 'Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away' (Joh 15:2). 'If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love' (Joh 15:10). The unprofitable servant is to be cast out (Mat 25:30). We must walk as children of light (Eph 5:8) otherwise 'we shall die' (Rom 8:13)...

"Life after introduction to Christ is, therefore, a probation. This is the lesson of the laver. It is not enough to have God's righteousness declared in sacrifice, and endorsed in our baptism into the death of Christ: we must wash in the laver. We must conform to the exhortation, 'Wash you, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings' (Isa 1:16). Literally this is done by subjecting the mind to the influence of the word of God. The word of God is always spoken of as the cleansing power (Joh 15:3; Psa 119:9; Eph 5:26), and, in actual experience, it is found to be so. Kept clean by the word, we shall be qualified for admission into the holiest, in the change to the incorruptible" (RR, "Law of Moses" 151,152).

Reading 2 - Psa 100:2

"Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs" (Psa 100:2).

"Delight in divine service is a token of acceptance. Those who serve God with a sad countenance, because they do what is unpleasant to them, are not serving Him at all; they bring the form of homage, but the life is absent. Our God requires no slaves to grace His throne; He is the Lord of the empire of love, and would have His servants dressed in the livery of joy. The angels of God serve Him with songs, not with groans; a murmur or a sigh would be a mutiny in their ranks. That obedience which is not voluntary is disobedience, for the Lord looketh at the heart, and if He seeth that we serve Him from force, and not because we love Him, He will reject our offering. Service coupled with cheerfulness is heart-service, and therefore true. Take away joyful willingness from the Christian, and you have removed the test of his sincerity. Cheerfulness is the support of our strength; in the joy of the Lord are we strong. It acts as the remover of difficulties. It is to our service what oil is to the wheels of a railway carriage. Without oil the axle soon grows hot, and accidents occur; and if there be not a holy cheerfulness to oil our wheels, our spirits will be clogged with weariness. The man who is cheerful in his service of God, proves that obedience is his element" (CHS).

"Have one simple aim in life: serve God. This is the key to joy, here and hereafter. This alone has permanence. Natural life is composed of changing conditions and ended dreams -- until at last all collapses in death, and the utter emptiness of it all is made pitifully manifest. It looks so interesting and attractive at first: lovely babies, carefree laughing children, active intensely-living young people, successful adults. But what is the point in it all? All ends at last in sickness, senility, death. What a mockery is anything that does not have permanence! Only one thing has permanence. Only one thing will be left when all the glitter of natural life is gone. Only one thing gets better and stronger and more valuable as life ebbs and the inevitable end comes to all. Serve God! Make that the spring of every action. Gradually, logically, methodically eliminate everything else from the spectrum of your supposed 'interest' and 'enjoyment', for this alone is real and lasting. Everything else in the world will fail you -- yea, cruelly mock you -- at the end" (GVG).

Reading 3 - 1Corinthians 8:1

"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (1Co 8:1).

"[Paul] was not condemning knowledge, but simply stating a truth. Knowledge of the right kind is excellent, but even that may tend to inflate the individual who possesses it. Men may be puffed up even by their knowledge of the Scriptures, especially if their reading has been ill-balanced. Much charity is needed to guard against this evil and to make knowledge lead to edification. There are people who will say that it is only the dangerous 'little knowledge' that puffs men up, while those who have studied deeply are truly humble and never boast. This thought has been stated often, but it is not true. Indeed it would be difficult to define the words of such a saying. All the knowledge of mankind is only little. The most ignorant and the most cultured are only separated by a few degrees. It is quite true that intelligent people perceive the ugliness and folly of blatant boasting and so if they boast they do it more skillfully. Or it is possible for a man to feel himself so superior to the common run of humanity that he finds no pleasure in the admiration of the multitude. His detachment is a form of pride, and he may fall into the worst of errors by being puffed up against God" (Islip Collyer, "Principles and Proverbs" 128-129).


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