Reading 1 - 1Sa 25
Commenting on the example of Abigail -- the faithful wife of the wicked Nabal -- Jane Roberts writes:
"It sometimes happens that the husband is overbearing, and forgets the conditions which engender a loving and ready service on the part of his wife. He neglects the working out of his pattern, and takes to admonishing his wife about some flaw in her attitude, instead of acting the part that would remove the flaw. Paul nowhere enjoins upon the husband to assert his headship over his wife; but exhorts him to meet his wife's loving and spontaneous subjection by following the example of Christ, with the great love with which he loved the ecclesia. However, to follow this, would lead me out of my province. I must leave him to think it up for himself, hoping he may, as the result, approve the more excellent way. I direct my thoughts and counsel to the sister-wife who finds herself mated with such a one. Her task will be a difficult one, but let her not quail before it. Let her by all means endeavour to fulfil in a becoming manner the duties and responsibilities of her position. Let the dignity and patience of her meek and quiet spirit, be the means of heaping coals of fire upon the head of her faulty companion, if such she have. Let her remember that a 'soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger' [Pro 15:1]. If she has a Nabal to deal with, she can at least, like Abigail of old, show herself to be a woman of good understanding; and her wisdom may, like her, avert much evil that would otherwise come upon her household."
Reading 2 - Jer 2
"The voice of the prophet Jeremiah commences a forty year ministry leading to the dissolution of the Kingdom of Judah. He gives a review of Israel's sins, showing that Yahweh still loves His people, but expects that the filial love be reflected to Him. Through the prophet, Yahweh expostulates on their ungrateful return for past goodness, and shows that their wickedness has resulted in calamity. The voice concludes with an appeal to them to return.
"This chapter may be outlined:
Israel's early promise: vv 1-4.
Yahweh kept His contract despite provocation: vv 5-8.
The enormity of Israel's conduct once more stressed: vv 9-13.
Israel suffers because it turned from Yahweh: vv 14-19.
The true character of the nation despite Josiah's reformation: vv 20-30.
Israel will suffer: vv 31-35.
Israel in heart turned to Egypt: vv 36,37.
"It must have been a sad experience for the young prophet, brought to witness for the righteousness of his God, and seeing about him the failure of the ecclesia. The nation rejoiced in its high and holy privilege, and boasted in its attendance at the temple in Jerusalem, but did little to manifest divine qualities in daily life. They were barren, thankless soil, returning nothing for Yahweh's glory. Instead they looked to their southern neighbour [Egypt] for support and help, putting confidence in the power of the flesh. Yet, in spite of the darkness of their spiritual condition, the voice of Jeremiah brought a measure of encouragement to the faithful remnant that were looking for a redeemer. So he continues to witness at the end of the age -- as must those of the Brotherhood today as we wait the advent of the Great Judge" (GE Mansfield).
Reading 3 - Mat 13:12
"Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him" (Mat 13:12).
The parable -- that strange mixture of natural and spiritual, simple and complex -- was a test to the hearers. How would they react? Would they joyfully come to the light, or would they turn away for fear of what that light would reveal? Like the pillar of cloud and fire (Exo 14:20), the same parable may be darkness to the "Egyptian" but light to the "Israelite". Like the shell or husk, the parable may preserve the precious kernel of truth FOR the earnest seeker, and protect it FROM the lazy and proud and careless!
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