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July 20: 2Sa 4, 5 | Jeremiah 10 | Matthew 21

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

Reading 1 - 2Sa 4:9

"The LORD lives, who has delivered me out of all trouble" (2Sa 4:9).

God had always delivered David; he did not need the help of wicked men (like Recab and Baanah,

who assassinated Ishbosheth, thinking it would please David).

"The more things collapse around us, and in our affairs, the more important closeness to God is, and the more important it is realized to be, if we are of the right mind. This is the blessing of adversity. This is why Paul 'rejoiced in sufferings' [Rom 5:3] and James 'counted it all joy when he fell into divers temptations' [Jam 1:2]" (GV Growcott).

Reading 2 - Jer 10

Jer 10 portrays the great controversy: Idols versus Yahweh.

Photo 1 : Snowstorm, Mont Cenis, 1820, By: J M W Turner 
Mont-Cenis, Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis, France
Published on December 23, 2019

"The 'portion' of Jacob (Jer 10:12,13,16) is the inheritance of the fathers. The word 'cheleq' signifies 'to apportion; separate' and comes from a root signifying 'to be smooth', which evidently relates to the stones of judgment. Yahweh has judged Jacob faithful, elevated his name to Israel, and has determined his future. The seed of Jacob rest in the divine protection, for Yahweh judges against the enemies of Israel for the fathers' sakes. The evidence of this is seen in 'the earth by His power' (v 12).


Photo 2 : Banknote face
Published on July 13, 2017

When counterfeit money is made and circulated, sometimes it is so well done that it is difficult for the average person to tell the difference between the real thing and the fraud. But if you give that note or coin to a banker, or to someone who handles money all day, they will instantly be able to tell the difference . The reason they can tell so quickly is because they are so familiar with the real thing that they notice any deviations at once.

Idols are frauds too. They impersonate, very imperfectly, the image of the Living God. Yet some are so well packaged that they trap us. A business enterprise, for instance, can assure you that once you are set up and making lots of money, you will have much more time for God - but I have never seen it succeed as a reality. You might have a TV, video or DVD player so you can watch Christian films - but it also gets used as an idol.

To avoid the pitfalls we must get so familiar with God by constant prayer and reading his word, that we can tell the frauds at a glance and leave them well alone.

- Bro Robert Prins

Reading 3 - Mat 21:13

"IT IS WRITTEN," HE SAID TO THEM, "MY HOUSE WILL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER": Jesus cites Isaiah, where the context reads: "And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant -- these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations" (Isa 56:6,7).

Here is a symbolic indication that the court of the Gentiles was henceforth to be holy also (Gal 3:28). This scene took place in the court of the Gentiles. By using this area for moneychangers, the leaders had forgotten their delegated role of witnessing to the Gentiles (Zec 9:8).

God's temple is not just a house where prayer is offered by people of all nations -- which is true enough -- but also a "house" (a spiritual house) built up by and consisting of prayers offered by many individuals, of many nations. With our prayers, wherever we might be physically, we "build" the "house" in which God dwells.

"BUT YOU ARE MAKING IT A 'DEN OF THIEVES' ": Jesus is blending a quotation from Jeremiah (Jer 7:11) in with the Isaiah quotation. The two citations take us from the pinnacle -- what God's house at its best might be -- to the very lowest depth -- what God's house at its worst had become! And so God's house -- filled with a sort of spiritual leprosy -- was now in dire need of cleansing by God's true priest.


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