Updated: Nov 4, 2021
Reading 1 - 2Ch 36
"This last chapter [2Ch 36] brings to a conclusion the Davidic monarchy, in the dismal environment of ecclesial failure. This is encapsulated in the lives of the kings of Judah following righteous king Josiah. He was the last of the courageous monarchs who endeavoured to bring the nation back from apostasy. Josiah's rule was righteous, but being based on obedience to law, did not reach the 'hearts and reins' of the people. Thus, the opening verse of 2Ch 36 epitomises the attitude of the people. 'Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz' (v 1). They acted for their own interests and found Jehoahaz was to commence the final plunge downwards. He was the king of retribution (vv 1-4). He was followed by Jehoiakim, the irreligious egotist (vv 5-8). Jehoiachin was the despised broken idol (vv 9,10). Zedekiah became the vacillating king (vv 11-13). Then the record shows the spiritual decadence of the nation (vv 14-16), the destruction of Jerusalem (vv 17-21). The final section of the chapter foreshadows a change by divine decree -- the king of the east who provided for the rebuilding of Jerusalem (vv 22,23). Cyrus stands as a type of Christ, who shall complete the typical work of the past, when he makes Jerusalem the throne of Yahweh, and brings to this earth a recognition of the righteous holiness of Yahweh" (GE Mansfield).
Reading 2 - Hos 4:8
"They [the priests] feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness" (Hos 4:8).
Israel's priests were feeding on the "sin offerings" that the people brought to their pagan shrines. Yet, since these offerings were to idols, it was as though the priests really fed on the people's sins. The priests desired these offerings, which meant they desired the people to practice idolatry so they would bring more sacrifices.
Or, alternatively, the priests were feeding on the legitimate "sin offerings" which were brought to Yahweh, and so they were happy to encourage the people in their various sins, knowing that this would result in more sin offerings being brought to Yahweh, and thus more bounty being brought to them, the priests!
With this may be compared the practices of the Roman Catholic "priesthood", which more or less encourages sin -- knowing that priestly "indulgences" and "forgiveness" and "blessings" for a sinful laity will bring more and more money into the Church's coffers!
Reading 3 - Acts 20:28
"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers" (Acts 20:28).
"The elders of Ephesus were exhorted by Paul to feed the ecclesia of God, the word feed in this text being the verb, poimaino, of which the word pastor (poimen) in Eph 4:11,12 is the noun. Many elders would therefore be teachers... Paul singled out for special honor those elders who labored in the word and doctrine. It is well today not to overlook the pastoral aspect of Christian teaching. The ideal is not so much to have pupils learning a set of doctrines, which may be more correct than nutritious, but to have them first realize their starving condition, then lead them to the Chief Pastor who said: 'I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.' The true pastor does not lead his flock to rich grass on cliff edges, nor does he always keep them in one small field" (JB Norris, "First Century Ecclesia" 145).