Oct 18: 2Chr 9 | Eze 44 | John 11
Reading 1 - 2Ch 9:30,31
"Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. Then he rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father" (2Ch 9:30,31).
"In later years his soul had been sullied, his faith had grown dim, his fervor cold. All was emptiness. He stood horribly alone. His one son was not a wise man, but a fool. Gewgaws could no longer satisfy him. His wealth exhausted, his fame tarnished, his dominions reduced to insignificance, himself insulted by contemptible adversaries whom he could neither control nor punish, he entered on the long course of years... The peaceful is harried by petty raids; the magnificent is laden with debts; the builder of the Temple has sanctioned polytheism; the favorite of the nation has become a tyrant, scourging with whips an impatient people; the 'darling of the Lord' has built shrines for Moloch and Astarte. The glamour of youth, of empire, of gorgeous tyranny was dispelled, and the splendid boy-king is the weary and lonely old man. Hiram of Tyre has turned in disgust from an ungenerous recompense. A new Pharaoh has dispossessed his Egyptian father-in-law and shelters his rebel servant. His shameful harem has given him neither a real home nor a true love; his commerce has proved to be an expensive failure; his political alliances a hollow sham. In another and direr sense than after his youthful vision, 'Solomon awoke, and behold it was a dream' (1Ki 3:15)" (Expositor's Bible).
Reading 2 - Eze 44
"If this temple is for the millennium, its priests are certainly immortal saints in Christ. But this cannot be true of Ezekiel's priests. They are liable to sweat (Eze 44:18). They are to drink no wine when serving in the sanctuary (Eze 44:21); what a contrast with Mat 26: 29! They marry -- but only into the house of Israel (Eze 44:22). They die (Eze 44:22). They are permitted to defile themselves by contact with the dead, if it be a near relation (Eze 44:25). They have no inheritance (Eze 44:28). Such a catalog of facts once again rules out all reference to immortal saints in the Kingdom" (Harry Whittaker, "A Fresh Look at Ezekiel's Temple").
Reading 3 - John 11:39,41
" 'Take away the stone,' he said... So they took away the stone" (Joh 11:39,41).
Jesus performed a mighty miracle in raising Lazarus from the dead. But he did not take away the stone from the door of the sepulcher, nor did he remove the grave clothes when his resurrected friend came out of the tomb, "bound hand and foot" (Joh 11:44). Standing before the grave of Lazarus, whose body was corrupting, the Lord demanded something of those who longed for a miracle. They might have questioned, "Lord, You are going to raise the dead; why not move this heavy stone with but a word -- or a thought?" Herein lies a great principle: the Lord will not do by a miracle what we are to do by obedience. Is there a stone he wants you to roll away? Is there some hard, unyielding attitude; someone you will not forgive; some unconfessed sin; some step of obedience he awaits? It is ours to obey, it is his to do the miracles.