Today's Readings: 1 Chronicles 10 | Ezekiel 23 | Luke 20
Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 1Chronicles 10:13,14
"Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse." (1Ch 10:13,14).
What looks to be a contradiction may be explained by recourse to the meaning of the underlying Hebrew words. In 1Ch 10:14, we are told that Saul "did NOT inquire of the LORD", whereas in 1Sa 28:6, we are told that he DID "inquire". The explanation is fairly simple:
The word translated "inquire" in 1Ch 10:14 is "darash", which signifies "to follow after, and especially to worship".
The word translated "inquire" in 1Sa 28:6 is "shaal", which signifies "to request, or (even) to demand" (incidentally, it is related to the meaning of the name "Saul").
So, Saul did "inquire" of the LORD in making requests or demands (1Sa 28:6), but he did NOT "inquire" of the LORD in the sense of truly seeking after Him (1Ch 10:14)! [However, Saul DOES "seek out diligently" (the Hebrew "darash") the witch of Endor: 1Sa 28:7! Now there's a sad commentary.]
Reading 2 - Ezekiel 23
Eze 23 possesses some similarity with Eze 16. Whereas the main emphasis in Eze 16 is the actual idolatry of God's people, however, the main emphasis in Eze 23 is their military and political alliances.
In this chapter the wicked alliances of Israel and Judah are represented under the metaphor of two harlots, disgusting in their lewdness. The "idolatries" of Israel, or the ten tribes -- under the name of Oholah -- were committed with the Assyrians (vv 5-8), and their punishment for them is declared (vv 9,10). Then the idolatries of Judah, or the two tribes -- under the name of Oholibah -- are represented as greater than those of the ten tribes (v 11); these idolatries were committed with the Assyrians (v 12) and the Babylonians (vv 13-18).
This chapter contains some verses that are about as graphic and revolting as anything to be found in the Bible. The purpose is not to titillate or to stimulate pleasurably, but to shock. Whether it be in portraying violence or sex, the prophets who wrote the Bible were not interested in staying out of trouble with the "censors", or in retaining a "G" rating. Nevertheless, when sin is portrayed, there is -- unlike with Hollywood -- no uncertainty as to its sinfulness, nor any ambiguity as to the ultimate fate of those who practice such things and remain unrepentant.
Reading 3 - Luke 20:46
"Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets" (Luk 20:46).
There are many kind of "robes" in the Bible, because men may play many roles, and -- to some degree -- it is true that "the clothes make the man". For example, there is the long, flowing robe of pretension (Luk 20:46); the torn robe of sorrow (Job 1:20); the scarlet robe of mock kingship (Mat 27:28); the best robe of righteousness (Luk 15:22); and the white robe of the redeemed (Rev 7:9). We should ask ourselves periodically: which robe or robes are we wearing now?