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Today's Readings: 1 Chronicles 16 | Ezekiel 28 | Galatians 2

Reading 1 - 1Ch 16:21,22

"He allowed no man to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: 'Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm' " (1Ch 16:21,22).

The kings, so far as we know, were Pharaoh in Gen 12:17, and Abimelech king of Gerar in Gen 20:7; 26:11.

Who were the Anointed Ones? The fathers, along with Sarah, in the general sense of having been specially selected by God. And so God saw that, wherever the fathers went, they would be protected by His Providence, and if necessary by divine decree given to Gentile rulers.

This is the same point David was careful about regarding Saul: Never would he lift up a hand against the Lord's anointed (1Sa 24:6,10; 26:11,23). Did David learn this psalm -- and this attitude -- from Samuel?

"Do my prophets no harm" is a quite remarkable addition to the Gentile account, yet strictly true: Both Abraham (Gen 22:8; 17:17; Rom 4:19) and Sarah (Gen 21:10,12; Gal 4:30) were "prophets"! And so also were Isaac (Gen 27:27-29) and Jacob (Gen 48:15-22; 49:1-27).

Reading 2 - Eze 28

"In his inaccessible and impregnable island fortress, the prince of Tyre mocked at any threat to his security. He was proud in his achievements; insolent in his challenge to others; wise in his own conceits. The king aspired to equality with God (v 2). In that, he followed the pattern of Adam in sinning and being ejected from the Garden of Eden. He is warned that he is but Adam (v 2) and the fate of Adam was to be his. He felt that he was the personification of wisdom and beauty -- so was Adam (vv 4-12)! He believe that he was divine and glorious (Eze 28:2), but Adam was really that. He believed that he possessed divine wisdom (v 3), but Adam was taught by the Cherub (v 14). And as Adam sinned and was ejected from the Garden, so would the king of Tyre from his position because of his great sin (Eze 26:2). This is a dirge of great irony, satirical in the extreme, in which the record of the one great sin of Adam is used as a similitude of the one great mistake of Ithobal [the ruler of Tyre]. Figuratively, he had been in Eden because he reflected the sin of Adam; so has everybody who sins similarly (Eze 31:8).

"So the voice of the prophet sounded forth in judgement against the King of Tyre:


The pride of the king of Tyre: vv 1-10.


The dirge over the king of Tyre: vv 11-19.

"Then follows:


The doom of Zidon: vv 20-23.


The removal of these 'briers' from Israel: vv 24-26.

"This chapter concludes the section on the dirge against Tyre" (GE Mansfield).

Reading 3 - Gal 2:20

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live" (Gal 2:20).

This means three things: (1) a man on a cross is facing in only one direction; (2) he is not going back; and (3) he has no further plans of his own; he is through with the pomp and pride and vanity of this life. Its chains are broken and its charms are gone.

"The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

In the most poignant personal expression Paul testifies to the moral force of the life and sacrifice of Christ when he writes that the Son of God "loved me and gave himself for me". Nothing else can have the spiritual impact of this truth totally believed. Christ did not just die for 'us' as an anonymous group. The real, awe-inspiring wonder is that he died for us as a group of individuals, each of whom he loved personally. He died for each one of us. Had there been only one sinner, Christ would still have been willing to die. When each of us stands before the judgment seat he will be looking into the eyes of a man who surrendered his life, personally and individually, for him or her.


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