Today's Readings: 1 Chronicles 2 | Ezekiel 15 | Luke 11
Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 1Chronicles 2:7
"The son of Carmi: Achar ['Achar' means trouble; Achar is called Achan in Joshua], who brought trouble on Israel by violating the ban on taking devoted things" (1Ch 2:7).
Achar is called "Achan" in Josh 7: this is the man of Judah who secretly appropriated for himself some of the spoils of war at the fall of Jericho (Josh 7:1-26; 22:20). Yahweh revealed to Joshua that Israel's defeat at Ai was caused by the presence of sin in the camp. When the sacred lot specified Achan as the offender, he confessed to coveting, stealing, and concealing in his tent fine clothing, silver, and gold, all of which was under the sacrificial ban, "devoted to the Lord for destruction". Achan and his family were stoned to death, and their bodies and possessions were burned in the valley of Achor ("troubling": same word as "Achar" here) south of Jericho.
Was Achan's name changed -- posthumously -- to Achar, matching the name of his place of burial, a word which signifies "trouble" or "troubler"?
This incident, in Josh 7, illustrates the truth of the proverb: "A greedy man brings trouble [Heb 'akar'] to his family" (Pro 15:27).
Reading 2 - Ezekiel 15:2,3
"Son of man, how is the wood of a vine better than that of a branch on any of the trees in the forest? Is wood ever taken from it to make anything useful? Do they make pegs from it to hang things on?" (Eze 15:2,3).
The vine was a well-known symbol for the nation of Israel. Isaiah had sung a song concerning Israel, comparing her to a vineyard planted on a very fruitful hill, which God had tended with great care. But the vines had failed to produce grapes that could be eaten or made into wine. All it produced were wild grapes (Isa 5). Similarly, Psa 80:8,9 describes Israel: "You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land." See also Deu 32:32; Jer 2:21; Hos 10:1.
A vine has no other purpose than to produce fruit. Trees might be used to provide timber for various purposes, but the wood of the vine was useless; it was not even used to form a "peg".
Israel had no personal righteousness (Eze 14:14,20); no "fruits" (Mat 3:12; 21:33-41; Luke 13:6-9; Mark 11:12-14) -- that is, no fruit of Spirit (Gal 5:22,23).
And if there were no fruit on the "vine", then there was no use for it whatsoever!
Reading 3 - Luke 11:47,48
"Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs" (Luk 11:47,48).
Do we "build up" the "tombs" of our Christadelphian "prophets"? If so, is there any danger in doing so?
Are dead "prophets" less threatening than living ones? It seems to me that dead "prophets" (and I use the term loosely here -- whether referring to Isaiah and Jeremiah, or John Thomas and Robert Roberts) can be shut up in books, closed between the covers, and "controlled"... whereas living "prophets" go walking around sticking their noses into our business when we least like it, encouraging us more directly by word or deed to DO something when we would rather do nothing, and generally kicking us out of our "comfort zones". They can't be as easily "shut up" or "put on a shelf". Maybe that's why we don't care for the living "prophets". Maybe that's why we sometimes hasten their demise! Jesus also said, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor" (Mar 6:4).