Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Samuel 4:9
"The LORD lives,who has delivered me out of all trouble" (2Sa 4:9).
God had always delivered David; he did not need the help of wicked men (like Recab and Baanah, who assassinated Ishbosheth, thinking it would please David).
"The more things collapse around us, and in our affairs, the more important closeness to God is, and the more important it is realized to be, if we are of the right mind. This is the blessing of adversity. This is why Paul 'rejoiced in sufferings' [Rom 5:3] and James 'counted it all joy when he fell into divers temptations' [Jam 1:2]" (GV Growcott).
Reading 2 - Jeremiah 10
Jer 10 portrays the great controversy: Idols versus Yahweh.
"The 'portion' of Jacob (Jer 10:12,13,16) is the inheritance of the fathers. The word 'cheleq' signifies 'to apportion; separate' and comes from a root signifying 'to be smooth', which evidently relates to the stones of judgment. Yahweh has judged Jacob faithful, elevated his name to Israel, and has determined his future. The seed of Jacob rest in the divine protection, for Yahweh judges against the enemies of Israel for the fathers' sakes. The evidence of this is seen in 'the earth by His power' (v 12). The solid earth is itself a natural symbol of strength and stability, whilst the glorious heavens presents a panorama of glory, and the mighty deep shows the marvels of God's handiwork. The constant labour of nature testifies that His activity is never suspended, His presence never withdrawn. The conflict of the elements, the roar of thunder, the flash of lightning, the downpour of waters, the rush of storm-wind, are His work and assist in developing His purpose. All the elements testify to His majesty, greatness, reality, importance, and our utter dependence upon Him (Psa 73:26). Let Israel understand, and let the Ecclesia perceive that the way of man is not in himself, but that Yahweh corrects with judgment (Jer 10:24)" (GE Mansfield).
Reading 3 - Matthew 21:13
"IT IS WRITTEN," HE SAID TO THEM, "MY HOUSE WILL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER": Jesus cites Isaiah, where the context reads: "And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant -- these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations" (Isa 56:6,7).
Here is a symbolic indication that the court of the Gentiles was henceforth to be holy also (Gal 3:28). This scene took place in the court of the Gentiles. By using this area for moneychangers, the leaders had forgotten their delegated role of witnessing to the Gentiles (Zec 9:8).
God's temple is not just a house where prayer is offered by people of all nations -- which is true enough -- but also a "house" (a spiritual house) built up by and consisting of prayers offered by many individuals, of many nations. With our prayers, wherever we might be physically, we "build" the "house" in which God dwells.
"BUT YOU ARE MAKING IT A 'DEN OF THIEVES' ": Jesus is blending a quotation from Jeremiah (Jer 7:11) in with the Isaiah quotation. The two citations take us from the pinnacle -- what God's house at its best might be -- to the very lowest depth -- what God's house at its worst had become! And so God's house -- filled with a sort of spiritual leprosy -- was now in dire need of cleansing by God's true priest.