~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Exodus 34:1-35:9 ~ Matthew 27:15-31
Psalm 33:12-22 ~ Proverbs 9:1-6
Old Testament - Exodus chapter 34 verses 6 & 7 are beautiful and we will hear these words repeated again later in the Old Testament a few times: ""I am the LORD, I am the LORD, the merciful and gracious God. I am slow to anger and rich in unfailing love and faithfulness. I show this unfailing love to many thousands by forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion." How do these words resonate with you? Do you believe God is merciful and gracious? Slow to anger? And rich in unfailing love and faithfulness? Have you asked God for forgiveness for your sins and rebellion?
Verses 33 through 35 in today's readings tell us: "When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with the LORD, he removed the veil until he came out again. Then he would give the people whatever instructions the LORD had given him, and the people would see his face aglow. Afterward he would put the veil on again until he returned to speak with the LORD."
And today's guest commentary on these preceding verses is from none other than Paul! This is the Bible giving commentary on the Bible. Here is Paul in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians chapter 3 verses 7 - 18 (read this carefully... read this twice... this is good....) - "That old system of law etched in stone led to death, yet it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses' face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn't we expect far greater glory when the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old covenant, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new covenant, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new covenant. So if the old covenant, which has been set aside, was full of glory, then the new covenant, which remains forever, has far greater glory. Since this new covenant gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory fading away. But the people's minds were hardened, and even to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, a veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses' writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away. Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom. And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more." Not a bad commentary, eh?
Below is an image for verses 29 & 30: "When Moses came down the mountain carrying the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn't aware that his face glowed because he had spoken to the LORD face to face. And when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses' face, they were afraid to come near him."
Bible.org's commentary on Exodus chapter 34 titled "A New Beginning" is at this link.
New Testament - The Passion readings today are always tough... they bring home the reality of what Jesus did for each of us. Tomorrow's readings are tougher. An image of Pilate asking the crowd in verse 22: ""But if I release Barabbas," Pilate asked them, "what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?"
I read an interesting commentary on verse 24 today: "Pilate saw that he wasn't getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this man. The responsibility is yours!" Tyndale's commentary said that even though Pilate verbally said the "responsibility is yours" and even though he washed his hands - his responsibility remained. He was essentially afraid about losing his job, because there was the threat to report him to Caesar (John 19:12). Pilate was the Roman governor from AD 26-36 for Judea and Samaria. One of his main duties was to simply "keep the peace" in this outlying area of the Roman Empire - and to do "whatever was necessary" to maintain the "peace"... Below is a painting by Mattia Preti from 1663 of Pilate trying to wash his hands of guilt... Pilate seems to be looking at the viewer in this painting with a "Who are you looking at?" expression... Who are we looking at here?
Psalms - Psalm 33 verse 12 today is awesome: "In him our hearts rejoice, for we are trusting in his holy name." Does your heart literally rejoice when you think about God? Do you trust in God's holy name?
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 9 verses 5 & 6 are a reminder that not only does Temptation call us (as we've read earlier in Proverbs this year), but Wisdom calls out to us as well! "Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your foolish ways behind, and begin to live; learn how to be wise." Which voice are you listening to these days? Whose invitation are you accepting? Temptation's? Or Wisdom's? Whose call will you answer?
Comments from you & Question of the Day - I love all of our Proverbs readings about wisdom these days. And obviously I think most of us would agree that we are finding wisdom in the Bible. My question for today is this - can we find wisdom outside of the Bible? For example, I read Jim Collins famous business book "Good to Great" a few years ago, and I believe I found some business wisdom in this book. I listen to Dennis Prager's radio show and think that I gain some wisdom from his comments on occasion. I read the Wall Street Journal and think that gives me some wisdom periodically. I think the difference though between these 3 modern day sources and the Bible is that Good to Great, Dennis Prager, and the Wall Street journal are not 100% wisdom 100% of the time. Whereas the Bible I believe is 100% wisdom 100% of the time. How about you? Do you think you get wisdom in places outside of the Bible today? Where are those places? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!