Sunday, November 28, 2010

Antiochan Syriac Orthodox Daily Readings For Sunday, 28 November

From, and

Saints/Feasts/Fasts to be commemmorated/celebrated:  The Nativity Fast

St. Mary visits Elizabeth

Scriptural Readings:

27th Sunday after Pentecost

Ephesians 6:10-17

Ephesians 6:10-17

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Luke 18:18-27

Luke 18:18-27

18A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.’” 21He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 23But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. 24Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27He replied, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.”

Jeremiah 51:24-30 (11/28-12/11) Forty-third Reading in Kellia from Jeremiah’s Prophecies

Jeremiah’s Later Ministry VII ~ Warnings and Appeals: Jeremiah 51:24-30 SAAS, especially vs. 29: “This shall be a sign for you that I will visit you for evil.” Through Jeremiah, the Lord revealed that Pharaoh Hophra would be overthrown and that Egypt would be invaded by Nebuchadnezzar (see vs. 30). The two events occurred between 586 BC and 568 BC. Hophra was forced to share his throne with one of his officers, Ahmose, who revolted against him and then reigned jointly with him. Ahmose, having become the real power of the Egyptian throne, rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar in 570 BC. In response, the Babylonians invaded Egypt and subjugated the country. Hophra was then strangled by some of his subjects; thus, all portions of the word of the Lord were fulfilled. God disclosed these events as a sign to those who would choose to mix paganism with His worship - a solemn warning that they would “...die by sword and famine...,” with the exception of a few individuals who would escape (vs. 27,28).

The present passage clearly reminds us that “...the word of our God abides forever” (Is. 40:8). Hence, amidst the exigencies of this present life, God arrays His word against the pride of men, to see “...whose word will remain steadfast ” (vs. 28). Especially He does this when His People defy Him. In the prophecy following the opening quote, God foretold exactly what would befall the stubborn rebels who fled to Egypt, falsely hoping for safety: they would live out their lives in Egypt clinging to pagan errors (Jer. 51:25), and they would experience all the horrors that induced them to flee to Egypt (vs. 27). Further, though a few of their descendants would escape and return to Judah, even they would taste in bitter experience: what God foretells, indeed, comes to pass. As they erred like their fathers (vs. 28), so they too would reap the cost.

What did God anticipate from this remnant of His People? “My name shall no more be in the mouth of everyone of Judah, to say, ‘The Lord and Master lives in all the land of Egypt’” (vs. 26). And the same will happen if we choose ‘to offer incense’ to the prevailing message of TV, that queen goddess of the media, instead of calling upon the living God. Jeremiah has a tragic prophecy for those who lose faith in the God of truth. The Lord saw the stubbornness of those who chose to burn idolatrous incense and to pour out forbidden libations. Does he speak to us? You “...spoke with your mouth and fulfilled with your hands...” (vs. 25). Take care!

The refugees acted from fear: if they remained in their land instead of fleeing to Egypt they would die “ sword and famine” (Jer. 51:18). They trembled even when God encouraged them not to fear staying in Judah, but to know that “I will show you compassion...” (Jer. 49:12). Being overwhelmed and self-reliant, they knew they were right. People do fly in the face of the word of the Lord and enter directly into what they fear most. “For all the men of Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt shall die by sword and famine, until they cease to be” (Jer. 51:27). And their fears were realized; it is a sad but true fact of history. May it not be our history as well!

The Lord foretold that they would have survivors: a few children to live through years in great bitterness as refugees. They would learn “...whose word will remain steadfast (vs. 28). Beloved of Christ, do not snub the eternal God. His word outlives all the madness of this world. We are not smarter than God. He knows all things from before time and forever. Never pit yourself against the revealed word of God! May our descendants not shake their heads in disbelief at our errors. Our compassionate Lord Jesus ever cares for us and appeals to us to save us from self-reliance: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).

O Master, preserve pure and unpolluted the garment of incorruption, wherewith Thou hast endowed us, upholding us inviolate in Thy grace by the Spirit in Whom Thou hast sealed us.

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