Old Testament reading: Ezekiel 31-32
The prophet concludes his prophecy against Egypt. First, there is the Divine recognition of Egypt’s beauty and greatness. The Lord compares Egypt to a great cedar of Lebanon and the great Assyrian empire in its exaltation and glory. So towering was this cedar that the cedars of God’s garden could not hide it. So glorious was this cedar that all the trees of Eden envied it! But alas! As the unsinkable and glorious Titanic became a poster child for the dangers of pride and arrogance, so also would this great tree suffer an ignominious death. She would be cut down by the mighty one of the nations (Nebuchadnezzar, 31:11) and left for plunderers and scavengers (31:12). And, as the king of Tyre was lamented in chapter 28, so also is Pharaoh lamented as a young lion and a monster in the sea. Once capable of muddying the Nile with his feet (32:2), his light will soon be snuffed out, bringing darkness over all the land (32:7-8). Egypt will take her place in the grave of nations, including Assyria and Edom.
New Testament reading: Acts 17-19
Much has been said and written concerning “the noble Bereans” of Acts 17:11. The New King James gives the rendering of “fair-minded.” One thing I think gets lost in most discussions of this text is that the individuals under consideration are the Jews of Thessalonica and Berea. By and large, the Jews of Thessalonica were not persuaded by Paul’s preaching (17:5). Not content in their unbelief, they gathered a mob and took several brethren into custody and attempted to defame them before the city leaders (vv 6-8). On the other hand, the Jews at Berea (v 10) “received the word with all readiness, and searches the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (v 11). This is all we really ask of any person, to give the gospel a fair hearing in light of the testimony of Scripture. The difference in results of these two groups is significant. Whereas only a few (“some”) of the Thessalonian Jews obeyed (v 4), “many” of the Berean Jews believed, along with a sizeable number of Gentiles and prominent people of the city, both men and women (v 12). One thing I might add – We ought to give all men a fair hearing in such matters, especially when we do not agree with them.