Old Testament reading: Daniel 9-10
While much of the Christian world focuses on the 70 weeks of Daniel 9, I think there is a greater, more practical lesson to be learned from the early section of this chapter. First, Daniel was reading the writings of Jeremiah. Jeremiah had never been to Babylon, but had sent his writings to Babylon in the hand of Seraiah the quartermaster (Jer 51:59-64). These words were kept safe and were considered worthy of Daniel’s attention. Second, Daniel did not take God’s promise of restoration for granted. He did not say, “Well God, the seventy years are completed. When are we going home?” Instead, Daniel fasted, clothed himself in sackcloth and ashes, and made confession for the sins of the people. He did not exclude himself from this confession. Note the use of “we,” “our” and “us” throughout his prayer. Daniel declared God’s righteousness in the actions of His wrath and pleaded with God, crying, “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act!” Then, as Daniel prayed, God acted (vv 20-21). In like fashion, God has given us many exceeding great and precious promises (2 Pet 1:4). Like Daniel, let us pray and act accordingly, recognizing God’s great love and mercy that has been extended to us in these. Let us confess our sins and pray for the fulfillment of God’s promises in our own lives.
New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 15-16
“On the first day of the week, let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there will be no collections when I come” (1 Cor 16:2). Note not only the absence of any command to tithe, but also that our giving is to be done in accordance with our prosperity. One note on the language here in verse 2 – Where the King James begins with “Upon” and the New King James with “On,” the word so translated may also be translated “Every.” The New American Standard and the English Standard Bibles both give the rendering, “On the first day of every week.” This gathering or laying by in store would have been done when the church was brought together each Sunday when they also gathered for the purpose of observing the Lord’s Supper (cf 1 Cor 11:18-33, Acts 20:7).