Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Lev 26:41,42
"I sent them into the land of their enemies-- then when their
uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, I will remember my
covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and
I will remember the land" (Lev 26:41,42).
"Lev 26 comprises the Levitical covenant. It sets forth the
terms by which tenancy of the Land might be retained (vv 3,4,6,9), warns of the
consequences of disobedience, and concludes by promising a full restoration of
the people and nation to the Land on the basis of the covenant made with
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
"This statement of the Law, this Levitical covenant, forms the
basis of all the prophecies of the Old Testament relating to the restoration of
the people and nation of Israel. Yahweh's promise to the repentant (vv 41,42)
implies that they are not pardoned merely on the ground of their repentance,
though it is set forth as the condition of their acceptance. The basis of the
promise of restoration is the covenant made to Abraham. The Mosaic covenant
still indicts Israelites today (Gal 3:10), but the Abrahamic covenant will
rescue them and restore them (Gal 3:5-7; Jer 31:31-34)" (HP Mansfield,
Reading 2 - Psa 139:13
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my
mother's womb" (Psa 139:13).
This last verb ["knit together"] describes the meticulously
interwoven intricacy of pattern on the veil of the Tabernacle. Yet that unique
man-made fabric was utter simplicity compared with the fantastic complexity of
every human being coming to birth. David, even without the resources of modern
investigation in the field of genetics, was awestruck as he contemplated the
"weaving together" of the human fetus in the womb. Then what would he have said
if he had known what is commonly known today: how the genes of two parents are
"knit together" by the unseen Hand to produce, every time, an absolutely unique
Such a comparison, between a fabric and a human being, is
fitting to teach us that the true "tabernacle" was the man Christ Jesus (John
1:14; 2:19; Col 2:9; Heb 8:2; 9:8,9,11; Mat 12:6).
Like a fabric is created of individual strands or threads,
carefully woven together, so even a great building is created of separate
building materials, skillfully arranged and intertwined by the builder. And so
the same analogy holds, on another level, for the construction of a building.
And thus we are taught also that -- in Jesus Christ -- every person may be a
temple, filled with the glory of God: "Do you not know that your body is a
temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have received from God, and
you are not your own?" (1Co 6:19,20; cp 2Co 6:16).
Reading 3 - Luk 9:23
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take
up his cross daily and follow me" (Luk 9:23).
"Of the three things enjoined, the last is a vital thing: to
follow. The other two [denying self and taking up the cross] are utterly
essential because through the essential you achieve that which is vital. The
reason is this. You can approve, and not follow. You can applaud and not follow.
You can understand and preach, without following. You can defend the Truth
pugnaciously, without following. You can tire yourself out on busy works --
without following... The central thing is the denial of self. It is utterly
radical. Denial of self is the inward thing. Taking up the cross daily is the
external manifestation of the inward condition. To talk of it is not to realize
it. To write about it is not to achieve it. The use of the word 'daily'
emphasizes that it is not just a theory but something that is real and
practical; facing squarely every new circumstance; confronting bravely every
impediment; grasping joyfully every new opportunity. In practice it means giving
unhindered access to the Master into every chamber and especially into every
dark corner. To think of that possibility might make us feel ashamed but at the
same time it may do us good" (Dennis Gillett, "Genius of