Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Num 10:2
"Make two trumpets of hammered silver..." (Num
The sound of the trumpet, in the Bible, suggests many things.
Its blast was powerful, disturbing to the natural order, and designed to attract
the greatest degree of attention. It was to inspire to action. It was to call
attention to the coming of a great personage. It was to announce the time to
stand before the great God in judgment. There are rich fields to explore here...
The trumpet was sometimes a summons to Israel, to assemble before their
God: "Make two trumpets of hammered silver, and use them for calling the
community together and for having the camps set out. When both are sounded, the
whole community is to assemble before you at the entrance to the Tent of
Meeting" (Num 10:2-4,7). And in Jesus' prophecy it is the sound of the trumpet
which will assemble the "elect" to the throne of judgment at his return (Mat
Trumpets signaled the beginning of the Feast of trumpets, on the
first day of the seventh month (Lev 23:24). "Sound the ram's horn at the New
Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our Feast" (Psa
Trumpets will signal the coming day of resurrection: "For the Lord
himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the
archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise
first" (1Th 4:16; cp Rev 11:15,18; 1Co 15:51,52).
The great Day of Atonement
was inaugurated with a trumpet blast (Num 10:10; Lev 25:9; Joel 2:15; Isa
Trumpets warned of approaching war (Eze 33:1-6).
The trumpet was
sounded to assemble an army (Num 10:9; 31:6; 2Ch 13:12,14; Jdg 3:27).
blast of a trumpet announced the coronation or approach of a king (1Ki 1:34,39;
2Ki 9:13; 11:12,14; Psa 98:6)... as well as...
The coming of the ark of God
(portraying God as king!) (1Ch 15:24,28; 16:6,42).
The blowing of seven trumpets all together -- or in rapid
succession -- has special reference to the destruction of Jericho (Jos 6:4-20;
cp 2Co 10:4-8; Rev 11:15,18).
Reading 2 - Pro 6:1-3
"My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you
have struck hands in pledge for another, if you have been trapped by what you
said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free
yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands: Go and humble
yourself; press your plea with your neighbor!" (Pro 6:1-3).
"In this matter adults often reveal less capacity for learning
than children. They have the advantage of books containing all the accumulated
wisdom of mankind, and beyond all this and permeating a great deal of it, there
is the instruction that has come direct from God, yet the knowledge is very
little used. Life is full of avoidable evils through men ignoring principles or
rules of conduct which are perfectly well known, and which have had their wisdom
demonstrated in every generation.
"Sometimes the individual failure is so obvious that almost
all observers smile at it. I recall two instances of this kind in which the
facts were related by the victim when sufficient time had passed for him to join
in the amusement. The first was of a capable business man who lightheartedly put
his name to paper and became surety for another without even knowing the full
extent of his commitment. As is usual in such cases, the one thus assisted
failed to pay his way, and the guarantor was for some weeks on the verge of
ruin, not knowing when the crushing blow would fall. While in this worried
condition he one day opened the Bible to find a little consolation, and almost
the very first passage he read was one in Proverbs warning men against the very
folly he had committed. 'What a foolish man I am', he thought. 'I have
carelessly brought myself into this trouble, when all the while the whole matter
is explained in the Bible in the most up-to-date manner. If I had read it before
I might have been warned.'
"It is interesting to note the expression 'strike hands' in
this connection. It suggests that without any signature, the offering and
acceptance of the hand would constitute a bond which no one would repudiate. We
may sometimes see in English cattle markets a custom which is probably a
survival of that to which the wise man refers. Two men will be haggling over the
price of a beast. Finally the vendor, having made a concession, declares that he
will take nothing less. He holds out his right hand, stating the price, and
perhaps with quite a dramatic indication of finality. The buyer, with no show of
enthusiasm, and without saying a word, strikes the outstretched hand with his
own palm and the sale is effected. Surely a survival from three thousand years
or more" (Islip Collyer, "Principles and Proverbs").
Reading 3 - Luk 20:17
"Jesus looked directly at them and asked, 'Then what is the
meaning of that which is written: "The stone the builders rejected has become
the capstone" [Psa 118:22]?' " (Luk 20:17).
"Men were engaged in the building of a house for the
accommodation of the government of a state. They had made their plans, and were
gathering the material. Many were engaged in the work; but as was usual in the
East, the master-builders alone knew the plans and others worked to their
directions. In every worthwhile building, just above ground level at the
principal comer, a special stone was placed. It was selected for its freedom
from flaws, and was carefully prepared -- its sides being accurately squared. It
was, more than any other stone in the building, a 'tried stone.' All other
stones would be built in alignment with it. A stone was offered the
master-builders about which exceptional claims were made. The stone was
examined, but certain prejudices in the builders prevented them from discerning
its qualities. They rejected it. But another Master-builder knew of the stone
and its perfect suitability for a building he was erecting. He obtained the
stone, and it was placed in a structure of unique characteristics. The building
was erected in line with the stone, and men marvelled at the beauty and grace of
the building" (John Carter, "Parables of the Messiah" 150,151).