Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Deu 32:11
God's care for His people is beautifully expressed in His
words to Israel: "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how l
carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself" (Exo 19:4).
Bible writers were much impressed with the swift, swooping
flight of the eagle, the largest bird known in Israel. In modern times the eagle
has been observed catching its young in flight, as mentioned in the Bible: "Like
an eagle that stirs up Its nest and hovers over Its young, that spreads its
wings to catch them and carries them on Its pinions" (Deu 32:11).
The young eaglet might be afraid to fly, but the parent forces
it out of the nest. It may flutter and fall, unable yet to fly properly. Then
the parent eagle can dive and spread its saving wings underneath the falling
young one. This is the imagery of that famous line which promises God's
sustaining presence in time of trouble: "The eternal God is your refuge, and
underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deu 33:27).
In the long history of God's people, they have been sustained
by the faith and confidence that God cares for them. This has been equally true
with all the saints of the Old and New Testaments. God cares for all His
creatures, but He is particularly concerned for those whom He has called and who
have responded to be His people. This does not mean that they will be spared the
hazards of life. It does mean that God's people can endure and survive many
perils because they know that the LORD cares for them, that they are borne on
"eagles' wings", and that underneath are the "everlasting arms".
Reading 2 - Isa 5:20
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put
darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet
for bitter" (Isa 5:20).
"Human judgment almost invariably makes the wrong choice, the
wrong assessment, swinging to the wrong extreme, making the wrong decision... In
every generation men dedicate themselves with avidity to the worship of Mammon,
and call it their greatest good... Isaiah found himself in the midst of
experienced influential men who through folly or wilfulness were turning God's
laws upside down. Woe unto them! When a man is self-afflicted with this kind of
twisted outlook on life there is no hope for him... One of the greatest curses
of modern time is this double-speak. It has poisoned every aspect of human
relations. A mighty military machine is called Defense. An aggressive political
campaign is called a Peace Movement. Wholesale criticism and disparagement of
the Word of God is paraded under the respectable name of Scholarship, whilst
those who try to be honest with Holy Scripture are reckoned stupid or in
darkness. A pseudo-science of psychology is called into being to give a
flamboyant sanction to self-indulgence and all kinds of immorality. Thus sin is
blithely abolished" (Harry Whittaker, "Isaiah" 129).
Reading 3 - Col 2:2
"My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united
in love" (Col 2:2).
"The article commonly talked about as 'love' is not the
apostolic article. The popular article consists of an emasculated mind, and
honeyed word uttered in a silly tone. The apostolic 'knitting together in love'
is on the goodly foundation 'of all riches of the full assurance of
understanding.' It is a love springing from identical convictions -- a common
love resulting from a common enlightenment; a mutual affection spontaneously
generated by unity of knowledge and judgment, and this not in the scanty form of
'opinion' or the cold uncertainty of 'views', but in the richness of a positive
and pronounced 'assurance of understanding'; enthusiastic convictions if you
will, without which there can be no true discipleship of Christ. This is a state
of mind that stops not short at 'good words and fair speeches', but shows its
faith by 'works', without which, a man, whatever his knowledge and
understanding, or ability to speak with even higher than human tongues, is a
'sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.' There be many fig trees fair and
promising to look upon, which, when the Master comes to inspect them and finds
nothing but leaves, will wither up before his destroying curse" (Robert Roberts,
"Seasons of Comfort" 36).