Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Jos 11:5,6
"All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the
Waters of Merom, to fight against Israel. The LORD said to Joshua, 'Do not be
afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to
Israel, slain' " (Jos 11:5,6).
"A day now near at hand will see the revelation of God's
righteous anger, and then the further and final restoration of His house, when
the glory will return embodied in the new rulers that God has promised to
Israel. The 'great fury' of God is a necessity created by man's sin -- his
pride, cruelty, and corruption of the earth. The classic illustration of what is
coming is to be found in the clearing of the land of Palestine by Joshua and the
settlement of a purified remnant of Israel in the place of the Canaanites, whose
licentious and debased religions had forfeited their right to live. We know more
of what the fury of man can do, in the terrible effects of modern war. We know
its futility as we realize that there does not exist the power to bring order
and peace when destruction has ceased. Apart from the overruling by which the
sword of the wicked is made to do the work of God, it is not in man to dispense
terrors according to deserts. The striving of the potsherds lacks the elemental
basis of justice and righteousness which will never be absent from the fury of
God" (John Carter, "Prophets after the Exile" 86).
Reading 2 - Isa 15:1
The word "oracle" or "burden" (Isa 13:1; 15:1; 17:1; 19:1;
21:1; 22:1; 23:1) is from the Hebrew "to lift up", in foreboding or expectation;
it implies something that God has planned for another. More often than not, it
speaks of a coming punishment; but at times it simply means an important event
involving a particular people. The distinction must be determined by the
context. Often, the "burden" begins with warnings of judgments to come, and then
proceeds with prophecies of something beneficial arising out of the dark times.
Zec 12 illustrates this: it begins with a "burden... for Israel... in the
siege", but then quickly speaks of a time of blessing succeeding the time of
affliction: Jerusalem inhabited again in her own place (Zec 12:6,7). The burdens
of Isaiah generally follow this same pattern, with special reference to the Last
Days of Gentile times and the establishment of "Israel in their own land" (Isa
14:1) and Christ as the "ruler of the land... upon the mount of the daughter of
Zion" (Isa 16:1). Also the roles of various Gentile powers, especially in
relation to Israel and God's plans for the Last Days, are outlined. What might
first appear to be a dry and unrewarding study becomes in reality a promise of
God's deliverance for His people (in typical prophecies) and a glorious
assurance (in initial fulfillments) that God's purpose stands firm (Isa
Reading 3 - 2Ti 1:8
"Join with me in suffering" (2Ti 1:8).
Jackie Robinson was the first black man to play major league
baseball in the modern era, in 1947. Breaking baseball's color barrier, he faced
disgusting racial slurs from opposing players, baseballs thrown at his head
while he was batting, and baserunners sliding with spiked shoes lifted high,
trying to cut or slash him. Also, he faced jeering crowds in every stadium.
While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he committed an error.
Some in the crowd began to ridicule him. He stood at second base, disconcerted
and humiliated, while even his hometown fans continued to ridicule and mock him.
Then shortstop Pee Wee Reese came over and stood next to him.
He put his arm around Robinson, talked quietly to him, and encouraged him, as if
the crowd's cries meant nothing. He was a white Southerner, with his own
experiences of racial prejudice, and might have been expected to keep a safe
distance from a black man. But it was as if he were saying to everyone: 'This is
my teammate; he's with me!' Reese was a star player at this time: popular and
successful and well-liked. The fans grew quiet, and the game resumed.
Jackie Robinson later said that that arm around his shoulder
saved his career.
A statue will soon be erected and dedicated at the current
Brooklyn baseball park, commemorating this simple yet profound act, performed
more than 50 years ago now -- joining and identifying with another so as to
share his suffering.