Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Jos 13
"This chapter commences a new section in the record of Joshua.
The great pioneer had brought tremendous zeal to his work, defeating Jericho,
overcoming the trial of Ai and the judgment against Achan, upholding the
covenant of the Gibeonites, and bringing the defeat of the powerful Canaanite
kings to a successful conclusion. Small pockets of resistance still remain, but
it now was the responsibility of the individual tribes and families of Israel.
The army of Israel could now be disbanded.
"Each man was required to 'go in and obtain' his inheritance.
In a spiritual sense, to 'work out his own salvation.' Joshua, like the Lord
Yahshua, had done his work in leading the way and making possible each
individual inheritance. But there are two verses remarkably significant. The
first is Jos 13:14, in which the Levites are given no inheritance with the other
Israelites. Their inheritance is Yahweh Elohim Yizrael.
"And further, the inheritance is a sacrifice 'made by fire.'
Jericho was such a offering. It was to be 'accursed' (Jos 6:17), but the word
means 'devoted' (as in the mg). It was devoted by fire, for fire is one of the
three purifying principles in the Word. So the city was 'burnt with fire' (v
24), and now the Levites were similarly to be an offering of fire (Jos 13:14).
The offering of fire was found in every part of the Tabernacle service. The
lampstand was fired by oil (The Word); the table of shewbread was graced by the
fire of frankincense (Activity), the golden altar was fired by the coals of
incense (Prayer). Thus the Levites were to show a fire of a unique character:
The 'zeal of mine House hath eaten him up'; 'the zeal of Yahweh Tzvaoth shall do
this'; 'he was clad with zeal as with a cloke.' The second reference is in Jos
13:33. The Levites were to find their inheritance in Yahweh Elohim Tzvaoth and
all that this majestic Name means. A grand inheritance awaits the true Levites,
for what we now do, not only points to the sacrifice of Christ, but to the joy
of a future in which we will abide for evermore" (GEM).
Reading 2 - Isa 17:14
"In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are
gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us"
This was precisely how judgment fell on the Assyrian host:
"Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five
thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning --
there were all the dead bodies!" (Isa 37:36).
"Again it has to be emphasized that the real value of this
prophecy is in its meaning for today. Syrian Damascus, along with Edom and Moab,
Egypt and Tyre and all the other Arab marauders, will combine with the great
northern enemy to devastate and ravage Israel for its persistent faithless
materialistic godlessness and worship of sex. And yet through the penitence of a
faithful remnant there will come sudden Messianic deliverance. The destroying
angel of the Lord still has much work to accomplish -- and he has not forgotten
how to achieve it overnight!" (Harry Whittaker, "Isaiah" 222).
Reading 3 - 2Ti 4:6-8
"For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and
the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have
finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2Ti 4:6,7).
"There can be little doubt that [though he had been acquitted
once] he appeared again at Nero's bar, and this time the charge did not break
down. In all history there is not a more startling illustration of the irony of
human life than this scene of Paul at the bar of Nero. On the judgment-seat,
clad in the imperial purple, sat a man who, in a bad world, had attained the
eminence of being the very worst and meanest being in it. A man stained with
every crime, a man whose whole being was so steeped in every nameable and
unnameable vice, that body and soul of him were, as someone said at the time,
nothing but a compound of mud and blood. And in the prisoner's dock stood the
best man the world possessed, his hair whitened with labours for the good of men
and the glory of God. The trial ended: Paul was condemned, and delivered over to
the executioner. He was led out of the city, with a crowd of the lowest rabble
at his heels. The fatal spot was reached; he knelt beside the block; the
headsman's axe gleamed in the sun and fell; and the head of the apostle of the
world rolled down in the dust" (Easton's Bible Dictionary).
"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day -- and not
only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing" (v 8).
"Crown" is the Greek "stephanos" -- the coronal wreath of
laurel symbolizing victory, echoing the name of Stephen, whom Paul had killed
years earlier! Paul's last words here echo those of Stephen: as Stephen had
prayed for those who sought his death (Acts 7:60), so Paul now prayed (2Ti
4:16). Like his forerunner Stephen, Paul had now come to the intended completion
of his work and witness, and the crown which he now knew would be his was that
of Stephen -- the crown of martyrdom for witnessing to the truth of
The head that rolled in the dust that somber day will one day
wear a crown, and Saul of Tarsus -- Paul the apostle -- will one day rule as a
king and priest with his Lord and Master Jesus Christ... forever.
But where will Nero's crown -- and Nero himself! -- be in THAT