Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Gen 37
"Joseph was innocent and excellent, but Joseph was young and
untried, and God had a great purpose with him that required that he should be
matured and perfected in character as men only can be perfected -- in the school
of adversity. Joseph had to be fitted for exaltation and the exercise of power,
and therefore Joseph had to suffer for Joseph's own good and for the bringing
about of a great result to the whole house of Israel. Joseph was allowed to
become the object of his brethren's successful hatred. Therefore, if sympathy
sheds a tear, the understanding admires, while Joseph is bound by unfeeling
brethren, and in spite of his frantic entreaties, lowered into a pit where death
appears inevitable, both in his own estimation and that of his brothers. No
greater evil short of death could befall a human being than that which thus came
to Joseph. A spectator on the spot would have said it was evil in which it was
not possible to imagine any good purpose. There was no explanation of it. Joseph
was not permitted the know the meaning. He could not have understood if told. It
would have frustrated the object for him to know. Let us recollect this when in
any matter similarly situated. Circumstances may be dark; calamity unmixed; the
situation such that enemies may say, 'There is no help for him in God'; yet God
may be at the bottom of all the trouble for purposes of goodness which the
future alone will reveal. The only policy is, in all circumstances, to commit
ourselves to the keeping of our Creator in faith and well-doing: 'Commit thy way
unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. And he shall
bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday' "
(Robert Roberts, "Ways of Providence" 87).
Reading 2 - Psa 40:8
"I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my
heart" (Psa 40:8).
This psalm is quoted in Heb 10 about the Messiah, the Lord
Jesus Christ, who did the will of God... perfectly -- and thus essentially
fulfilled all the shadows and prophecies and sacrifices and expectations of the
The very words of Psa 40:8 are quoted by Paul in Rom 7:22, and
echoed in idea by Jesus himself in Joh 4:34: "My meat is to do the will of him
that sent me, and to finish his work."
YOUR LAW IS WITHIN MY HEART: The Hebrew is "my bowels",
emphasizing either that the law of God has been eagerly devoured (Eze 3:3; Rev
10:9; cp Joh 4:34), or else that the teaching of God's law has captured his
emotions. The Septuagint reads "heart" (ie, mind, of course), as in v 10. This
prepares the way for Heb 10:16: In the New Covenant, men are made like Jesus,
the one who makes the New Covenant possible, by having his law put into their
hearts (Jer 31:33).
To what extent was this really true of Jesus, that God's law
was within his heart? In him was certainly the true and perfect realization of
the law of Deu 17:18-20, commanding the king of Israel to write his own copy of
the law. The ones who observed this law could probably be counted on the fingers
of one hand (perhaps David, Hezekiah, Josiah?), but no doubt Jesus fulfilled
this law in the best possible way. It is reasonable to infer that at some time
during the days of his flesh (perhaps in the hidden years, from twelve to
thirty: Luk 2:47) Jesus wrote out his own copy of the law, and probably
memorized it as well! Everything about the spontaneous suitability of all he had
to say in his handling of the Word of God suggests this. And so for Jesus the
law was written not upon cold tables of stone or upon perishable parchments, but
in the warm and living table of the human heart (Deu 6:6; Pro 3:3; 7:3; 2Co
3:3). Written there, it colored and affected every aspect of his life, and --
through him -- that same law touches the hearts of all of us!
Reading 3 - Mat 24:7
"There will be... earthquakes in various places" (Mat
The May 1984 National Geographic shows through color photos
and drawings the swift and terrible destruction that wiped out the Roman cities
of Pompeii and Herculaneum in AD 79. The explosion of Mount Vesuvius was so
sudden, the residents were killed while in their routine: men and women were at
the market, the rich in their luxurious baths, slaves at toil. They died amid
volcanic ash and superheated gases. Even family pets suffered the same quick and
final fate. It takes little imagination to picture the panic of that terrible
day. The saddest part is that these people did not have to die.
Scientists confirm what ancient Roman writers record -- weeks
of rumblings and shakings preceded the actual explosion. Even an ominous plume
of smoke was clearly visible from the mountain days before the eruption. If only
they had been able to read and respond to Vesuvius's warning!
There are similar "rumblings" in our world: warfare,
earthquakes, the nuclear threat, economic woes, breakdown of the family and
moral standards. While not exactly new, these things do point to a coming Day of
Judgment. People need not be caught unprepared. God warns and provides an escape
to those who will heed the rumblings.