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 14:26,27).
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.