Reading 1 - Josh 18:3
"So Joshua said to the Israelites: 'How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?' " (Josh 18:3).
"Having spent many years wandering in the wilderness -- during which time the older generation died -- the younger generation of Israelites now found themselves on the western side of Jordan, in the Promised Land. Yet, despite years of privation and hardship, many Israelites were prepared to lightly cast aside their new-found inheritance.
"Seven tribes indicated that they were tired of fighting. They had fought the Canaanites for seven years -- a long and protracted war. Now, their earlier dedication had waned. Their faith in Yahweh and zeal for His cause had dissipated.
"They had fought valiantly; and now -- poised on the brink of final and complete victory -- they had given up the struggle. They were 'slack to go to possess the land' [v 3].
"This was a tragic state of affairs: not merely because of the inactivity of the people but because of their disposition.
"At the Judgment Seat of Christ, how many will be found to have started out on their walk towards the Kingdom full of zeal and wholehearted dedication, fired by a love of Yahweh and His saving Truth -- only to surrender to pressures from within and without, and never gain the final victory. Satisfaction or compromise with the existing worldly environment; divided loyalties; a general attitude of indolence; or lack of faith... are influences which may lead men and women of faith to desert the cause they have espoused, and fall by the wayside" (John Ullman, "Joshua: His Life and Times" 193,194).
Reading 2 - Isa 24:23
"The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously" (Isa 24:23).
Here is pictured "the long-overdue repentance of the nation, its self-humiliation before the Man -- whom, formerly, they would not have to reign over them. At that time not only those who are the Lord's true temple, his mount Zion, but also the entire city of Jerusalem will gladly receive Jesus as 'the Lord our Righteousness.' And with them there will be the 'ancients' of the race, the Fathers: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David -- men of faith who received promises, believed them with heart and soul, but who have slept through long centuries till the day of fulfillment. Here, and not here only (Isa 25:8; 26:19) is Isaiah's confident doctrine of the resurrection" (Harry Whittaker, "Isaiah" 264).
Reading 3 - Heb 6:8
"But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned" (Heb 6:8).
The word "adokimos" is translated "reprobate" (Rom 1:28; 2Co 13:5-7; 2Ti 3:8; Tit 1:16), "castaway" (1Co 9:27), and "rejected" (Heb 6:8). It is used to describe a counterfeit coin, deficient as to weight or quality of metal. It is also used, figuratively, to describe a cowardly soldier who fails the test of battle; a candidate rejected for office; and a stone rejected by the builders. In each case, that which is "reprobate" has promised something by its outward appearance which it cannot deliver! It has, perhaps, a "name to live", but it is dead -- like clouds that promise rain, but give none; like stars in the heavens that appear fixed, but prove to be "wandering stars", or meteors.