Great Plains Daily Devotional for 11/16/2018

Today please be in prayer for

Ogden Friendship House
Flint Hills District
Olsburg UMC
Westmoreland UMC
Flint Hills District
Osage City UMC
Reading UMC
Flint Hills District
Saffordville UMC
Flint Hills District

Today's Lectionary Text

1 Samuel 2:1-10 

“My heart exults in the Lord;
    my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
    because I rejoice in my victory.

“There is no Holy One like the Lord,
    no one besides you;
    there is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
    let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
    and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
    but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
    but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
    but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
    he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
    he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
    he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
    and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
    and on them he has set the world.

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
    but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
    for not by might does one prevail.
The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
    the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
    he will give strength to his king,
    and exalt the power of his anointed.”

Today's Devotional

This is one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture. I find this prayer of Hannah’s to be one of the most important and powerful pictures of the character of Yahweh that we have. For me, the prayer’s power comes from the one-two punch of two very important themes:

The first theme is Yahweh’s power. Hannah describes Yahweh as holy above every other God or created thing. Yahweh is the strong rock, the God of knowledge, the one who gives and takes life, who shatters his enemies to pieces. Yahweh is the one who set creation on its foundations. Hannah paints a truly majestic and intimidating picture of Yahweh as the all-powerful God over all creation.

The second theme, which arrives almost like a punchline, describes the way Yahweh uses his power. One might expect that this God of power would align himself with powerful people. Conventional wisdom would say that a nation’s god would show its power by helping the king in expanding the nation’s borders and wealth. But, according to Hannah, Yahweh shows his power by doing exactly the opposite. Instead of being aligned with earth’s strongest, Yahweh aligns himself with the weak and needy. He gets down into the dust with the poor in order to raise them up and give them a place of honor. Yahweh breaks the weapons of the strong in order to stop their campaigns of oppression. Rather than valuing power and strength, Yahweh values faithfulness, humility and justice.

As Hannah’s spiritual descendants in following Yahweh, we must continually ask ourselves where our values lie. As Christians in the United States, are we aligning ourselves with empire or the people under the empire’s boot? Yahweh shows us that true power is expressed in humble service of our needy neighbor; and this is a lesson we American Christians need more now than ever.
Jake Wiese
Youth Director
St. Andrew’s UMC, Omaha, NE
Missouri River District
 

Prayer for Reflection

Yahweh, Lord of creation, please remind me constantly that you are a God who cares for the needy and oppressed. Humble me whenever I get caught up in power games; and open my eyes to the needs of my human sisters and brothers. Amen.
 

 

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