Great Plains Daily Devotional for 3/20/19

Today please be in prayer for

James Smith
Friends University, Professor and Chair of Dept of Religion
Wichita East District
Nathan D. Stanton
Director of Congregational Excellence
Wichita East District
Cynthia Wilson
Assoc. General Secretary: Discipleship Ministries, Nashville, TN
Wichita East District
Kathy Noble
United Methodist Communicatoins, Editor
Wichita East District

Today's Lectionary Text

2 Chronicles 20:1-12 

After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom,from beyond the sea; already they are at Hazazon-tamar” (that is, En-gedi). Jehoshaphat was afraid; he set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the towns of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not God in heaven? Do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In your hand are power and might, so that no one is able to withstand you. Did you not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? They have lived in it, and in it have built you a sanctuary for your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house, and before you, for your name is in this house, and cry to you in our distress, and you will hear and save.’ See now, the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession that you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgment upon them? For we are powerless against this great multitude that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”


Today's Devotional

As I read this passage, I was reminded of how often the Old and New Testament scriptures recount the history of the relationship between their ancestors and God.  “Did you not act before to save the people,” Jehoshaphat declares. Once again, the people of Israel are crying out in distress, trusting that God will hear and save. And so, their eyes are on the Lord again as their source of help because they don’t know what to do. They know to trust God to lead them and guide them because they know that God has done so in the past.

I am not sure many of us do this very well anymore – tell how God has acted in our lives, where God has brought us out of despair to victory, or how our faith in Jesus Christ has given us new hope. Possibly it is because we no longer are a “people” unified by lineage in the same way the tribes of Israel were. We don’t have a common history to share with people and so we don’t tell the stories of who we are. And maybe we’re just not comfortable talking about our personal experience of God with other people – maybe we don’t trust that our experience is of God, or maybe we’re not sure how others will receive our witness. After all, it is highly uncomfortable to be laughed at for what we believe.

Yet, our churches should be the place where this happens, where the history of encounters with God is shared. One of the most rewarding experiences when I have moved to a new appointment is learning the stories of who they are -- what have they done in the past that has sustained them; how have they been the hands and feet of God in the community; when was God’s presence made real among them. But this history often dies off with the oldest members of the faith community. Maybe it is time to reclaim the oral history tradition so that people know God is real and still active in the lives of believers.
-Rev. Nancy Lambert
Director of Clergy Excellence

Prayer for Reflection

Holy God, my light and salvation, help me to tell the story of your presence in my life so that others may come to know you and your abundant love and grace.


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