Saturday, August 5, 2017

August 5

Ezra 1:1-2:70; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; Psalm 27:7-14; Proverbs 20:22-23

I've got to be honest with you.  As I opened to today's reading, I was pretty sure my post would read something like, "Lord, show me how all Scripture is useful for teaching, 'cuz this list of the remnant returning to Jerusalem doesn't immediately strike me as useful."

And then, buried in this genealogical record, there's a reference to the line of Barzillai the Gileadite, a man who was faithful to King David even as the king fled from his usurping son, Absalom (see 2 Sam. 19:31).  That his name would have had such significance that both his son-in-law would have adopted it (see Ez. 2:61) and that it would be remembered generations later speaks to the weightiness of his actions during his lifetime.  My father is an excellent man, and Sunukjian is a very interesting name, but my husband Eric wasn't willing to take my name upon our marriage, nor do I anticipate that we'll be recognizable household names in even a hundred years.  Yet Barzillai, this very minor character in Israel's past, remains meaningful.  I'm sure he himself would have been surprised to know that his loyalty to his king - which should have been a foregone conclusion - had such a lasting import.  Where might my "foregone conclusions" have longer-reaching impact?  Where might yours?

Surprised by the train of thought found in Ezra (of all places), I kept reading.  Good stuff in our New Testament reading, but 1 Corinthians 2:2 caught my eye.  "I was resolved to know nothing...except Jesus Christ and him crucified."  Wow.  I mean, what would it look like in my life if the only thing I knew was Jesus as Lord?  If every action, every thought, every word, everything was based off that only thing?  Paul resolved to do this: he decided, he chose, he firmly fixed it in his mind.  It didn't just happen; he made it happen in his life.  How might I determine the same?  How might you?

I needed the reminder of Psalm 27:13-14, too.  We're on vacation and let's just say it hasn't gone according to plan.  It's a temptation to say (and, I must confess, I've already said), "What will go wrong next?"  But I am still confident of the goodness of the Lord and how I experience it in my life.  Wait.  Be strong.  Take heart.  Wait.  Trust.  God is good.  Wait.

Our reading in Proverbs echoes that last thought: "Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you" (Pr. 20:22).  I'm not fighting through abandonment (as the psalmist is), or returning from exile to a desolate land (as the Israelites are), or struggling to guide a church (as Paul is), but I, too, need to remember that God meets me.  In vomiting children and physical exhaustion, he is yet present.  In serious arguments with loved ones, he is present.  In uncertain financial and vocational periods, he is present.  Will I wait and look for his deliverance?  Will you?

Dear friends, be "confident of this: [you] will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" (Ps. 27:13-14).  Amen.

- Sarah Marsh

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you.

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