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A WORD FOR TODAY, February 20, 2023
“May Yahweh answer you in the day of trouble. May the name of the God of Jacob set you up on high, send you help from the sanctuary, grant you support from Zion, remember all your offerings, and accept your burned sacrifice. Selah. May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your counsel. We will triumph in your salvation. In the name of our God, we will set up our banners. May Yahweh grant all your requests. Now I know that Yahweh saves his anointed. He will answer him from his holy heaven, with the saving strength of his right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust in the name of Yahweh our God. They are bowed down and fallen, but we rise up, and stand upright. Save, Yahweh! Let the King answer us when we call!” Psalm 20, WEB
One of my daily devotions is a Bible reading program that includes a different portion of the Bible each day of the week. I will have read the entire book by the end of the year. The Epistles are on Sunday, the Pentateuch on Monday, the history books on Tuesday, the Psalms on Wednesday, the poetry books on Thursday, the Prophets on Friday, and the Gospels on Saturday. Reading from the different parts of the book means that we won’t give up when we face a difficult section of the scriptures. We know that tomorrow will be better and so we get through the hard reading. I’ve also noticed when I have done this Bible reading program in the past, that those random texts from all over the Bible often line up and confirm the other texts I read that week.
It might be easier to read a little at a time, but it is still difficult because some of the stories are too bloody and violent for us. We don’t always understand the poetry or the apocalyptic language. We don’t get the point of view because it is so different than ours today. And we struggle with some of the stories. How can ever we understand a God who would ask Abraham to sacrifice his beloved child for whom he waited a lifetime? How can we accept the word of a God who would require the destruction of everything in a town by His invading army, even the animals and property? How can we believe the stories when they seem completely unbelievable?
Take the story of Gideon, for instance. He had an army of thousands available to defeat the enemy on his doorstep. Yet, God told him that he had too many for the task at hand. Gideon told the people that whoever wanted to leave could leave, and many left the battlefield to go home. Even with that big loss of men, God told Gideon that 10,000 is too many. “I’ll tell you which men to take,” He said. And in the end, God allowed only three hundred men to go into battle. Imagine you are one of those three hundred men: do you really follow Gideon?
We know that poor Moses was stuck with a nation of people who were not thrilled to be wandering around in the desert for forty years. They complained about everything: no water, no meat, no bread, too much meat, weird food that’s kind of like coriander that they made into bread. They wanted to go home. They wanted it to be done. They wanted someone else to lead them because Moses was not doing things the way they thought it should be done. Yet, in the end they followed Moses because God was with him and God proved Moses to be true.
Is God with our leaders? I suppose there are times when we think that is not true, yet God has a purpose for all of them. We might not agree with the way they are accomplishing their work. We may not like their agenda. We might think that their expectations are ridiculous. I’m not sure I would follow some people into battle or move to a new place if the circumstances were like those found in the scriptures. Yet, we are called to pray for our leaders, to hold them up before God and seek prosperity under their leadership. We might not understand why God has chosen them for this time and place, but we can trust that God knows what He’s doing in all things.
And so, let us take a moment on this Presidents’ Day to pray for our leaders. It is up to us to pray that they will listen to God and do His will so that He will bless them and us through them. When the leaders are blessed, whether they are leaders in a local organization or a global enterprise, whether they are kings or prime ministers or presidents, whether they rule over ten or ten million, the group will be blessed through their leadership. Whether we like them or not, the community is centered on them for a season, and it is up to us to pray for them so that they will do God’s will for the sake of those they lead.
A WORD FOR TODAY is posted five days a week – Monday through Friday. The devotional on Wednesday takes a look at the scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary for the upcoming Sunday. A WORD FOR TODAY is posted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Word-for-Today-Devotional/339428839418276. Like the page to receive the devotion through Facebook. For information and to access our archives, visit http://www.awordfortoday.org