Coming from a small Caribbean island, I find that the opportunity to take long, uninterrupted drives is one of the things I enjoy about living in the United States. For me, these drives offer an opportunity to step back from the many situations I’m facing, relax, and receive new insight before reengaging. They are liberating experiences.
In the Bible, the theme of liberation is found from cover to cover. Early on, God is the one who, through human instruments, sets the Israelites free from bondage. Liberation is found in the Gospel of Luke when Emmanuel—God incarnate—reads revolutionary words from the prophet Isaiah and states, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Liberation is found in the book of Revelation which, among other things, is believed to be God’s great message of hope to oppressed believers.
Today’s text from Psalm 34 reminds us again of God’s desire to see God’s people set free—to liberate them from belittling situations, systems, spiritual forces, and thoughts—to enable them to live meaningful and purposeful lives. When we think of this psalm written by David, who experienced miraculous deliverance at God’s hands, these words invite us as Christians to seek to remain planted by the streams of living water that are found in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
Lord, day after day, grant me the desire to remain in your way and to lean on you for all things. Amen.
Sometimes we can look back and see why challenging things happened to us, but this is not always the case. Job never fully understood his story but finally submitted his life to God in humility. In Job’s case, God restored with abundance. The psalmist also rejoices that although the righteous may suffer, God brings ultimate restoration. The reading from Hebrews continues celebrating Christ’s role as the compassionate high priest. Unlike human high priests, who serve only for a time, Christ remains our priest forever. A man without sight in Jericho knows of Jesus’ compassion and cries out for it, despite attempts to silence him. He asks Jesus for mercy, physical healing in his case, and Jesus grants his request because the man has displayed great faith.
Read Job 42:1-6, 10-17. What are your happy and unhappy endings? How do you acknowledge both?
Read Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22. How does God deliver you from your fears? Recall a recent experience of this.
Read Hebrews 7:23-28. What distinction do you draw between sacrifice and offering?
Read Mark 10:46-52. How do you respond to Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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