Posted by: Pauline | February 18, 2013

Scriptures for Sunday February 24

Psalm 142

Life’s troubles often seem a lot more bearable if they are shared with someone else. A friend to encourage us, a shoulder to lean on when we’re feeling down, just knowing someone else is there and cares. But David didn’t have that – he felt all alone, and utterly overwhelmed by his troubles.

When David says “Look to the right” (“Look on my right hand” in the RSV), he is referring to where, in his day, a trusted assistant might have been expected to be – a “right hand man.” But there is no one there.

He knows, though, that there is Someone who is always there, and he cries out to God. He knows God cares about what is happening to him, even if it may not appear that way at the time. And he believes that God will deliver him from his current troubles, and that he will again be surrounded by friends.

Gen 32:24-30

Jacob also found himself alone, though in his case he had intentionally sent everyone else on ahead of him. The text says “a man” wrestled with him all night. According to Hosea 12:4, Jacob wrestled with an angel. Jacob himself concludes later that he has seen God face to face.

Whatever the exact nature of that strange wrestling match, the outcome was that Jacob was made helpless when his hip was put out of joint. All his life he been able to make clever plans and carry them out to bring about what he wanted. Now there is nothing he can do but beg for God’s blessing.

So God blesses him – but leaves him with a limp so that he will remember this encounter for the rest of his life.

Eph 3:14-21

Paul isn’t alone, but he knows that the blessings he desires for the Christians at Ephesus can only come from God. He is confident that God will not only bless them, but that God will bless them far beyond what he or they can ask for or imagine.

I don’t know whether the author of the words of “O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High” (it is attribute to Thomas à Kempis) had Eph. 3:18-19 in mind, but it is a wonderful hymn to “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”

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