Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.” I once spent several summer days in the Negeb Desert. It was hot; I was thirsty. Even the camels were thirsty. There was no water, but there were watercourses!
Watercourses, streambeds. Wadis, they call them. A wadi is the bed or gully of a stream that’s dry most of the time. And these wadis were dry. But my friend, a Bedouin, told me how they erupt with gushing, glorious water when the rains come.
The people of Israel went through many a dry spell, literally and figuratively. At times they felt deserted by God and disconnected from one another. Many times hope was hard to come by, times when the very act of hoping seemed hopeless.
And still the people trusted in God. Still they looked to a time of restoration of their fortunes—a time when they would once again dream, laugh, shout with joy. A time when even the Gentiles would say, “The Lord has done great things” for them.
Every nation has its times of trial. Times when kings and presidents and prime ministers fail the people. Times when the economy fails the people. Times when justice is hard to find; peace is elusive; rights are trampled. Dry spells. Thirsty times. Times when it is hard to hope. And yet, we know that God will never abandon us. The God who may not come when we want but who is always on time. Soon and very soon.
I have had my share of dry spells, frustrating times, times of despair. Times when “even hope seems hopelessness,” as the hymn puts it (“Cuando El Pobre,” UMH, no. 434). Do I still trust God in those times? Do you?
God, give me hope. Lead me into the future where you already are. Amen.
Second Samuel records the final words of David. David takes comfort in the covenant that God has made with his family, which must be continued by kings who will honor God and rule justly. The psalmist sings of this same covenant with David’s family and the same necessity to follow God’s decrees in order to rule well. Revelation opens with a vision of Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant, the King to rule over all kings for all time. Many expected Jesus to set up a political kingdom. Yet in John, Jesus tells Pilate that his kingdom is not an earthly one. This week let us thank God that the kingdom is based not on the exercise of power but on Jesus’ example of serving others.
• Read 2 Samuel 23:1-7. Upon your deathbed, what would you like your last words to be?
• Read Psalm 132. What is your vision of Paradise? Who will be seated around your table?
• Read Revelation 1:4b-8. How do you bear faithful witness to “the Alpha and the Omega”?
• Read John 18:33-37. To whom do you pledge allegiance? To whom do you give lip service?
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