Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 20: Year 2
Morning, Psalms 146 and 147; Evening, Psalms 85, and 86:
Esther 7:1 to 10 or Judith 12:1 to 20; Acts 19:11 to 20; Luke 4:14 to 30
“Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, ‘Look, the very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, stands at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.’ And the king said, ‘Hang him on that” (Esther 7:9), and also:
“She [Judith] came close to his bed, took hold of the hair of his head, and said, ‘Give me strength today, O Lord God of Israel!’ Then she struck his neck twice with all her might, and cut off his head” (Judith 13: 7 and 8).
I have deliberately skipped over the Esther and Judith readings these past days for two reasons. The first, is that I am so fascinated with what was happening in the Acts of the apostles. The second, is that I wanted to wait until the climatic parts of these two Hebrew women’s stories came into view; the parts where they cause the destruction of evil men. I did skip ahead with Judith. The part that I share from Judith today is actually from tomorrow’s reading of Judith. But I wanted to bring these two stories together to show these two faithful and powerful women.
Sometimes we overlook how God works through us in sometimes wrathful ways. Haman (Esther) and Holofernes (Judith), were self-serving men of position. Interestingly, there are other-serving eunuchs (considered less than men due to their mutilations), in both stories. These eunuchs play important roles in the fulfillment of God’s wrath (albeit in Judith’s case, not awares).
We tend to play to our strengths, sometimes as if we had no weaknesses. But we do indeed. And God is aware of our weaknesses. Arrogance blinds us to our weaknesses. Often God uses those, thought to be weak by our calculations, to illumine for us our short comings, our weaknesses. I don’t think such illumination is to our death, but it is often emotionally painful. We should use it as a growth moment.
Esther, Judith and the respective eunuchs are examples of God using the weak to overcome the strong. These stories are similar to the David and Goliath story of 1st Samuel 17. God is never concerned about human strength, position or power. God loves us and God wins every time.
Please continue to keep Ukraine in your prayers. The world is watching, and so is God.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John