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Posts Tagged ‘Northern Kingdom of Israel’


Monday, September 14, 2020

mind[1]Amos 3:1-2

Words and Woes

Hear this word, O you of Israel, that the Lord pronounces over you, over the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt: You alone have I favored more than all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your crimes.

These are harsh verses to hear from a God whom we see as forgiving and merciful; yet Amos speaks these words and woes.

God says: I have created you in my image.  I have brought you out of exile. I have healed you, clothed you, and fed you. I have loved you. When you are in crisis I walk with you. When you are fear-filled I protect you. When you are libeled and slandered I defend you. And when you turn away from me I cry out to you. When calamity strikes I am beside you even though you may not see me or feel my presence. I am ever waiting. I am ever yearning. Come to me with all that you have and all that you are.

From Luke 6: Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose twelve, whom he also called Apostles: Simon, whom he called Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.  And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon and came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured. Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because the power came forth from him and healed them all. 

Wisdom 9:13: Who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what God intends? For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans.

We cannot understand the mind of God and yet we see God’s mercy.

We cannot know how God will judge and yet we see God’s justice.

We cannot comprehend the heart of God and yet we see God’s goodness.

Let us go to God with our own words and woes and let us listen for God’s voice.


Image from: http://37stories.wordpress.com/2008/06/30/the-mind-of-christ/

To understand more about the Northern Kingdom of Israel, visit: http://www.gotquestions.org/Israel-Northern-Southern-kingdoms.html

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

oasisEzekiel 37

The Valley of Dry Bones – Part III

The second half of the “Dry Bones” chapter brings us the Oracle of the Two Sticks through which we understand that the splintered kingdoms will be re-united – an event thought totally unbelievable – and that the exile the people suffered was not God’s rejection of them. The chapters following this one describe the battle against Gog and the end-of-time feast in the restored Jerusalem. Thus does this portion of Ezekiel’s prophecy tell the reader that what is thought impossible is possible for God; it tells us that God never abandons us even when we abandon God.  And it tells us that God loves us even when we believe ourselves to be rejected.

What does all of this mean for us?  Ezekiel reminds us that the most hopeless cases have hope in them somewhere, that God acts out of great love to resuscitate what has been lost, and that we are called to do for one another what God does for each of  us.  All things are possible, mirages become real, and sustenance revives us in the desert of our lives when we move toward conversion rather than away from it, when we move through the brittleness of the dry bones and the desert, toward the refreshing, renewing waters of the oasis God provides for us against all human odds.

There is a line in day eight of a St. Jude novena I used to pray:  When the difficult was too great to bear, Saint Jude somehow managed to see that it was lifted.  It was almost as if he had set the pattern for one of the branches of the armed services: “The difficult I shall take care of immediately; the impossible (in terms of human power) may take a little longer”.  Faith found that humility means power in the eyes of God.

ww_pada01[1]

Parry Dalea: This flower blooms in the Tucson desert in Southwestern USA from August to May

And so we humbly turn to God and ask that dry bones be resuscitated, that lost faith be restored, and that stifled hope be returned.  When we stagger under burdens and find ourselves in trackless sands, we must petition God in the knowledge that the impossible is possible knowing that God will always answer, dry bones will always rise, the desert will always bloom and the oasis will always appear.

As we rise to step into a new morning, perhaps still worried with a burden we could not shake, as we tumble into our beds at night, perhaps still weary at the end of a dry day full of impossibility, we must remember to pray for the impossible . . . for God always finds a way.

From Psalm 63: O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting.  My body pines for you, like a dry, weary, land without water . . . For your love is better than life, my lips speak your praise . . . On my bed I remember you . . . On you I muse through the night for you have been my help . . . My soul clings to you . . . your right hand holds me fast.  Amen.

Tomorrow, a prayer from the valley of dry bones.

Adapted from a reflection written on February 18, 2008.

To understand more about the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, why they represent hopes lost, and why it was thought impossible for them to unite, go to: http://biblehub.com/dictionary/k/kingdom_of_israel.htm and http://biblehub.com/dictionary/k/kingdom_of_judah.htm

For more images of beautiful desert and mountain oases in unexpected places, click on the image above or go to: http://scribol.com/featured/desert-oasis/2257/9

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