Devotional Week 42 Friday
“Light arises in the darkness for the upright, gracious, compassionate, and just who are in right standing with God.”
Psalm 112: 4
“Those who knew the path to God, can find it in the dark.”
“It is my comfort to know that the darkest cloud is fringed with covenant love. I can repose on the blessed assurance that all which is mystery now, will be cleared up hereafter. May it be mine cheerfully to follow the footsteps of the guiding Shepherd through the darkest, loneliest road; and amidst thickening sorrows may I have grace to trust Him fully. In the midst of mysterious providences I will be still – hushing every murmur, and breathing in lowly resignation, ‘Thy will be done.’”
Dr. J. R. Macduff
Today’s Study Text:
“And when these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried away silver, gold, and clothing, and went and hid them in the darkness. Then they entered another tent and carried from there also and went and hid it. Then they said one to another, ‘We are not doing right. This is a day of (glad) good news and we are silent and do not speak up! If we wait until daylight, some punishment will come upon us for not reporting at once. So now come, let us go and tell the king’s household. So they came and called to the gatekeepers of the city. They told them, ‘We came to the camp of the Syrians, and behold, there was neither sight nor sound of man there – only the horses and donkeys tied, and the tents as they were.’ Then the gatekeepers called out, and it was told to the king’s household.”
II Kings 7: 8-11
“God Will Take Care of You” Part 10
“A Conscience During Crisis”
“God is more pleased by one work, however small, done secretly without desire that it be known, than a thousand done with the desire that people know of them.”
John of the Cross
What do the actions of the lepers during a time of moral decline tell us about the kind of people these individuals were?
What does my behavior in secret tell about the type of person I am?
“By the work one knows the workman.”
J. de La Fontaine
“A man (or woman) cannot do good before he (she) is made good.”
“To love some one more dearly every day,
To help a wandering child to find their way,
To ponder over a noble thought, and pray,
And smile when evening falls.
This is my task.
To follow truth as blind men long for light,
To do my best from dawn of day till night,
To keep my heart fit for His holy sight,
And answer when He calls.
This is my task.”
Maude Louise Ray
Let’s just say for a moment that you happened to be one of the lepers, barred outside the gates of Samaria. Infirmed and starving to death you happened to decide you’d throw your life into the hands of the Syrian army.
As stealth-like as possible, you quietly lifted up a tent flap and peered inside to see if possibly there was some food left within your reach. However, what you didn’t find shocked you even more than what you found. Not a soldier or servant was anywhere in sight. Grabbing the food and drink was first on your agenda. But then, a voice was heard as one of your comrades called out, “Nobody is home next door.” Much to your amazement, the truth began to dawn. The Syrian army had hit the road.
You didn’t know why the army had gone. You had no idea where the army had chosen to hide. But the evidence pointed to a quick flight.
Now you and your friends were left with the reality that there was an empty camp filled with food, with horses and with donkeys. And yes, there was even more that you found. In the twilight, you were able to spot the silver and gold as well as clothes – extravagant items you had not seen for who knows how long.
What simply amazes me about this story is a phenomenal fact which is highlighted by the behavior of these four men. In spite of being labeled as outcast by those within Samaria, once the full impact of the Syrian armies disappearance hit them, they agreed upon a plan that took into consideration their fellow citizens confined within the wall of Samaria. Although it was the night, they chose to alert the gatekeepers that the Syrian camp was empty so that the suffering within the city would be able to partake of the bounty outside the gates.
There were so many reasons the four lepers could have used to try and hide the Syrian’ loot and keep the bounty for themselves. With the country run by an amoral leader, they could have said they didn’t want to do any thing that would benefit their wicked king. But they didn’t. Commentator Matthew Henry expands on this passage: “They (the lepers) reasoned themselves into a resolution to bring tidings to the city. They feasted in the first tent they came to and then began to think of enriching themselves with the plunder but they corrected themselves with the words, “We do not well” to conceal these good tidings from the community we are members of…though it would awake them from sleep, it would be life from the dead to them. These lepers knew full-well that while they had been banished outside the walls of the city, the citizens, like themselves were suffering “unto death.” As Matthew Henry further notes, it was their own consciences which “told them” not to seek the benefit only for themselves. Then Henry goes on to make this astute observation: “Selfish, narrow-spirited people cannot expect to prosper. The most comfortable advantage is that which our brethren share with us in.”
Despite the suffering these lepers sustained and the evilness which permeated society at this time in history, rather than rationalize away any responsibility toward their neighbors they chose to show compassion upon “all in the city.” Their witness resonates down through history for in the words of Mechtild of Magdeburg, “Compassion means that if I see my friend and my enemy in equal need, I shall help both equally…Here lies the holy compassion of God.”
Creed and Deed
“What care I for caste or creed?
It is the deed, it is the deed!
What for class or what for clan.
It is the man, it is the man;
Heirs of love, and joy, and woe,
Who is high, and who is low?
Mountain, valley, sky, and sea,
Are for all humanity.
What care I for robe or stole?
It is the soul, it is the soul;
What for crown, or what for crest?
It is the heart within the breast;
It is the faith, it is the hope,
It is the struggle up the slope,
It is the brain and eye to see,
One God and one humanity.”
“Blessed is (the one) who does good to others and desires not that others should do (them) good.”
Giles of Assisi
“People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway
If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable.
Be honest and transparent anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Help them anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt.
Give the world your best anyway.”
“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God, tested by trial, a workman who has no cause to be ashamed.”
II Timothy 2: 15
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author