Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Monday, June 06, 2005


Daily Readings
Psalm 83 + Judges 2:6-3:6 + Hosea 5 + I Timothy 5

Quote of the Day
And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. I Timothy 5:8

Daily Text: Judges 2:7, 10-11, 14-16, 18-19, 20-23
7The people worshiped the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel. 10Moreover, that whole generation was gathered to their ancestors, and another generation grew up after them, who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. 11Then the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and worshiped the Baals; 14So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers who plundered them, and he sold them into the power of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. 15Whenever they marched out, the hand of the LORD was against them to bring misfortune, as the LORD had warned them and sworn to them; and they were in great distress. 16Then the LORD raised up judges, who delivered them out of the power of those who plundered them. 18Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD would be moved to pity by their groaning because of those who persecuted and oppressed them. 19But whenever the judge died, they would relapse and behave worse than their ancestors, following other gods, worshiping them and bowing down to them. They would not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. 20So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel; and he said, "Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their ancestors, and have not obeyed my voice, 21I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died." 22In order to test Israel, whether or not they would take care to walk in the way of the LORD as their ancestors did, 23the LORD had left those nations, not driving them out at once, and had not handed them over to Joshua.
Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Joshua 24:28-31 is the prologue for this chapter, basically repeated here in verses 6-10. The result is the appointment of judges, men whose life and gifts allow God to use them to give respite to the unfaithful who continue to be God’s chosen people. Finally, we come to the final four verses of chapter that give the substance to the chapter. In those days following Joshua and all who have known God’s working during the days of Joshua, God allows the surrounding nations to test Israel’s faithfulness to the covenant and finds them wanting. Beyond that the Deuteronomist goes on to say that God left those nations in place specifically to test Israel’s faithfulness. This creates an anomaly, because our understanding to this point is not that God left the nations in place to test Israel, but that Israel failed to follow God’s command and chose not to drive these nations out.

Is there some attempt here to use 2:23-3:6 to counteract chapter one of Judges? At least for us in the 21st century, the people failed or God arranged for them to fail. How can it be both? And yet, that contradiction seems to stand in the text. It is a prime example of a textual seam, that is, evidence of more than one editor, editors with differing theological presuppositions. Either way, failing to follow God’s command, or tested by God, the Israelites fail the test.

As in so many experiences in life, we can only know the meaning of what happens in the present, by looking back later and interpreting that past. And still we do not know how it is that God works or worked. We only surmise and attempt to move on with that surmise as our learning. Maturity often requires complexity, when simplicity and straightforwardness is what we desire.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

Simple Gifts
Shaker song, 18th century

‘Tis the gift to be simple,
‘tis the gift to be free,
‘tis the gift to come down
where we ought to be,
and when we find ourselves
in the place just right,
‘twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained
to bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
to turn, turn, will be our delight
till by turning, turning we come round right.

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.


Post a Comment

<< Home