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

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Fear and Incompetence Notwithstanding

Feast of St. Barnabas

Daily Readings
Psalm 88 + Judges 7:1-8:3 + Hosea 10 + II Timothy 4

Quote of the Day
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; breakup your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. Hosea 10:12

Daily Text: Judges 7:2-7, 9-18
2The LORD said to Gideon, "The troops with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand. Israel would only take the credit away from me, saying, 'My own hand has delivered me.' 3Now therefore proclaim this in the hearing of the troops, 'Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home.'" Thus Gideon sifted them out; twenty-two thousand returned, and ten thousand remained. 4Then the LORD said to Gideon, "The troops are still too many; take them down to the water and I will sift them out for you there. When I say, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go with you; and when I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go." 5So he brought the troops down to the water; and the LORD said to Gideon, "All those who lap the water with their tongues, as a dog laps, you shall put to one side; all those who kneel down to drink, putting their hands to their mouths, you shall put to the other side." 6The number of those that lapped was three hundred; but all the rest of the troops knelt down to drink water. 7Then the LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred that lapped I will deliver you, and give the Midianites into your hand. Let all the others go to their homes."
9 That same night the LORD said to him, "Get up, attack the camp; for I have given it into your hand. 10But if you fear to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah; 11and you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to attack the camp." Then he went down with his servant Purah to the outposts of the armed men that were in the camp. 12The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley as thick as locusts; and their camels were without number, countless as the sand on the seashore. 13When Gideon arrived, there was a man telling a dream to his comrade; and he said, "I had a dream, and in it a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came to the tent, and struck it so that it fell; it turned upside down, and the tent collapsed." 14And his comrade answered, "This is no other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, a man of Israel; into his hand God has given Midian and all the army." 15When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped; and he returned to the camp of Israel, and said, "Get up; for the LORD has given the army of Midian into your hand."
16 After he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and put trumpets into the hands of all of them, and empty jars, with torches inside the jars, 17he said to them, "Look at me, and do the same; when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. 18When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets around the whole camp, and shout, 'For the LORD and for Gideon!'"

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Fear and Incompetence Notwithstanding
Two thirds of Gideon’s force goes home when they receive permission to go if they are afraid. Of the ten thousand remaining the LORD sets up a test and with it picks the 300 least alert, least military in bearing, least prepared to fight and with them wins the battle.
The armies of Gideon, all 300 of them, are camped opposite the Midianites whose camel troops alone seem more than the sand of the sea. The LORD invites Gideon, if he is afraid, to go down stealthily into the camp. Obviously he is fearful for he goes and coming close to a couple sentries hears one regale the other with a dream and its interpretation that Gideon will roll right over Midian’s forces. Gideon doesn’t wait further. He is now convinced that God is going to do more than rain water on a fleece. He takes his men in three small companies and surrounds the camp, with ram’s horns in one hand and a torch covered by a jar in the other. With great fanfare they the blow the trumpets, break the jars and stand while the Midianites destroy themselves and then flee toward the Jordan River with the emboldened Israelites galumphing in hot pursuit.

How often we without direction attempt to do the LORD’s work with Gideon’s incompetent army. If only we would step out on faith, how much He could do with us!
The lesson that God can do much with a few has not been lost.

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

Lines Written in Her Breviary
Ste. Theresa, 1515-1582; tr. By
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee;
All things are passing;
God never changeth;
Patient endurance
Attaineth to all things;
Who God possesseth
In nothing is wanting;
Alone God sufficeth.

(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