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.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Secret Treaty: Bible Comment on II Chronicles 16 with poem by Robert Herrick, To God

Daily Readings
Sirach 1, I Kings 15, II Chronicles 16, Jeremiah 14

Daily Text: II Chronicles 16

A Secret Treaty
What is seen in II Chronicles 16 is a strange behavior for one of Asa’s life long trust in the Almighty. Even when Ethiopia came against him with a ‘million’ person army, Asa relied on God. He had himself led efforts in Judah to seek God with all one’s heart. Like Charles Colson, he had bragged that he would step over his mother on his way to carrying out his mission, well, Asa did not exactly brag about it, he did it! So why in the world does Asa panic over Baasha’s threat of building the city of Ramah even if it was close to Jerusalem? He serves the God of both Judah and Israel. Of all men he needs not fear. But he did, and relying on his own cleverness, rather than God, he makes a secret treaty with the king of Aram to come against Baasha from the North in order to deflect his purposeful opposition against Judah. What he did was not wrong, per se; it was evidence of a new lack of trust in the strength and commitment of Almighty God. As it was with Rehoboam, how easy it is to begin to rely on oneself when matters are going well. It is like saying, “I’ve worked hard for my money.” The problem with that is that when the crisis comes we are not likely to remember from ‘whence cometh our help.’ So after 35 years of faithfulness, Asa forgets God. When Hanani, the seer, upbraids him he angrily slaps him in stocks within the prison and begins also to act punishingly with his own people. Never again does he turn to the LORD, even in extremis. What a sad, strange tale.

To God
Robert Herrick

Lord, I am like to mistletoe,
Which has no root and cannot grow
Or prosper, but by that same tree
It clings about: so I by thee.
What need I then to fear at all
So long as I about thee crawl?
But if that tree should fall and die,
Tumble shall heaven, and so down will I.
505:183

Collect for the Day

I have just hung up; why did he telephone?
I don’t know…Oh! I get it…
I talked a lot and listened very little.

Forgive me, Lord, it was a monologue and not a dialogue.
I explained my idea and did not get his;
Since I didn’t listen, I learned nothing,
Since I didn’t listen, I didn’t help,
Since I didn’t listen, we didn’t communicate.

Forgive me, Lord, for we were connected,
And now we are cut off.

[286:357 Michel Quoist]

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