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

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Omnipotence and Omniscience Qualified: II Chronicles 35 with poem by Jehuda Halevi, A New Song

Daily Readings
Sirach 26, II Kings 23:1-30, II Chronicles 35, I Esdras1:1-33

Daily Text: II Chronicles 35

Omnipotence and Omniscience Qualified
What is the meaning of foretelling prophecy, e.g., Huldah’s in 34:26-28, when it is not ultimately accurate? This is not at all unusual in either the Hebrew or Christian testaments. In spite of the high view of Scripture concerning God’s control of earth and heaven, it is not unexpected to see omnipotence and omniscience qualified in history. God’s power is always subject to human response. Presumably, if Josiah, in II Chronicles 35, had not been so determined to stop Pharoah Neco from assisting Assyria, he would not have been so abruptly put into his grave. Certainly, the text indicates that Neco had no desire to be in conflict with him. Perhaps Josiah too had enjoyed power long enough for his ego to be inflated and enjoyed the blessings of God long enough to believe they would be with him regardless of what he did. As his humility delayed the disasters God had prepared for Judah, perhaps his pride brought on those disasters sooner than God intended. The relationship between God and humankind is always responsive. It matters what we do. God can and will listen and God can and will turn his back, so to speak. Free will is so determinative that to rely on predestination apart from human will is to turn a blind eye to the facts of history.

A New Song
Jehuda Halevi

translated by Nina Salaman

The day the saved of God
Traversed the deep dryshod,
Then a new song
Sang Thy redeemed throng.

Lo, sunken in deceit
The Egyptian daughter’s feet,
But lo, the Shulamite (i.e., Israel)
Went shod in fair delight.
Then a new song
Sang Thy redeemed throng.

Thy banners Thou will set
O’er those remaining yet
And gather those forlorn
As gathering ears of corn.
Then a new song
Sang Thy redeemed throng.

Ah, take her as of yore,
And cast her forth no more
Let sunlight crown her day
And shadows flee away.
Then a new song
Sang Thy redeemed throng.

Collect for the Day
Lord, make me according to thy heart.

[286:255 Brother Lawrence, 1611-91]


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