Strangers

Day 111

Prayer for the day

For the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.

Scripture for the day

2 Samuel 14-15, Luke 17:1-19

It’s easy to get caught in the web of self-importance that so quickly entangles. We see it in all sorts of different forms of faith (and politics, economics, etc). We become so self-concerned, so self-important, that we too easily forget that we as humans have very little to differentiate us. We are the same, essentially, and have the same standing.

We see xenophobia all over the place in our culture. Call it racism, profiling, selective hiring processes, or national protectionism. What happens is the regular dehumanization of people who differ from us only in their place and ethnicity of origin. We shouldn’t minimize difference or pretend that it doesn’t exist. What we need to avoid is the fear and hatred that springs from an improper emphasis on the difference and value judgments associated with that emphasis.

In the First Testament story today, David encounters a man named Ittai the Gittite, who is fleeing the city with David while his son Absalom is making his way to Jerusalem. David urges Ittai to go back to the city but Ittai makes a strange statement: “As surely as the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.” We see extraordinary loyalty in one who has barely known the king.

In the Second Testament story, Jesus heals ten men of their skin disease (leprosy or something like it). Only one returns to give thanks, and this one is an outsider, despised by the people to whom Jesus belongs. The one who returns should be the one who has no time for the Jewish folk, yet he comes back to say thank you to the God who healed him.

In both of these stories, we see the work of God and the character of God evidenced by people who don’t have any right (naturally) to be evidencing these things. They’re amazing pictures of the God who works in His own people and those “outside” the fold. We would be wise to take note that God does not ONLY work in our circles.

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