Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today
NL Daily Devotion for Sunday, November 11, 2018
by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff
Main Idea: Time spent nurturing relationships is time well spent.
Micah begins with a promise—that God will send one to redeem Israel. The one will come from Bethlehem and will bring peace. He will shepherd the flock of Israel and will reign in the name of the Lord. Sound familiar?
In response to God’s great deed, Micah wonders how he will praise God. With burnt offerings? With calves, or rams, or rivers of oil? With his firstborn? No, God doesn’t require any of these things. What pleases God isn’t as much what we do for God, but what we do for each other. God asks that we “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.”
Justice, love, kindness, and humility are all relational qualities. From the beginning, God created us to be in community. When God claimed God’s people and delivered them from slavery in Egypt, God’s first order of business was to establish God’s laws—specific guidelines for how to live in community. We are relational beings—without others we can literally die of isolation and loneliness.
Recently I found myself behind in my work. I had several days in a row with time to catch up. On the second of those days, I spent an hour in the morning talking with my sister, I spent three hours catching up with my best girlfriend, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon with my daughter. In the evening, when I hadn’t done any of my work, I was tempted to regret not having spent the day on my laptop. But then I realized I had spent the entire day nurturing my relationships. Put in that perspective, I felt quite content having invested my time in that way.
Our relationships are crucially important—the ones with the people we love, the ones with the people we don’t, and the ones with people we don’t even know. Justice often requires we invest time looking out for people who can’t look out for themselves. Kindness requires we cultivate patience for all people. Humility requires we put ourselves in our rightful place below God. Time spent nurturing our relationships is time well spent.
Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:
Micah [1:3-5]; 5:2-5a; 6:6-8
[For lo, the Lord is coming out of his place,
and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth.
Then the mountains will melt under him
and the valleys will burst open,
like wax near the fire,
like waters poured down a steep place.
All this is for the transgression of Jacob
and for the sins of the house of Israel.
What is the transgression of Jacob?
Is it not Samaria?
And what is the high place of Judah?
Is it not Jerusalem?]
The Ruler from Bethlehem
But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labour has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace.
If the Assyrians come into our land
and tread upon our soil,
we will raise against them seven shepherds
and eight installed as rulers.
What God Requires
‘With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?