With God, We Shall Do Valiantly
by Kimberly Pieratt
Psalm 107:33-43, Psalm 108, Psalm 33, Exodus 2:23 – 3:15, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Mark 9:14-29
(BCP Readings for today)
I confess that I was quite bumfuzzled with the readings for today. They didn’t seem to fit together in any way, and the psalms…why didn’t I get something like “the Lord is my shepherd” or create in me a clean heart”?! But as I studied and meditated, a story emerged.
God heard his people groaning, and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. So he said to Moses, “I know their sufferings, and I am going to use you to deliver them out of Egypt and bring them to a good land filled with plenty for all.
Moses said, “If I go to your people and tell them this, who shall I say sent me?” And God said, “Tell them I am who I am; the Lord, the God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has sent me to you.”
Jesus, having been transfigured before their very eyes, was heading back to town with his closest companions, Peter, James, and John. They came across the other disciples having an altercation with the townspeople. When Jesus asked what was going on, a man answered him, “My son has a spirit that seizes him and throws him to the ground. I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they weren’t able.” Jesus commanded the spirit to leave the boy, and he was healed.
Later, his disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast out the spirit, and Jesus told them, “You must spend time in communion [prayer] with my Father. He helps those who call on him and do not try to lean on their own self-sufficiency.”
Jesus admonishes us that God delivers his people when they cry out to him. As the psalmist reminds us, we are not saved by the king’s great army, nor by a warrior’s strength. A war horse will not be our salvation. Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield. God promised his people a land of milk and honey, and he delivered. With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.
At first glance, Paul’s famous treatise on love does not seem to fit a theme of calling out to God and receiving his deliverance. But as Paul tells us:
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God [that he hears our cries for deliverance], hope unswervingly [that he will rescue us from our enemies and ourselves], love [God and our neighbors] extravagantly.