Strength to Escape
Psalm 17; Job 1:1-22; Luke 21:34-22:6
Three days each week, the lectionary looks backwards to the previous Sunday. We get one Psalm repeated Monday through Wednesday, so today is our last day with Psalm 17. Because I'm preparing for Sunday, I have already looked at the next psalm, Psalm 27. I like how they dovetail together:
Psalm 17:15 "As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness."
Psalm 27:8-9a "'Come,' my heart says, 'seek his face!' Your face, Lord, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me."
The way to see God's face in the Psalms might be through something like righteousness (like Psalm 17:15).
We've been having lots of Satan references in this first-half, looking-back-to-Sunday part of the week. Of course, that's because this past Sunday talked about the temptation of Christ in the wilderness by Satan. Today, we have Job, of course, but also this moment in Luke where Satan "entered Judas." Before the lectionary passage, Jesus has been talking about the destruction of Jerusalem and the coming of the Son of Man, and he has taught an eschatalogical lesson with a fig tree. The we have the first paragraph about being watchful against dissipation, drunkenness, and worry, and being on guard so "that day does not catch you unexpectedly." By proximity, it almost seems like Judas is an example of someone getting caught by that day unexpectedly. Judas was not watchful. He was not alert at all times praying for strength and escape, and Satan entered him.
This Lenten season, may we be alert and pray for strength and to escape our own tendencies to dissipation, drunkenness and worry. The way to see God's face in this section is to not let our hearts be weighed down, to stay alert, and to pray for strength to escape.