10 So Joshua did as Moses told him and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’s hands grew heavy, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on either side, so his hands were steady until the sun set. 13 And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the sword.
This story of the Hebrews is one of leadership and God’s provision. Joshua was invited by Moses to step in and lead in ways that Moses was unskilled in, while he went to the mountain and interceded to God for them. It was as important for him to be faithful to his work as it was for Joshua to lead the army against their enemies. And in this story we see the interdependence of leaders, regardless of established hierarchy.
- As you think of your role in your context, what is yours to do?
- To whom do you look for direction and guidance?
- Where is God as you ponder your daily work?
Gracious God, thank you for the gifts you have given each of us and your invitation to exercise ours while empowering others to use theirs. Protect us from an attitude that lifts one person’s ordained work above another, but help us instead to be faithful to what is ours to do and appreciative of the works of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a remembrance in a book and recite it in the hearing of Joshua: I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called it, The Lord is my banner.
God wanted to make sure Joshua, the one in the trenches with the army, knew that God was on his side, empowering him to win the battle. Sometimes in the hierarchy of an organization, the word and encouragement of God doesn’t make it down to the ones who are faithfully doing the work. God had encouragement for Joshua and asked Moses to be the mouthpiece.
- When have you been in a place of needing encouragement?
- What do you need to hear today from God or someone around you?
- Is there someone you know who needs the encouragement of God? What would it look like to reach out to them today?
Gracious God, you bless and encourage us and we thank you. As we hear your words that give us strength to go on, help us to recall those in our lives who need the same words of encouragement and to pass them on in your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and when he went into the Pharisee’s house he reclined to dine. 37 And a woman in the city who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. 38 She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair, kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.”
In this account, a Pharisee is practicing hospitality by inviting Jesus into his home. However his heart of hospitality shrinks when a woman, identified as “a sinner,” finds Jesus and comes in and audaciously worships him. Rather than creating space in his home and heart for curiosity and graciousness, he turns to judging Jesus allowing himself to be honored by one already judged as a sinner.
- From where is the Pharisee taking his cues as he lives into his capacity for hospitality?
- How does Jesus’ hospitality in this moment contrast with the Pharisee’s?
- Where do you find yourself in this story?
Gracious God, thank you for your perfect hospitality, that you have the space for all people to come and be audacious before you, and that you receive it with gratitude and gentleness. We confess our limits, preferring to reach out to those who are safe and make us look and feel good. Forgive us and transform us, that we might reflect you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Jesus responded to what he knew was going on with Simon in a way that didn’t shame him but drew him into a situation that he could relate to and that also related to the situation at hand. He brought in the power of forgiveness and its impact on the capacity to love for the one forgiven.
- How has your experience of forgiveness impacted your capacity to love?
- How would you describe the debt that God has forgiven of you?
- What is your prayer to God in light of His forgiveness?
Gracious God, thank you for the reminder of how each of us have experienced your forgiveness of the debt we owe. Help us to live in the freedom of being forgiven and to allow that freedom to turn us into people of love, free from judgment. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
44 Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven loves little.” 48 Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
One of the core desires of humans is to be seen. Jesus “turned toward the woman” and implored Simon to see her as well. Not as a sinner, but as one who was forgiven greatly and was able to love greatly. She was seen, forgiven, and blessed by Jesus, while those looking on continued to miss the invitation to forgiveness and love.
- How easy is it for you to live in the freedom of forgiveness rather than feeling like you are trying to make up for sin and failures?
- What can you learn from this woman’s example?
- What is God inviting you to as you reread this passage (Luke 7:36-49)?
Gracious God, thank you for seeing us, forgiving us, and blessing us with your peace. Help us to live into a life of freedom and love, to “go in peace,” rather than staying caged by the judgement of ourselves or others. Continue to show up who you are and give us hearts to see your heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.