13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
14 Let all those be put to shame and confusion
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who desire my hurt.
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
David is expressing deep vulnerability here, acknowledging that he sometimes feels attacked, diminished, and wounded by those around him, and his response is that they feel the same way – ashamed, confused, dishonored. The honesty of his interaction with God is an invitation to us as well to acknowledge to God when we have feelings and responses like David, and wait for him to remind us who we are.
- Where are you feeling diminished, attacked, and/or wounded?
- How are you responding to these threats and how easy is it to name them before God?
- Where to you need God to deliver and help you?
Gracious God, thank you for the example of David, one close to your heart, who laid out his desires and feelings before you, knowing that you would embrace him in his hurt and desire that others feel the same. We confess that we find ourselves in these verses in one way or another, and thank you that you embrace us in our gut reactions hold us close as we hurt. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God.
This psalm ends with joy and with vulnerability once again. David asks on behalf of God’s people that they find joy and salvation and declare God’s greatness. And he does this even as he continues to struggle to find shalom within himself. But whether rejoicing or expressing needs, David knows that the God he loves and serves will meet all where they are at to help them and deliver them.
- How are you feeling in light of the blessings and challenges of your life?
- What would you ask God to do for you today?
- Is there someone in your life who needs a word of encouragement or who could give you a needed word of encouragement?
Gracious God, thank you that you are present in our joy and in our neediness. Give us the grace to rejoice with and for those who seek you and are experiencing shalom, as well as those who are needy and struggling to experience your presence, your help, and your deliverance. We lean into your infinite love and compassion with gratitude. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Once while Jesus was standing beside the Lake of Gennesaret and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
Jesus is resourceful and not afraid to use what and who are available, regardless of their status. As the crowds pressed in, he asked Simon, a fisherman at the time, to push his boat out a ways with Jesus in it and from there Jesus proclaimed the good news to the crowd and to Simon.
- Where might you be invited to participate in Jesus’ mission in the world?
- What disqualifications do you put on yourself or feel put on you by others?
- Is there a way you can give yourself wholeheartedly to the work that God wants to do in and through you?
Gracious God, thank you that you can and do use anyone who is available and willing to do what you ask. Help us to hear your invitation to participate in your mission in the world and to have the courage to follow you for our transformation and the transformation of the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to burst. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’s knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all who were with him were astounded at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
Jesus finished with the crowds, but he wasn’t finished with Simon. Simon had worked behind the scenes and provided a place from which Jesus could safely preach, but now Jesus wanted to invite him to a deeper faith and with that a broader ministry. Simon expresses his hopelessness in what Jesus is telling him to do, but still obeys. And in his obedience, he and his fishing partners experience the abundance of God and are then called to an even greater purpose.
- Where have you experienced an opportunity to participate in God's mission?
- Is there a place where God is calling you to greater participation?
- What does faith look like as you seek to follow Him into this next chapter?
Gracious God, thank you for inviting each of us to participate in your mission in the world, whether in big or small ways. Thank you that no act of following you is too small. Help us to listen for your voice and be willing to step beyond our comfort zone in order to follow you into all that you have for us. In Jesus' name, Amen.
12 Once when he was in one of the cities, a man covered with a skin disease was there. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 13 Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I am willing. Be made clean.” Immediately the skin disease left him.
Often people with skin diseases were banished from crowds and social situations out of fear of contagion. This man showed much vulnerability, moving into the crowd and then throwing himself before Jesus, acknowledging his power to heal, but not assuming his desire to heal. What a compassionate response for Jesus to touch him, first of all, and then willingly restore him physically, emotionally, and socially.
- Are there places where you don’t feel welcome? Why?
- Where in your life do you wonder if Jesus is able and/or willing to heal you?
- What do you want to say in this moment to him about this place of need?
Gracious God, what beautiful words – I am willing – and what a beautiful act, to reach out to the man who craved human touch as much as being healed. With his faith and vulnerability, we come to you today with our deepest desires asking you to be as willing as you are able to heal and restore us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.