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A message for the week starting on Sunday 4 September 2022

Lectionary Week: 13th Sunday After Pentecost

Prescribed Texts: Jeremiah 18:1-11,  Psalms 139:1-18,  Philemon 1-21,  Luke 14:25-33

Such Divine Knowledge Is Too Wonderful To Fully Comprehend

Focus Text:  Psalm 139: 1-18

After Psalm 23, Psalm 139 is surely one of the best known and best loved chapters in the book of Psalms. I love the emphasis on God’s hand holding us in just every and any place we might find ourselves. The Psalmist writes in verses 7-10 about all the places where he could go and that even there, God’s hand would hold him. Such places include heaven (v8a), the grave (v8b), the ‘wings of the morning’ (v9a) and the farthest oceans (9b) – a fairly comprehensive list indeed of where the Psalmist would never be far away from God’s omniscient presence.

But perhaps even more precious, are the first 6 verses, as well as verses 13-18. All of these verses speak of God’s intimate knowledge of each one of us. Here are a few highlights of this ‘knowledge: Verse 1b: You know everything about me; v13: You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb; v17: How precious are your thoughts towards me, O God. They cannot be numbered (own emphasis New Living Testament).

In the reading from Samuel, we read about God’s very specific and individual call to Samuel. Even though Samuel didn’t recognise His voice and kept running to Eli, God kept calling him. When he was finally able to recognise that it was God who was calling him, his immediate response was: “Speak Lord, your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:10).

In a world where so many people are living with HIV and with the ongoing stigma of the disease, surely these scriptures illustrating God’s total and intimate knowledge of each one of us, should be a compelling incentive to trust Him for each single day as He is the Son of God, the King of the Universe.

The Corinthians text remind us, that we, as Samuel, are messengers or errand runners for Christ (2 Cor 4:5). And there is comfort in knowing that even despite troubles and challenges and uncertainty when we do not know what to do, “we know God knows what to do . . . God hasn’t left our side” (v8). The God who knows us intimately, and who holds is in His hand, this God is calling us to be His ambassadors and messengers and promises to never leave our side.

To Think About: What message could you share through your life in a world where so many people are living with HIV and with the ongoing stigma and challenges of the disease?

Written by:  Rev. Jessica McCarter, assistant minister at St James Anglican Church in Ladybrand, Diocese of the Free State and trained Churches Channels of Hope (CCoH) facilitator