February 2017 Sacred Discussion

Sacred Discussion Group 4th February 2017

What a cold morning to meet early for breakfast, fortunately the church was warm and the company even warmer!

We were reviewing the new year’s readings from January, what an eventful and encouraging thirteen months have been completed.

This month we read Daniel with his escape from injury in the lion’s den; Esther and her gentle influence on a king; and the minor prophet Haggai; not forgetting the psalms which interspersed these interesting books.

Daniel had been taken into exile by the invading armies and had to live in a hostile environment. We read of how he maintained his integrity and his faith in the face of opposition and intrigue, re-reading the stories of the fiery furnace, the writing on the wall and the lion’s den, and moving on to the prophecies of Daniel some of which were fulfilled over the next 400 years. Daniel never neglected his faith in God and he was never abandoned, God is always in control, in all circumstances.

The two books of the Bible named after women, Ruth is the other, give an indication of God’s care for all people at a time when women were not treated with much respect by their fellow men.

Following the return home of some of the exiles there were some who remained where they had settled in a new land, these ethnic incomers were not always valued by their native contemporaries. Esther showed courage and initiative and her story contains twists and turns in it’s plot. King Xerxes displays fairness and a rough justice in a hostile world and Esther is seen to make the most of her God-given opportunities to rescue her people.

Haggai comes to us a generation after Daniel, when the exiled Jewish nation had returned home. The return from exile hadn’t lived up to expectation though, drought and famine took their toll on the people. Haggai asked, “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house (God’s house) remains a ruin?”

When our priorities are wrong we need to rethink them, the solution here was to embark on a major building project to restore God’s temple. The Lord “stirred up” the people and work began. God’s promise to be with them in their endeavours strengthened and sustained the people and the work was completed in five years! Haggai motivated the people for God.

These readings were interspersed with Psalms which lift and motivate us when we are in need.

We meet again 4th March at 8.30 for breakfast followed by the discussion group at 9.00, all are welcome to come along and share refreshment of both kinds.