Headlines from the New York Times for Friday, March 3, 2017
Why 20 Million People Are on Brink of Famine in a ‘World of Plenty’ – In a world filled with excess food, 20 million people are on the brink of famine, including 1.4 million children at imminent risk of death. In the face of such grim numbers, a stark question confronts the world’s most powerful: Why in 2017 can’t they avert such a seemingly archaic and preventable catastrophe?
Why are people starving?
Mr. Guterres cited two reasons for the current crisis. First, he said, there is not enough money; the United Nations needs $5.6 billion to address the needs, most of it by the end of March. Barely 2 percent of that money is in hand, he said. Whether the United States, by far the biggest humanitarian donor in the world, will follow through on its commitments under President Trump remains unclear.
Second, all four countries facing the threat of famine are reeling from conflict, and in many instances, the leaders of warring parties are blocking aid workers from delivering relief where it is most needed.
Austerity? Not on This Saudi Itinerary – As part of a month long tour in Asia to promote economic ties, King Salman of Saudi Arabia arrived in Indonesia on Wednesday to great fanfare, accompanied, the news media said, by a retinue with a net worth in the billions of dollars, including about 1,500 people, among them 25 high-ranking princes, 10 ministers and more than 100 security personnel.
They arrived in six Boeing passenger jets and one Lockheed C-130 Hercules, a military transport aircraft carrying 506 tons of cargo, two Mercedes-Benz S600 limousines and two electric elevators for the king’s personal use. An Indonesian freight company told the Antara news agency that it employed 572 workers just to deal with the delegation’s luggage. The king, 81, used a golden-hued escalator to descend from a jet painted with the words “God Bless You.”
Readings from Isaiah 13-14 for Friday, March 3, 2017
I am writing another blog article today, after reading two chapters from Isaiah and two world news articles from the New York Times. Isaiah makes it clear that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. When Jesus said, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first” (Matthew 19.30), I believe many “first-place-finishers” in life will be in last place when they face the justice of God.
Chapters 13 and 14 of Isaiah are not easy reading, but the reader can get the basic message. God is opposed to the proud, who use their position of strength to oppress the vulnerable of the earth. There is a sample of two verses from these chapter below.
Isaiah 13.11 – I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
Isaiah 14.13 and 15 – You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.
Prayers for Friday, March 3, 2017
Dear God, please give hope to the hopeless. Please answer for them Jesus’ great prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Please move upon world leaders. Please help them to acknowledge what John Oswalt (Commentary on Isaiah) has clearly pointed out. “The frightful nature of pride is seen in the fact that it would prefer the world to be a desert in its own hands than a garden in the hands of someone else.”