Headlines from the New York Times for Monday, March 13, 2017
Nigeria’s Battles With Boko Haram Scar the Land and Its People – From the sky, Borno State, the region where Boko Haram is most active, is a patchwork of fallow farmland, swaths of desert and a few swampy areas. Famine-like conditions are raging in the area, a region with a rich history of agriculture. Boko Haram has chased off all the farmers, and the militants themselves have fallen victim to food shortages.
Most farms are inoperable around here. Famine was declared in pockets of Borno State last year. Many communities are sealed off from safety as insurgents scatter from hide-outs in the forest, pushed out by recent military operations. Humanitarian groups face huge logistical challenges getting food and other supplies to people in need. Even roads the military says are safe now have been attacked by insurgents.
(Note, if you have access to the New York Times on the Internet, you will find striking photographs of a the suffering in this region of our world.)
Readings from Isaiah 25.1-12 for Monday, March 13, 2017
Isaiah 25.1 and 4 speak of God’s provision for his people. O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. 4 For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.
Note the phrase, “You are my God.” It is as if singer of this song is saying, “I want a being like you for my God. I want to belong to one as powerful and faithful as you. You have shown me that you do truly belong to me, because you have not abandoned me to the oppressor, you have kept faith with me when I was so afraid you had forgotten me. You are my God.”
The tone of this passage is once again God’s attack on human pride and arrogance. God attacks pride for two reasons: First, it does not work. It disregards God and chooses to not follow his directions for life. Second, it harms other human beings. Human pride and human well-being are incompatible and God is committed to human well-being.
Prayers for Monday, March 13, 2017
Dear God, I pray for suffering people like those in the Borno State of Nigeria. Please be to them a refuge and a shelter from their enemies. I pray for leaders in Nigeria and around the world that their policies will reflect trust in you, your character and your ways.