Headlines from the New York Times for Friday, September 22, 2017
World Hunger Haunts the U.N. Festivities
As the leaders of the world posture and sermonize for the United Nations General Assembly this week, a growing global specter should spur common concern among them: World hunger, after a decade-long decline, spiked last year, because of scourges like global warming and civil conflicts that show little sign of abating.
The number of undernourished human beings on the planet increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated, in a report timed for the world leaders’ annual review of their hopes and fears for the planet. That means 11 percent of the world’s population went hungry every day — a 5 percent increase in two years and a severe setback for the United Nations’ goal of eliminating global hunger by 2030.
The human suffering underlying the data includes almost one in four children under 5 years of age — 155 million — with stunted growth and a greatly heightened risk of cognitive damage and susceptibility to infection. Another 52 million children are considered “wasting” — weighing too little for their height, for lack of food.
Readings from the Prophet Hosea for Friday, September 22, 2017
One of my friends used to play basketball in the NBA. He only played one year, even though he was an amazing athlete. As I considered his situation, I realized that the “big time” is very difficult.
The “big time” is difficult for nations, too. The pride that comes from success opens the door to the belief that we can secure our own future. When we attempt to secure our own future, we generally turn away from God and choose substitutes for God (called “idols” in the Bible).
Hosea 10.1-2 – Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased the more altars he built; as his country improved, he improved his pillars. Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars, and destroy their pillars.
God’s merciful activity is to remove the false security of our substitutes for him. Humble obedience to God’s direction is the pathway to the abundant life that God greatly desires for us.
Prayers for Friday, September 22, 2017
Dear God, please help us to turn from the idols of materialism and militarism to a Christ-like relationship with you.