February 22, 2021

Looking Over the Overlooked

She made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant.
1 Samuel 1:11
Much is made of the historic oppression of women. Some even use the Hebrew and Christian scriptures to justify it. And while we can find many examples of women's powerlessness in the Bible, they have also played an important rôle in some of the most amazing events in history; their prophecies have accompanied the very turning of the world.

In the Old Testament, we find Hannah praying for God to visit her lowliness. Soon thereafter she gives birth to Israël's future kingmaker, Samuel, who would recognize in the shepherd boy David the makings of a great leader. And in the New Testament, we find Mary being anointed to bring Messiah, Jesus the Son of David, into the world. In both cases, it was women who prophesied God's justice—the downfall of the mighty and the lifting up of the humble.

The scriptures seem to have very little patience for stereotypes. God is as likely to make divine power known in the lives of the weak and the outcast as in the strength of the mighty. May this encourage me to take note of the humble when things are going well for me, and to lift up my eyes to my Deliverer when I am at my lowest. For indeed God casts the strong from their seats of power and lifts up the poor from the ash heap. What more proof do I need than Hannah and Mary that God notices the overlooked?

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.
 Luke 1:46-48
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Thank you, O God, for the example of the prophets Hannah and Mary. Like them, may I recognize that I am your servant; and like them, may I play my part in creating justice in the world.
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After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

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