Going Deeper …




Scripture Readings for the Week:


2 Samuel 11:1-12:25; Isaiah 61; Luke 14:1-15


If you spend time reading through the Old Testament, you will inevitably encounter a passage of scripture that will cause a visceral reaction within your very being.  The reaction is natural because these passages are shocking and violent.  There are passages that speak of sexual violation and rape at the hands of Israel’s enemies.  The world of the Old Testament was a different time than what we are accustomed to in our progressive context.  What becomes even more troubling is the descriptions of God’s role in all of this, even the image of God as the one who punishes, violates, and shames Israel.



In our passage from Sunday, the writer of Jeremiah paints a picture of God “lifting up the skirt” of Israel to expose their private parts for all to see.  This was a way in which conquering armies dishonored and shamed the conquered.  Reading this and knowing that the writer puts God in the place of shaming Israel is a very disturbing thought.  Why?  Because if God would shame God’s people then, why wouldn’t God shame any of us today?  Yet, we profess that God has and does act differently to those God is inviting into a personal relationship.



I read a recent description that made a lot of sense to me.  Many of us feel guilt over things we have done or not done, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the world knows that we are feeling guilty.  Guilt is internal and can be more easily hidden from the very public world in which we live.  Shame, on the other hand, is different because shame is public.  When you fail publicly or are being publicly called to task, shame is an unwelcome companion.  Luckily for us, Jesus has liberated us from our very public shame.  Jesus, who knew no sin, bore the public shame of our sin by dying on the cross.  Because of this, we are free to live unashamed in Christ Jesus.  God does not publicly shame us because God has taken our shame away.  That is something that we should not be ashamed to tell others!



I pray that this week’s reading of the scriptures, the reflections, and the questions will be a guide and inspiration as you consider the freedom and power God grants us to live unashamed in this life.  I also pray that God bless the reading of God’s Word and the meditations of your heart.








Recall a time when you felt shamed in public.  What were the circumstances and how did it make you feel?     Did anyone come to your defense or rescue?



Do you still carry shame over something you have done or left undone?  Name the event and pray that God empower you to let go of the shame.



Are you a person who uses your power to shame others for what they have done or left undone?  Why do you believe you do this?



Hear again the message that in Christ you are free from your shame.  The foolishness of God is that God took away our shame by dying for us.  What are you ashamed of that you can now be liberated from by God’s love?




Daily Prayer


Gracious and Holy God.  I stand amazed in your presence, humbled by the fact that you will not shame me for my sins.  It is easy to try and make the correlation between doing something wrong or leaving something undone, and the shame that is a result of it.  In our way of thinking about you as holy, righteous, and just, we can certainly make you the one who judges us and cast shame upon us because we are sinners.  Rather, you have loved us and called us forth to be your children.  Through Jesus Christ you have claimed me and others to be liberated from sin and shame.  This is why I stand amazed in your presence.  Thank you for the great gift of your love that has set me free from all that could shackle me, especially my shame.  Help me to live daily in the freedom you have granted to me and use me to share your story with others.      Amen.





If you have thoughts, comments or questions about Sunday’s service or this week’s devotional, please e-mail them to jimh@stjohnsumc.org