By Dr. Zebedi Muga
Bringing God to the center of our life and work and our time
The first reading (2 Ki. 16 – 18), describes issues affecting Israel in the period just before the fall of the Northern Kingdom. It shows how the kings of the time went about managing their political issues e.g., political alliances with super powers such as Assyria and Egypt. It appears that examples set by the political leadership in terms of social, political and religious integrity were wanting. They did not keep the law and did not rule justly or listen to God’s voice.
The text raises issues of how foreign political and religious influences impact the local society and spirituality. It appears that the examples set by the king should have been emulated by the people. According to the writer, this does not seem to have been the case. Instead, the king, for the sake of his political survival, opened doors for negative foreign influence into the cult and national spirituality.
The text raises questions of greed, personal survival both social and political intrigue at the expense of personal integrity and good relations with humanity and the divine. God does not appear as central for both the Kings and the rulers. They focus on their personal and political survival. Psalm 111 emphasizes the sovereignty and the omnipotence of God, which we need to remember. That it is God who is above all gods and does that which humans cannot do. That in all our issues God must be at the center.
Paul in Acts 26 challenges the status quo of his time. The reading shows how he is put on his defense and he responds cogently to the issues raised. Can we too stand up to scrutiny?
1. What are the socio-political issues being raised by the text in 2 Ki 16 – 18?
2. Who are the main characters going about resolving their issues in the text?
3. Is God at the center of their activities?
4. How Does Psalm 111 demonstrate the centrality of the Divinity?
5. How examples can we learn from Paul’s defense of the faith?
Dr. Zebedi Muga is Head of the Department of Biblical Theology and Philosophy at St. Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya