We are happy to welcome ministry-focused college and seminary students from around the country to write in June of 2020 for The Park Forum. Each of them is pursuing a career in ministry and received free coaching on their writing as a part of the program. For more information about the program and a profile of each of our student writers, visit our Student Writers Month page.

Today’s student writer is Erin Newton, a student at B. H. Carroll Theological Institute.

Scripture Focus:  Isaiah 36:20-21
“Who of all the gods of these countries have been able to save their lands from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?”  But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.”

Reflection: The Victorious Path of Weakness
By Erin Newton

The Assyrians might have succeeded in crushing the weakened morale of the Judeans if it was not for one blatant mistake. 

They made legitimate claims of militaristic superiority and truthfully pointed out that dependence on Egypt was misplaced. However, their mistake was assuming that the God of Israel was the same as the trampled gods of other nations.

But he is not like all other gods. God has no weaknesses. He has not been created by humanity, and he cannot be defeated.

The people responded in silence. There was no pithy rebuttal or fierce argument to defend God’s honor. The coming victory would be his defense.

Silence can be powerful. Jesus responded in silence when on trial before his crucifixion, even though insults against his claims of deity were hurled left and right. The soldiers at Gethsemane considered him powerless and mocked, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” (Luke 23.37)

God’s power is perfected in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12.9) The Assyrians could not understand how God would be victorious using a weak military that was surrounded by conquered cities, just as Pilate could not fathom how an itinerant Galilean carpenter would be able to conquer death itself.

We tend to place God on the same level as our other idols: money, health, popularity, and pleasure. We are tempted to take the easy road, bargain with the enemy, and satisfy the short-term pleasure instead of trusting in God Almighty.

Who is the God that we trust? If it is not God Almighty, it will be something or someone else.

If we find our trust misplaced, remember to reflect on the question that Paul put to the Galatians, “Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5.7) Somewhere along the line, we fail to remember that our God is not like anyone else. Weakness is not the end of our story; instead, it is often the path God takes to save us. The Jews were forced into exile and Jesus went into a silent tomb for three days. These looked like losses, but they resulted in victories – return for the Jews and resurrection for Jesus. Eternal life for those who trust in Him.

We easily forget that our weakness is the means of Christ’s victory. Let us not be intimidated, for our God is undefeated.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living. — Psalm 116.8

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Isaiah 36 (Listen – 4:00) 
Revelation 6 (Listen – 3:12)

Read more about Cry, Creator, Cry!
“Look how he dies. Cry, Creator, Cry!
This is my day to stand upon the 
breast of God and claim my victory 
over love.”

Read more about The Prince of Peace not Pacification
Many times we, like the Jerusalem crowds, might prefer a Prince of Pacification instead of a Prince of Peace.