The Big and the Small
The eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth—except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, says the Lord. For lo, I will command, and shake the house of Israel among all the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall to the ground. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, “Evil shall not overtake or meet us.”
On that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen, and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; in order that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name, says the Lord who does this. The time is surely coming, says the Lord, when the one who plows shall overtake the one who reaps, and the treader of grapes the one who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant them upon their land, and they shall never again be plucked up out of the land that I have given them, says the Lord your God.
Reflection by Donna Schaper
If you have ever had a pebble in your shoe, you know what harassment is. You have to stop, take off your shoe, potentially your sock as well, and get that pebble out. It is in your way. It may be small but it is still significant. God appears not to be harassed by the small. God appears not to know how not to pay attention to the little things or the little ones.
This is good news for the small and bad news for the bigs. My kids always called us parents “the bigs.” We can go if the bigs say yes. We can get the ice cream if the bigs say yes. I always wondered how much they hated us for our power. Children are both protected and annoyed by what adults do to them. Never ignore a child who is telling you “I am a BIG girl.” She may be defensive but she means it.
So what is it about God and Israel? It was small and God protected it. Does God preferentially care for the small and the powerless? The children? The ones who have to be shaken with a sieve to even be seen?
I think yes. I think the evidence from widow’s mite to shaken sieve is abundant. If you are small God is likely to be with you. If you are big, whoops. Israel as a nation surely must understand now that its smallness has become so big, or at least so pivotal. The rich surely understand, now that they fear the poor and gate themselves when not sitting in the walled protection of first class.
No pebble shall fall to the ground. But what about the boulders? Who can care for them? I mean us. Is God large enough to shake and save both big and small?
O God, whether we are big or small, boulder or pebble, enlighten us and show us how much you care. Help us to turn towards the small, especially as we get big. And keep the Bigs from being too large to fail. And protect the pebbles. Amen.
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