Speak Lord: Called to service…


The First Reading on Sunday, the 21st Sunday in Ordinary time, is a story of reversals, demotion and promotion, to better serve the needs of the kingdom.

Thus says the Lord of Hosts to Shebna, the master of the palace:

I dismiss you from your office,
I remove you from your post,
and the same day I call on my servant
Eliakim son of Hilkiah.
I invest him with your robe,
gird him with your sash,
entrust him with your authority;
and he shall be a father
to the inhabitants of Jerusalem
and to the House of Judah.
I place the key of the House of David
on his shoulder;
should he open, no one shall close,
should he close, no one shall open.
I drive him like a peg
into a firm place;
he will become a throne of glory
for his father’s house.

Isaiah 22:19-23

The dismissal of Shebna from office is absolute. In contemporary terms his desk is cleared and he’s exiting the door clutching a cardboard box containing a few personal posessions.

Eliakim is the new kid on the block, his newly gifted authority is established by use of word, symbol and ritual. There’s no mistaking the change that has been made.

Shebna’s fault has been self-aggrandisement. Eliakim, by contrast, is the one chosen for office, made by his master: his very name indicates it, for Eli’akim means ‘God will raise up’, or‘raised up by God’.

In the scriptures this political reshuffle has a deeper meaning, a meaning for the ages and not just for that time and place – for eyes that see, and ears that hear.

  • Who do you serve?
  • What are your priorities for today?
  • Who do you serve?

One thought on “Speak Lord: Called to service…

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