Genesis 40-42, Psalm 14, Matthew 14
I do, however, want to comment on the Psalm. It is unlike the ones we've read so far in that it doesn't really address the author's own needs or enemies. It's more of a general painting of humankind and humanity's wickedness. How humbling when the psalmist asks "are there any who are wise, who seek after God" and finds that "they have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one." Ouch. In verse 4, though, the psalmist seems to shift voices. Is this God talking about the "evildoers who eat up my people" or is it the human psalmist talking about his enemies? I think you could legitimately argue both ways. However you take it, though, the psalm ends with God as the refuge of the poor and the deliverer of the people. Notice, though, that God doesn't deliver all mankind. "God is with the company of the righteous."
Matthew takes a little jump from Jesus to give us the narrative of John the Baptist's death. It's a well-known tale thanks to Oscar Wilde and a little film called Sunset Boulevard. Ok, maybe that's just my reference point, but there it is. (Side note: if you haven't seen Sunset Boulevard, run, don't walk, to the nearest Blockbuster!) Jesus' reaction to this news amazes me. Jesus clearly mourns the loss of his cousin. He "withdrew fom there in a boat to a deserted place by himself" when he gets the news. John baptized Jesus, so I can only assume they were close. If nothing else, John understood long before the others Jesus' role in God's plan. An understanding Jesus can't quite pound into his disciples' heads even up to his own death. I cannot fathom a loss so great. Jesus' mourning doesn't last long, though. The crowds follow him. They beg for healing. They throng him as I can only imagine crowds mob celebrities. Here's the amazing part: Jesus doesn't send them away. He heals them. When it gets late and they're hungry, he feeds them.
Finally the crowds leave. Finally Jesus gets some peace and quiet. He "went up the mountain by himself to pray". I can assume Jesus goes to mourn. To thank God for John's life. To ask for strength after such a deep loss. To take comfort in the solice of quiet time alone with God. To feel God's strength. But that doesn't last long. A storm comes, his friends are scared, and Jesus answers their call. He walks on water to comfort them, and calms the storm. We never learn if Jesus ever gets that quiet time to himself to mourn. He constantly serves others, and in doing so he constantly serves God. He puts aside his own feelings to better do God's will. That's an example I hope I can follow if only a little bit.