James 1:9-18 – Humility

Read James 1:9-18

One of the basic themes of James’ letter is that God exalts the poor and humbles the rich. Why does he do that? It’s so only the humble can boast. Think about that for a second. When we allow God to work in our lives and give God the credit for what we have accomplished, our whole mindset shifts. Who gets the glory? Certainly not us, and rightly so.

Even Paul was clear on this. He told us he was glad to boast about his weaknesses because that showed God at work when he overcame times of adversity. Our text here in James is using the example of being poor and rich. James may be recalling Psalm 49:6 which reads, “They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches.” Think about some wealthy people you know. Do they humble themselves before God and give God the credit for their abundance? Or are they more like the one described by the psalmist?

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Hebrews 6:13-20 – Rely on God’s Promises

Read Hebrews 6:13-20

It might help to recall verse 12 from our last reading to “follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.” Now it makes sense why the Preacher called out Abraham. You’ll recall Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years from the time God promised to multiply his descendants to the birth of Isaac. That was obedience we can learn from, too!

God is in the business of keeping his promises. We can be sure of that. The Preacher reminds us God sealed his promise to Abraham with an oath. In ancient times, when people wanted to guarantee their promise or give value to their word, they might swear by the divine name. Putting God’s name on your promise was intended to give it more authority. To break an oath would be extremely dishonoring to God. God cannot lie!

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Hebrews 2:10-18 – You Are Chosen

Read Hebrews 2:10-18

Jesus is the Son of God, but we are also God’s children. “So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father.” We are chosen to be made holy. Let that sink in for just a moment. As children of God, we are recognized as brothers and sisters to Christ.

Old Testament prophecy comes alive as Jesus quoted the Psalms and Isaiah. He said to God: “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people.” He also said, “I will put my trust in him,” that is, “I and the children God has given me.”

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Jeremiah 48:1-47 – Why Does God Care About Moab?

Read Jeremiah 48:1-47

I hope you didn’t scroll right past the last verse. Almost like an afterthought, the author closes this prophecy with a trickle of hope. Because that was such a long and emotionally draining reading, I’d like to keep the focus on hope. There are plenty of very devastating things promised for the Moabites.

Clearly God was angered by the people of Moab. They ridiculed God’s precious Israelites, they were full of pride and arrogance, they offered sacrifices and burnt incense to other gods, and they boasted against the Lord. How can God forgive those acts of disrespect?

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Jeremiah 45:1-5 – God’s Promises

Read Jeremiah 45:1-5

pinky promise between two young hands

We first met Baruch in Chapter 36 when Jeremiah called for him to be the scribe to write down all of God’s messages. We also know that he and Jeremiah were both taken to Egypt, most probably against their wishes. Both Jeremiah and Baruch seemed to be in touch with God’s view of the situation, wanting to be obedient to the one true God.

Having received this message from the Lord long before the trek to Egypt would suggest multiple applications. Baruch, and possibly Jeremiah, would have had a shimmer of hope as they were facing a new life in Egypt (from our last reading). This promise probably also sustained Baruch when he spoke in Jeremiah’s place. God protected them then as well. I don’t think God’s promises have expiration dates.

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