What a prayer! One of the elements we often forget in our prayer time is to give adoration to God. We do this when we tell him how great he is. The Levite leaders are showing us a fine example of this as their prayer begins! Brilliantly, they recount God’s hand at work in the lives of their ancestors.
At times, I felt like I was reading a sermon and not a prayer of confession. God knows history better than anyone, but it was a good reminder for the people to hear who were praying this prayer with the Levite leaders. They need to hear how their ancestors messed up, mistreated God, and how that all turned around. You never know who in the crowd may not have heard all of the stories passed down from generations or been exposed to God’s words before. We are wise when we can learn from the mistakes of others, namely our ancestors.
Continue reading “Nehemiah 9:4-37 – Prayer of Confession”
Obadiah speaks to the reasons Edom is facing their judgment. They sinned for their evil behavior against their own relatives. This passage leaves no doubt “why” calamity would fall on Edom. The Edomites brought it on themselves for more than one reason.
There is so much emphasis on “you should not have” in this reading. We often kick ourselves after doing something we realize later was a mistake. Don’t we say, “I should have known better.” The Edomites won’t get a chance to say that since they will all be destroyed. All they have is the advance warning which sets the expectation for what is coming in motion.
Continue reading “Obadiah 10-14 – You Should Not Have…”
What are you waiting on right now? Maybe it’s news from the doctor on a test. Maybe it’s a box of goodies in the mail. Maybe it’s that vacation you just booked. We all share in the wait for Jesus’ return, and James calls it out plain as day in this text. Are you feeling patient today? James said, “Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.”
James has us think about farmers. Think of the patience it requires to plant seeds every spring and then wait. Wait to see if the seeds sprout like they’re supposed to. Wait to see if the rains come at just the right time. Wait for storms to pass so you can assess the damage. Wait for the crops to be ready for harvest. That’s a lot of waiting. But farmers accept the wait. They know it’s all part of the plan.
Continue reading “James 5:7-12 – Patiently Waiting”
What a topic! Who ever said the Bible was not relevant anymore! We do tend to be judgmental over appearances (I don’t think it’s just me). I’ve heard tell of a pastor who, on his first Sunday in his new church, dressed in tattered clothes and entered the building like every other parishioner. You can imagine the anticipation in church that day was palpable as the people waited to hear the new preacher! What a surprise the congregation had when their pastor came from the shadows where he had been asked to wait and walked up to take his place behind the pulpit. He preached a compelling, wordless sermon that day.
James’ Jewish audience must have needed to hear about the dangers of prejudice. It isn’t a bad reminder for any of us. There has to be a healthy way to associate with people who are different from us. It’s easy to look at people and see them through the lens of some stereotype we’ve learned along the way. What helps me when I’m surrounded by people who look different than me (and in Mexico I am surely the minority) is to remember God loves them as much as he loves me.
Continue reading “James 2:1-13 – Prejudice”
In our previous reading, Joel speaks of a time when those who call upon the LORD will be saved. This prophecy seeks to alert all the enemies who ever harmed God’s people that their judgment is at hand. They were not going to get away with their abuse of God’s loved ones. The time was coming for “pay backs.” God said to the enemies of his people, “I will strike swiftly and pay you back for everything you have done.”
We see here the example of God gathering all nations together in one place. The word Jehoshaphat means “the LORD judges,” so this was probably a symbolic reference, not necessarily a physical location. Can we assume that God still judges those who abuse us?
Continue reading “Joel 3:1-12 – Judgment for Our Enemies”