Ecclesiastes 8:2-8 – Obedience

Read Ecclesiastes 8:2-8

Who do you obey? Solomon was the third of Israel’s kings, and he would counsel us to obey the king. Does that tell us that people were unruly and not respectful in his day? When I read these words, I thought immediately of King Jesus because that’s who I obey. I don’t think Solomon was referring to God here, however.

For now, I’m going to focus my reflection on obedience to our reigning king, Jesus. He is certainly “backed by great power.” God’s power is without limit. Solomon speaks of death, too, and that segues nicely when we think of the power that raised Jesus from the dead.

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Ezra 7:27-28 – Giving Thanks

Read Ezra 7:27-28

Ezra sets a good example for the people and for us. Gratitude to God should be always shown. Ezra was touched by how the Lord was moving and demonstrated his gratefulness for God’s hand of protection and provision by giving thanks.

What is the last thing that you thanked God for? Was it the sunshine, a parking spot close to the door, a good report from the doctor, another breath. Sometimes we get busy and forget to give God the nod for being in our life. Don’t forget to invite him into your everyday tasks either.

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Ezra 5:6-17 – A Spy’s Report

Read Ezra 5:6-17

The saga of the temple’s construction continues. We met Tattenai, the provincial governor, in our last reading. Apparently, he is so troubled by seeing this temple rebuilt that he started interrogating the workers to find out who was in charge. After all, this is a building project he believes is under his jurisdiction, shouldn’t he be able to question it?

This governor seems to be more like an undercover spy looking for a scoop. He took the intel he received from the construction leaders and sent a letter to King Darius. I wonder what Tattenai is afraid of. Perhaps he’ll lose the favor of King Darius should there be a rebellion. Of course, it will take a while for Jerusalem to be rebuilt to its glory and power of the past.

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James 4:13-16 – Self Confidence

Read James 4:13-16

I’m a planner. I admit I can even obsess over it. I always want everything to be “just right.” These verses really gave me something to think about. When does planning become boastful? I suppose the answer to that is when you don’t invite God into the planning process.

James would suggest even our semantics matter. “What you ought to say is, ‘If the LORD wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’” How do we know what the LORD wants us to do? That’s the rub! I have been known to say, “God willing, we will do this or do that.” I like the confident peace I get from knowing my plans have been submitted to God requesting his guidance and blessing.

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Jeremiah 7:1-15 – How Many Chances?

Read Jeremiah 7:1-15

amazing grace

Were you surprised by the second chance God offers here (or maybe the umpteenth chance) to repent. It’s almost as if God is in denial because he does the same thing over and over expecting different results. Hoping for different results. God doesn’t want to give up on the possibility that his people will repent and do the right thing.

That’s a beautiful thing when you think of it. But like any loving parent, God often overlooks behaviors because of the intensity of his love. Do you think God still looks the other way, or is he still hoping we’ll do the right thing.

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