Are we as hard-headed as those in Judah? Do we look to the might of men instead of the majesty of God? Isaiah is pointing out to us again “What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers and depending on the strength of human armies instead of looking to the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.” Can you imagine how hard it was for Isaiah to sit back and watch his friends and neighbors continue in their sinful ways?
We probably have friends and family, too, who are content going about their lives with little attention to God, much less giving him the respect he deserves. It is frustrating for me to see the indifference. Does it help that I read passages like this and realize that people today aren’t acting that much different than those in Isaiah’s day? Maybe just a little. Not many of us are looking to Egypt for help!
The church in Thyatira is a good example of how “one bad apple spoils the bunch.” I don’t know about you, but when I’m sorting through my fruit and vegetables, particularly fresh cilantro, I remove the rotting pieces so that the others can stay fresher longer. But what happens when we overlook the bad apple in our midst?
Jesus commended this church on their love, faith, service, and endurance. Those are qualities that build a strong church community to be sure. Jesus’ words also speak truth when it comes to recognizing the false prophets among us. Sometimes we can’t see and are blinded to the truth. After all, they call themselves prophets. But who is leading them? Whose message are they bringing? They may even be disillusioned themselves to believe they are holy, when instead they are being controlled by the evil one.
We have all been sad about something. That’s when we
experience sorrow. How we handle our sorrow is what Paul is talking about here.
Do we let our sadness overtake us? Depending on what we are sad about, we might
even need to repent. Are we sad because of how we have sinned against God? That’s
the sorrow Paul is focusing on. Take a moment to think about what has caused
Sorrow alone accomplishes nothing. Sorrow is a feeling. If it
is caused by circumstances we cannot control, it only hurts us and robs us of
our joy. If we are saddened by something we have done (or not done) to sin
against God, there is a fix. Repentance.
We have been teaching our clients lately about establishing authority. It’s important in business for potential customers to see you as an authority, that is, knowing what you’re talking about. Here, the Pharisees are doubting the authority of Jesus. How crazy is that?! Granted, we know who Jesus is because we have the Bible.
When people question your authority or know-how, they aren’t very likely to listen to you. Think how much the Pharisees missed out on because they were not able to see what was right before them. It is a bit puzzling how the leaders with the most knowledge couldn’t see Jesus for who he was. They knew what they were looking for and expecting. They had access to all the Scriptures. Prophecies of old were likely passed down from generation to generation. Yet, their radars must have been turned off. Did God do that on purpose?
We may read Jesus’ rant here and be a bit surprised. But, we shouldn’t be surprised at Jesus’ words but by the unrepentant sinners of whom he is speaking. We might ask, how do you experience healing, even just as a witness, and not be changed? Or, how do you go back to business as usual after seeing a miracle from God? God is awesome, we should stand amazed!
Do we take our own faith for granted? Do we need constant reminders to keep us focused on God? How long will God be patient with us? It may be hard to picture Jesus with anger in his voice, but he was human. He was surprised at the lack of faith that followed his work. He came to draw people to himself. You would think the people who had seen his great miracles would be especially drawn in and want to know him more.