We need God. It’s plain and simple, lest we fall into the traps set in this world and become enemies of God. Only God can transform us from the thrill seeking, self-serving, humans we are by nature into humble servants dedicated to pleasing God.
James’ counsel here is a bit over the top when he talks about our envious desires leading us to killing someone. It appears his audience needs the “wow factor” to get their attention. I can just hear someone saying, “God doesn’t listen because he didn’t give me what I wanted.” That’s a great example of having the wrong motives. God knows our heart. He knows why we ask for what we do. Is what we’re asking for merely for our own pleasure?
These Christians had so much to learn, even though they had “been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others.” However, it seems they were stuck in the basics. They knew what it meant to be Jews, but to be followers of Christ changed their faith journey dramatically. Here we see the Preacher rebuking them. “You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” It was time for them to stop being lazy Christians, and the Preacher uses a bit of “shock and awe” in this reading.
When people first come to faith in Jesus, we need to be careful not to overwhelm them with knowledge they aren’t ready for. Just like you wouldn’t give a newborn a piece of steak. However, the Preacher warns that it’s too easy to stay with “milk” and not move on to a deeper faith and understanding of what it means to be a Christ follower. I’ve seen many churches struggle with this very thing, and as a result, the congregation never goes deeper than the what the “newbies” can handle.
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.
There is a lot of treachery described in this reading. The message from God that Jeremiah is speaking is not pleasant. There are so many nuggets of wisdom dropped, there is no reason why those people were clueless. We can certainly do better!
What is the Lord looking for? There were at least four clues I found in today’s reading. Maybe you’ll see some more.
You will recall, Micah was used by God to warn the people about the coming judgment and the pardon available to all who repented. In today’s sermon at church, the pastor used a word in Spanish (arrepentimiento.) I hadn’t heard before. I thought it must be “repent,” and according to google translate it is “repentance!” The message was very timely for our theme of “Living as God Desires.”
Micah would have been a contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea, other men used by God to help the people see the errors of their ways. People might wonder if we have prophets today, walking around like these brave men, giving us some clarity. Whether we do or not, I believe these timeless Bible truths ring out to us as well!