Now the Preacher, how I’ll refer to the writer of Hebrews, takes our focus off the majesty of Jesus to give us a warning about own lives. Maybe you can recall a time in your life when you felt far from Jesus? The evil one lures us to drift away from God. Being reminded of that is so helpful.
We experience daily attacks from the evil one attempting to take control of our lives and make us forget about God. The Preacher gives us two paths to take to keep ourselves on track. We need to “listen for God” and “look for God” every day.
People being led astray has been happening for centuries. What’s frightening is when, like in our reading today, the prophets claim to be sharing a message from God. Clearly, these prophets were lying and totally deceived if they believed what was coming out of their mouths. That was certainly not the message God wanted the people to hear!
The Bible warns us to expect false prophets. In Ezekiel 13, there are false prophets saying whatever they please. Just like in our reading today, these false prophets would face the punishment promised by God for their folly.
God chose Jeremiah to bring all these messages to the people in the temple where he knew they would be gathered. Yet God seems to doubt anything will change. “Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond.” Jeremiah was given fair warning about what sort of reception he’d receive.
From God’s lament here, it would appear the people “think” they are in control. After all, they can choose the way they live and pay attention to idols instead of God. We might fall into this same trap thinking we are “in control” of our lives. We, too, are able to make our own decisions in life. What happens when we make bad choices?
Paul is recommending the Corinthians look for encouragement from other brothers and sisters of the faith. It’s like networking and fellowship combined. The movement of Christ-followers is growing. Without the internet and more modern ways of connecting, word of mouth was key in connecting people who should spend time together.
The Corinthians had the assurance that they weren’t alone. Sometimes it can be frightening to head in a new direction in life. To embrace a Christian life and start a new relationship with a Savior who was not visibly present was daunting for them, and it can be daunting for us as well. That’s why Paul models for us the importance of community, faith communities to be precise.
The wise woman saved a town and gave King David’s leaders what they wanted. Sounds like a win-win, except for Sheba. Funny that I pictured her to be an old woman, hunched over with a shawl. Our reading doesn’t say anything about her age! Hmm. Curious.
I guess I usually equate wisdom with age. After all, I feel a lot smarter than I did when I was younger. Life lessons, plenty of mistakes and wrong directions, including smart course corrections. But then I also think that my granddaughter is “wise beyond her years!”