October 23

Return to your God, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God. Hosea 12:6 

Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. James 1:21

Both of these verses talk about sinful people who need to get rid of their sin and return to following God.  Hosea spends a lot of time confronting the people of Israel about all their wanton disregard of what God wants them to do. Yet he also tells (reminds them you would think) about God’s love and faithfulness; His patience in waiting for the people to return. They in turn can trust in His love for them and await Him.

James too is very straightforward in what he writes. His concern is that believers are not behaving as they should. He makes a distinction in verse 22 between hearing the Word, and ding. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive ourselves. Do what it ways.” That certainly sounds simple. We get to hear what God wants for us and what he wants us to do, and then we do it! What could be easier?  We all know that this is very difficult. Hosea told us that we should hold fast to what God wants – namely “love and justice,” and that is what we need to remember.

James also talks about meekness, knowing that we are not the ones in charge, or in other words, we aren’t the ones “driving the bus.” God is in charge and He knows each and every one of us and is waiting for us to catch on, return to Him and carry out His work. Of course, He well knows that we can do this, and then fail, and try again, and again, and lots more times. I am grateful that God does forgive us over and over, 70 times 7 and more, as I forget all about Him at times each day.  God already sent Jesus, as a model for us and for our salvation. We too can love one another, lover our enemies, and work for justice in our broken world.

Patient and faithful Lord, we do not always do our best. We are sometimes lazy, sometimes afraid, sometimes selfish, sometimes too busy. Left to our own desires, we so easily stray from you. Take us as we are and plant your word within us, so that we may grow into more faithful people.  Help us to hold your word closely and work for justice for all God’s people. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Chris Gabel