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November 18, 2023, Day 321

Solomon is the author of Psalm 127, which tells us that, apart from the LORD’s superintendence in all our various enterprises, are “labors are in vain” (expressed three times in verses 1-2). In this life, we have the freedom and the responsibility to choices - we can choose to live a life of vanity (i.e., “meaninglessness”), or we can decide to make our lives count for eternity by including God in all our decision-making. Children also figure prominently into this equation because “children are a heritage from the LORD and a reward.” Solomon says that children are like “arrows” (verses 3-4). Children are purposeful gifts from God, and as archers, we have a responsibility to point our children like arrows in a meaningful, useful direction toward eternity. The height of an absurd archer’s vanity would be to waste his arrows on meaningless targets - who does that?

In James 1, the author admonishes us to recognize the Christian life properly and realistically - a life that is characterized by “trials, testings, and temptations“ (verses 2-3; 12-13). We can counteract these difficulties with “joy, wisdom, perseverance, and humiliation” (verses 2-10). To do so, we must guard ourselves against “deception” (verse 16), which is especially rampant in our world today. We need to develop the graces of “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” We need to “do what the Word of God says – including looking after widows and orphans” (verses 19-28).

In Ezekiel 32-33:1-20, we see God’s lament over Pharaoh and Egypt. This shows us that God maintains an interest and His special concern even for His enemies - He does not waste His love on anyone. If He cares enough to sympathize with His enemies through His “lament” over them, then how much more for all His children? God is not responsible for human decisions, and “He takes no pleasure in the death” of anyone (33:11), but mankind’s irrational rejection of Him does not minimize His love and care for them. He offers men and women the opportunity to repent, but people must “turn away from their wickedness and do what is just and right” (verse 19). God only desires what is best for us; to attain His best, we must submit ourselves to His will which is good.

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Nathan Stricker
Nathan Stricker
Nov 19, 2023

I’ve always appreciated the book of James. Especially the guidance around “walking the walk” and not just “talking the talk.”

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