"WHICH GOD HAS PROMISED TO THOSE WHO ..."
We have 3 most interesting and thought provoking readings today! We see Job wrestling with his concept of what God is and how he “does great things beyond searching out, and marvellous things beyond number.” [9 v.10].
We have Micah who was inspired to record that “the one who is to be ruler in Israel” would “come forth” from Bethlehem. [5 v.2] Matthew 2 v.1-6 shows us that “the chief priests and the scribes” knew the prophecy and were able to tell “the wise men (Magi in the Gk) from the east” (There is no indication how many Magi there were).
These priests and scribes never imagined the “ruler” would be born in a stable! They were looking for the fulfilment of the prophecy in seeing one who would “stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD. In the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.” [Micah 5 v.4] – and so he will, but in God’s good time.
It is our reading in James that spells out the qualities needed in those who will be there at the time of its wondrous fulfilment, he writes, “Blessed is the man (or woman) who remains steadfast under trial (we think of Job being the ultimate example of this), for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” [1 v.12] .
We are expected to show this love by our actions, John makes this point in his 1st letter; he wrote, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3 v.18) Returning to James we see how blunt and challenging is his message – for those days – and for today! “…put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” [v.21]
But it is not enough to have the knowledge of God’s word “implanted” in our brains through our daily reading of it! James states “…. Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” [v.22]
Finally, we also noted his point, another challenging one, “the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing” [v.25] They had been set at liberty from the ritual of the Law of Moses – but let us be busy today in our “doing” as well as meditating upon what we read - and being inspired by the things “which God has promised to those who love him.”