Sweeter Than Honey

Day 288

Jeremiah 26:1-27:22; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18; Psalm 85:1-13; Proverbs 25:16

Sweeter Than Honey

“If you find honey, eat just enough – too much of it, and you will vomit.” – Proverbs 25:16 (NIV)

Of all the evocative Scriptures in today’s reading (Jeremiah’s brush with death, Paul’s valuable instructions to Christ’s followers, and one of the most beautiful scriptural phrases in the Bible), why does this one stand out? Is it the literal gut reaction we have to this pairing? Now that the Holy Spirit has grabbed our attention as either an attraction to the essence of honey or repulsion, or at least intrigue, to the thought of vomit, why in the midst of this metaphorical and poetic collection of proverbs does He wish to give us this “health tip”?

Greed is the actual root of all evildoing. Consider the need for God to specify all ten of the commandments. In every admonition, man attempts to put himself in the driver’s seat and load up the goods: other peoples’ stuff, their hard-earned reputations, their spouses, the authority owed our elders, the Sabbath for our own use, you know the list. We even want to call all the shots, to be the Boss. We want, not just enough, but we want it all… Large-and-in-charge… To be King of the Mountain. Getting nauseous yet?

Without greed and the desires to personally attain the highest powers and dominions in this world, we find the pathway back to the Garden and our rightful relationship with our Loving Father. Enjoy the blessings He has already placed in our lives, and find contentment and satisfaction in the “just enough amount” that only Jesus, the True King can allot. Sweeter even than honey!

Laurie Mealor
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Lake Mary, FL

Standing Firm and Holding to the Traditions

Day 287

Jeremiah 23:21-25:38; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17; Psalm 84:1-12; Proverbs 25:15

Standing Firm and Holding to the Traditions

It seems there was a problem for the church in Thessalonica. Apparently some nasty rumors were running amok that the Day of the Lord had arrived. Naturally, if you and I thought that cataclysmic events were about to rain down on us at any moment, we would be experiencing anxiety also. So, the Apostle Paul is writing to discredit these false claims and to encourage these Christians to continue by standing firm in their love and service.

I know that in our world and in our own day, as we watch the evening news or check the latest headlines on our smartphones, we too can wonder about such things. I have heard more than one person make dire predictions about the imminent end of the world. So what are we supposed to do? One choice is to get caught up in anxious (fearful) thoughts and to make decisions on these thoughts. The other choice is to “stand firm and hold to the traditions” (v.15) which have been handed down to us.

Those traditions are worship, prayer, fellowship, and, maybe especially in these circumstances, service to others. Nothing turns us from our worries about the future like being of service to someone in the present. When we do this, and we pay attention to the people very near to us who need our love and service, something wonderful happens. It is then we discover that we are serving Christ Himself, and as we find Christ in another, our anxieties tend to fade away.

How might finding Christ in the present affect your thoughts about the future?

The Rev. Gary Jackson
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Bartow, FL

God Is Still the Shepherd

Day 286

Jeremiah 22:1-23:20; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12; Psalm 83:1-18; Proverbs 25:11-14

God Is Still the Shepherd

In John 10, Jesus declares that He is the Good Shepherd—and the Church has loved to make stained glass windows and picture storybooks of Jesus carrying lambs on His shoulders or in His arms. It is for many of us a comforting picture. However, in Jeremiah 23, the image of a shepherd is one of power and judgment.

God had raised up the kings, priests, and prophets to be the leaders of God’s people and to be their shepherds. But those leaders had failed the people miserably.

Instead of trusting God, Jehoiachin, the king, made alliances with other nations and their gods to protect the nation against Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. In the process, he broke his own people with inordinate taxes while enhancing his own home.

Yet God put His foot down, dismissed Jehoiachin from the throne, and proclaimed, “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.”

Today, leaders around the world have failed and are failing the Church—some pastors live in affluence while their people struggle, other preachers do not know their Scriptures, and yet others are entangled with corrupt politicians.

Yet, God remains the Shepherd of His people who removes unholy leaders and raises up new ones according to His purposes. Pray for your leaders today to remain faithful and obedient, and for our brothers and sisters who wait for new, godly leaders.

The Rev. Loren Fox
Church of Our Savior
Palm Bay, FL