Our readings this morning provoked a multitude of thoughts– especially in James – whose letter we started reading today. But first there are points which Job makes that invite our meditation: he declares to the 3 friends that God “alone stretched out the heavens … who does great things beyond searching out, and marvellous things beyond number.” [9 v.8,10]
Job is utterly overawed by what the Creator of all things must be – and has done! And so should we be!
Our chapter 5 in Micah has that significant verse that states, “But you, O Bethlehem … from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel …” [v.2] This verse is the one which they found when the wise men came to Jerusalem seeking a king who had been born – as signified by a star, as recorded in Matt. Ch. 2 see v.1-8.
But let us not miss verse 4 in Micah! This tells us what this “ruler” will one day do! “he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.” May that day be very soon – and may we, by his grace, be among “his flock” and experience the mind-enveloping wonder of it all..
And now to James – who challenges us with many points in his opening chapter. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete …” [v.2-4]
James then states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God … and it will be given him.” [v.5] How good are we at asking God for “wisdom” as distinct from understanding and knowledge? Let us carefully ponder the example of “wisdom” we will read at the end of ch.3 – “the wisdom from above.”
James’ gives us some invaluable instruction in. v.21-23 in today’s chapter – they lay the foundation for this wisdom. “The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore … receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only ” We should add, ‘and not readers only.’ The chapter finishes with some invaluable instruction of how to be “doers” and use “the implanted word.” “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world”.