Ezekiel 37:1-38:23, James 1:19-2:17, Psalms 117:1-2, Proverbs 28:1
Today is the 18th day of November. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It’s great to be here with you as we take the next step forward through the week and through the month and through the year. And as we get into our workweek, we are reading from the New Living Translation this week. Today, one of my favorite portions of Scripture Ezekiel chapters 37 and 38.
Alright. Obviously, we, you know, we’re approaching the back portion of this 11th month of the year and then we have the 12th month of the year and we will have completed the entire Bible. So, we’re well into the Bible. So, we’ve read the book of Acts, we’ve read of the early formation of the church, we’ve read the writings of the apostle Paul and…and the way that he brought a theological underpinning to the story of Jesus, and we’ve read the book of Hebrews, which…which does the same thing from a very Hebrew perspective. And then yesterday we turned the corner into this letter from James and all of a sudden now we’re not envisioning what’s happening inside of us, or creating a grid of theology, we’re just talking very directly, very practically, very unflinchingly, right? So, James said…and listen this is…I'm…I’m quoting this from the Bible. “Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it’s like glancing at your face in the mirror. You see yourself, you walk away, and you forget what you look like.” Is that…first of all that’s very direct and kinda confrontational, kinda convicting, but is it not true how we can center ourselves here around this global campfire, set aside this oasis and have this safe space to let God deal with us in any way He wants to through His word. And then we can go back out into the world, and an hour later it’s all stolen, like it’s gone, we forgot who we are again, we forgot what we look like again. And that gives us a big indicator. Yes, life is busy. Yes, the world is moving at a pace that cannot be sustained. And, so, yes it’s very easy to forget anything we do an hour ago at sometimes, but it’s a totally different thing if that process is transforming you and becomes a part of everything else you will do. In other words, not just listening but obeying what you’ve heard, as James was saying, that’s the difference, when we apply what we have heard in the word into every situation that we’re going to face as opposed to setting aside a little bit of time to hear from the Bible and then just go off into the day and forget everything that was said. James didn’t want his readers to be fooled, right, to fool themselves, which is exactly what he said, “I don’t want you to fool yourself.” So, like ingesting all of the word of God in a year for informational purposes and to finally notice what it says, that’s not the same as being a person who is being transformed by what it says into the life of faith. Like, what would be the point of hearing God’s word and then forgetting it? Nothing’s gonna happen. And James didn’t want those who were reading the letter to be fooled about the fundamental shift that’s supposed to take place within the heart of a believer. Like, for James as we will continue see in this letter, what happens when Christ becomes part of the life we are living is so profound that the evidence of that shift must be visible in the actions of our lives. So, faith isn’t really faint if it’s not accompanied by action, like the corresponding deeds that would describe our faith and turn it into action. So, quoting again from the Bible, “what good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions. Can that kind of faith save anybody? So, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. So, let’s take that into our day and let’s put it in the context or give ourselves the visual of what we saw in the book of Ezekiel, a valley full of dry bones and a question, “can these bones live again?” And a response from the prophet, “you would only know. Like you’re the only one who could know that because you’re the only one who could do that.” And the instruction from God, “prophesy, call to the four winds the breath of life.” We may feel like our words and our deeds do not line up when it comes to our faith. We may feel like the world is spinning too quickly and we are running too fast so that we do forget what we look like after looking in the mirror, so that we do forget what we’ve heard, just a few minutes after we’ve heard it, it’s been stolen from us. We may feel like dry bones, long forgotten in a field far away. Can these bones live again? Can you live again? Since the hope of our faith centered around the idea that resurrection is possible, available, and inevitable that we begin to realize that we will find the life when our thoughts, words and deeds no longer oppose each other, when we’re not saying one thing and doing another. As James tells us, that's…we’re just fooling ourselves. But when those align then what is dry and dead can be pulled back together again.
So, Father we enter into that. We acknowledge the truth of it all. We acknowledge that and we acknowledge that in order to line up with what we are reading here, some changes will have to be made inside of us, inside of the way that we live each and every day, the way that we react to everything instead of finding a way to be proactive within ourselves because we are being transformed and nothing…nothing can shake us off the narrow path that leads to life, so we can observe the things that are going on around us, knowing that we are not going to endure any of it alone. So, come Holy Spirit, let our faith be more than words, let our faith propel us into this life where we reveal Your kingdom each and every day. Come Holy Spirit we pray. In the name of Jesus we ask. Amen.
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And that is it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.