Hosea 4:1—5: 15

Oh, I don’t like the thought of the priest’s loving it when the people sinned so they could get more food.  This shows me that the system had left the worship of God and it had become a way for people to get their needs met.  There is no place for this in the service of God.  Leaders cannot get their needs met by the followers.  Only God can meet your needs.  When you expect humans to meet your needs, that just becomes an unhealthy cycle of human neediness.  The leader needs you to sin so you will have to come them and offer sacrifices, which they get to eat—ew, I don’t like that.  Leaders have to be leaders regardless of what they can get out of the followers.  I think the leaders’ position should be, “Gosh I hope no one sins against God.  I hope all our people are in perfect fellowship with him.  Sure, I might have to eat ramen noodles for dinner, but I would be happy to do that knowing the people are living in step with the Lord.”  And let me tell you something from my own personal book of “learning things the hard way:” People will not follow someone who they think needs something from them.  So pro tip from coach Sarah, if you need the people following you to tell you that you are doing a great job and that they love you as their leader, go to the back of the line, flip that thinking around and use that energy to tell the people following you that they are doing a great job and that you love them.  Don’t suck the life out of them by putting your needs on them. 

2 John

“The chosen lady and her children?”  Is he writing this to me?  Just kidding.  That is just that Enneagram 3-ness coming out in me.  Because there is not a proper name used here, it seems that the “chosen lady” is a church and the “children” are her members.  This is one of those beautiful ways women are honored in the Bible.  Beloved city’s and churches are personified as women, as is wisdom.  But whose counting?  Certainly not me. 

This letter was written by John but it is hard to know exactly when.  The cool thing is that this letter would have fit “on a single sheet of papyrus of standard size.” [1] That is like a post-it note in the context of the rest of the letters included in the NT. So why has this little letter been preserved for all time?  Obviously because the contents are very important. 

John in this letter warns us not to fall away from the true doctrine.  At this point in early church history, because they could not deny that Jesus had risen from the dead, enemies of God (antichrists) were telling people that Jesus was a ghost of some sort.  The problem with that is that, as we learned from the OT, the payment for sin is death, blood had to be spilled.  If Christ were not a real man, he could not really die to pay the sin debt for all.  Isn’t it just like the devil to twist the truth ever so slightly?  He is too slick to totally deny Christ, so he says he was a ghost or something. 

So, here is the hard part for us.  There are people going into church every week believing some sort of version of this.  Science and reasoning have convinced them that Jesus was a “good prophet” or a “cool guy,” and not the real-life Son of God.  If they are believing that, then even if they go to church every week, they are still going to die and go to hell because they are not trusting Jesus to cover their sin debt.  Our job, according to John, is to not stand for this kind of thinking.  Don’t agree with it by listening to it, and don’t support it by welcoming people who teach it in.  The most loving thing we can do is to confront that wrong thinking and seek to help the person understand that they have a sin debt that needs dealing with. 

But I get it.  You go to church, you assume everyone believes in God until you hear someone say, “Well it’s all good, I mean I know Jesus was a good guy, like Buddha or Gandhi, but I just can’t believe he rose from the dead and all that, but I love the music and the message here, it makes me feel better.”  NO!!! That is not the point!!!  And we have to be brave enough to love that person enough to tell them they are missing the point.  Now, you will have to find another blogger who can tell you how to do that in a loving way that does not make them mad, I have not figured that out yet.  But I’m working on it.  All I know is John tells us that not saying anything and just going along with it is not ok.  (PS. This recap of 2 John is 200 words longer than 2 John, clearly, I don’t understand the meaning of recap)

Psalm 125: 1-5

Proverbs 29: 9-11

[1] Hodges, Zane C. “2 John.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 905. Print.

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