Passage: Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?
Journal: Wealth often equates to power. In the Jewish society that is the context of the letter by James, power was often found in religious status. Therefore, the persecution of the Church, of the body of Christ, was spearheaded by the Jewish religious elite. In our society, the term “inside the beltway” often refers to perceived elitist attitudes of career politicians in Washington D.C., and that decisions made there seem to be about power and turf. I imagine the attitude was much the same inside the circles of the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin during the time of James. Yet, it is human inclination to desire be where the “elite meet.” It plays to the pride and arrogance of man to socialize with the rich, and not to be associated with the poor. James notes that it is the rich that have the financial means to make life miserable for the believer (“Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts”). James notes that it is the rich that have the inherent power structure to cause trouble in the life of the believer (“Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?”). Finally, James notes that God has chosen the “poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him.” Thus, to honor the poor man, though rich in faith, is to honor God. Conversely, to honor the rich man, who oppresses and blasphemes, is to dishonor God. We must honor that which honors God.
Micah 6:6-8 – With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Heard ‘Round the House: Alex (age 12; adopted from Russia at age 3) and Song (age 9, and adopted from China at age 1) still have some funny ways of saying things that apparently go back to the language they heard as young children. (As a side note, Vera [age 8, adopted from Russia at age 5; down syndrome] has her own unique language which Luke has termed “Veranese”; most of my children have become fluent in Veranese, and often translate for Daddy.) In any event, Alex has been given a hard time through the years (by his loving family, of course) for the way he pronounces orange – he has pronounced it oooronge.
Jill and the kids were sitting down to their meal yesterday when this exacting conversation took place.
Alex: Hey, everybody. I learned how to say orange.
Mommy: You said it perfectly.
Luke: Say it.
Luke: Say it again.
Luke: Say it again.
Luke: I’m just kidding around with him. He’s said it perfectly like 10 times.
Alex: To be exact, I have said it perfectly four times. Or maybe three.