Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Psalm 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.

(ESV)
The first time I read this Psalm, the first two verses seemed totally disconnected with the remaining verses. This whole passage, though, is about the building of a "house", and what "house" is really complete without children.

I could be wrong in this interpretation, but I believe that the majority of the verses in this chapter have to do with children because they are truly the greatest blessing of house building.

In this verse we see that they are a reward and that they are a heritage... and that they come from the Lord. The word that is translated heritage has to do with possession. They belong in God's kind of house. The word reward is many times translated as wages or fare or fee. They are the result of God's kind of house building.

There are some who do not have the benefit of children, because of physical issues. There is ultimately nothing that can be done about that. The fruit of the womb is in God's hands. That desire, even though it can get a little distorted, to have children is not a wrong desire, in and of itself. But to not have children because of careers or other worldly passions shows a lack of God's kind of house-building.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Psalm 127:2

It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

(ESV)


Remember, in the first verse it starts off, "Unless the Lord build the house..." That idea has carried over into this verse. We are still talking about house building.

Anxious toil is that worrisome sort of work. It is that work that is based in your own worries. Doing extra things to try to calm that rumbling fear. Getting up early and going to bed late, hoping that you will cover all of your bases, that all of your ducks will be in a row...

To his beloved, God gives rest. There is peace in the houses that He builds.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Psalm 127:1

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.

(ESV)

There are some houses that are built that do not have the Lord as the chief architect. He is not the one building it... but it gets built.

There are watchmen who stay awake all night and the city remains safe.

To understand this verse, first understand the word vain. It means empty. Why? Why is the labor in vain? Why is the watching in vain? because it is pointless. The only one who can build eternal things is God himself. When He builds a house, it lasts forever, when he watches a city, it is an eternal city, take up your citizenship there.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

James 2:13

because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
(NIV)

To jump right to the point... (like James likes to do)

If you show judgment without mercy, there is a high probability that you have not yet understood the mercy of God or have never recognized your encounters with God's mercy. To put it bluntly, if you don't show mercy, then maybe you aren't even saved.

This is a perfect lead-in to the next set of verses.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

James 2:12

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,
(NIV)

This verse would make a great sign. Blow it up huge and stick it on the wall above your bathroom mirror in the morning! Everyday read to yourself,

"Speak."

"and act.

"as those who are going to be judged."

You could stop there. That is a good motivational speech for the day, because it is true. You will be judged.

We won't be punished for our sins. The price has already been paid, but there is still a judgement seat for us. I don't have the time (or the energy) to get into the details of that judgment seat, but it is real and it will happen.

But don't forget the rest of this verse.

"...by the law that gives freedom."

We are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom. No longer will be be judged in such a way as to lead to confinement, we will be judged by the law that leads to freedom!

This is why it is such a motivational speech. Live your life in such a way as the law which will judge us. We are no longer constrained by the law of death, we are free by the law of Christ! (Compare with Romans 8:1-17)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

James 2:11

For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
(NIV)
James obliterates the categorization of sins. Right here in the same paragraph where he mentions that something simple, like showing favoritism is breaking the law, he also states that murder and adultery are also breaking the law... And... that if you have broken one part of the law then you are a lawbreaker!

Let that sink in.

We always say that all sins are equal, but do we really believe that? Is that just part of our churchianity mantra, or have we allowed that idea to sink in. This idea is essential for our understanding of our personal need for a savior, but this passage was written to Christians. So, do we as Christians realize our own ongoing sinfulness as we continue to confess and forsake our sins? Or do we continue to think to ourselves that we are "... not as bad as those people..."

Monday, May 19, 2008

James 2:10

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
(NIV)
This verse is a great teaching verse when it comes to understanding that we are sinners, and that we are guilty.
When we sin, whether it is a big sin or a small sin (speaking in human terms...) we have broken God's law, making us law breakers. There are no big sinners or small sinners in God's worldview. There are simply sinners, and they are all in need of a savior. It is for this reason Jesus came. He lived, without sin, without becoming a law breaker, then took our sins upon Himself, was crucified, died, and was buried. Then on the third day he rose again!

As law breakers, let us be thankful that a savior came, because there is not a one of us who is not a law breaker.

Notice in the previous verse, that showing partiality is breaking God's law.

Monday, May 12, 2008

James 2:9

But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
(NIV)
I would suggest going back and scanning through the first 8 verses again. This is a very important section, which can be used to understand more than just the sin of favoritism.

Before we move on, note that favoritism is sin. It isn't just a bad idea or something that "we probably shouldn't do..." It is sin, and according to this verse, you are lawbreakers if you show favoritism.