I hope everyone had a great Labor Day
Old Testament Lesson
1 Kings 8:65-9:9
We see the Lord giving Solomon a warning. Keep doing as you have done and as your father did, and everything will be great. You will be blessed and your people will be blessed. If you turn away and worship false gods, you will be cut off, along with your people. I don';t understand the mind of God, but maybe the reason why the Lord warned Solomon was because He knew the temptations he would face.
We know from reading Solomon's story that he does turn away. He does worship false gods. He does do the things that he should not do, and after him, Israel suffers. Maybe the reason why God gave him this warning so that he would be aware what would happen if he gave into tempt ion.
See, the Lord knows our weakness, He knows what we will be tempted by, what we will struggle with, and even where we will fall. But, He also promises to give us strength to overcome these things, if we will turn to Him. He told Solomon the consequences of not following Him, and also told Solomon the benefits of following. As we will read in the coming days, Solomon made the wrong choice. We we choose more wisely.
New Testament Lesson
We see here in James that old debate about faith versus works. What James is telling us is basically this. Yes, it is faith that mattes, but true faith will produce works. There are no ifs ands or buts about it. If there is true faith, there will be works. It is not enough for to simply say that we have faith; if we actually do, our life will show it. There is no other choice. Faith will produce works.
I heard someone put it like this. If you are alive, you don't tell yourself to breathe. You just simply breathe. Likewise, with faith, good works simply come. It is just the way that it happens. Today, may we have an active and alive faith that produces life for God.
We see in this passage, two men failed Jesus on that night. Judas betrayed, Peter denied. Judas would hang himself later that night, Peter would go on to be the greatest preacher in the early church. What was the difference? God would be willing to forgive both of them? Why did one take one road, and the other another?
Perhaps it was because Peter was able to forgive himself, and Judas was not. Remember, that we are forgiven by God, if we repent and ask forgiveness. May we find the grace to accept that forgiveness. And may we find the grace to forgive ourselves as well.