Prayer for the day
May God be merciful to us and bless us, show us the light of his countenance and come to us. Let your ways be known upon earth, your saving health among all nations.
Scripture for the day
The debate between faith and works has been going on since the writing of the scriptures (and likely before!). What saves? Is it faith? Is it works? James seems to say that while faith saves, faith without works isn’t really faith, but something that only mimics true faith. For James, to say that we believe something or in something requires us to do something.
For James, belief in God is not truly belief unless that belief actually requires something of us, something more than lip service. Faith is the belief that works itself out in activity that proves it. Faith gives us not only something to hope for, but something to work toward.
If faith is expressed in action as well as in held belief, then God’s fury at the people of Israel, who claim to believe in, listen to, and follow God, is well-founded. God, through the prophet Ezekiel, has to speak to the people over and over about their lack of faith, which manifests in a lack of follow-through, a lack of obedience, and a patent refusal to consider the words of God to them as binding and necessary. The people are constantly disavowing any belonging to this God through their heinous sins.
In this passage, the people are reprimanded for their idolatry, which is often the go-to sin in the people of Israel (and frankly in us today). They seek after other gods, set them up in their temple, believing that God will not be offended, or if He is, will not take action.
Perhaps it’s time for us to take a look at whether our stated beliefs match up to our lives.