Morning Musing: Zephaniah 1:12-13

“And at that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who settled down comfortably, who say to themselves: The Lord will do nothing–good or bad. Their wealth will become plunder and their houses a ruin. They will build houses but never live in them, plant vineyards but never drink their wine.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Lisa and I have recently been watching through a series that popped up on our Hulu account called “Extreme Homes.” The show takes viewers inside a whole variety of houses that are “extreme” in one way or another. Some are small, some are huge, but they are all unique. But while they come in all shapes and sizes, the one thing they all have in common is that they are owned by people who are wealthy. They are homes built with the intention of being able to set aside all worries and concerns and just enjoy life. In many ways, that’s not just the American dream, but the dream of everyone, everywhere. Based on what God says to the people of Judah here, though, it sounds like it might be more of a nightmare.

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Digging in Deeper: Habakkuk 2:9-11

“Woe to him who dishonestly makes wealth for his house to place his nest on high, to escape the grasp of disaster! You have planned shame for your house by wiping out many peoples and sinning against your own self. For the stones will cry out from the wall, and the rafters will answer them from the woodwork.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

How have you come by what you have? Hard work? Probably. Inheritance? Perhaps. Gift from others? Certainly some of it. Did you come by any of it by…less savory…means? Let me change lines of questioning on you. How do you think about money? What does it mean to you? What kind of a role does it serve in your life? These two themes may not seem to have anything to do with one another, but they have a great deal more in common than you might think.

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Digging in Deeper: Micah 2:6-7

“‘Quit your preaching,’ they preach. ‘They should not preach these things; shame will not overtake us.’ House of Jacob, should it be asked, ‘Is the Spirit of the Lord impatient? Are these the things he does?’ Don’t my words bring good to the one who walks uprightly?”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Nobody likes to hear bad news. Well, we like to hear bad news about somebody else—after all, that’s all they deliver on television and millions of viewers still watch regularly—but we don’t like bad news personally. We don’t like someone telling us what we’re doing is wrong. The most popular preachers are the ones who are best at telling us what we want to hear. This is the case now and it has been the case for a very long time.

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Morning Musing: James 5:2-3

“Your wealth has rotted and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasure in the last days.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I still remember moving from seminary to my first church job in Church Road, VA. We had some good friends help us load a 26-foot Penske to capacity, along with both cars, and we headed east from Denver, CO. Nearly nine years later we did it again, this time to where we are still. Maybe you’ve experienced this. We knew we had accumulated more stuff in that nearly decade span, but we weren’t prepared for how much more.

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Digging in Deeper: James 5:1

“Come now, you rich people, weep and wail over the miseries that are coming on you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you remember the original House Hunters on HGTV? I do. It caught on because it’s format was unique. I’m certain there were shows about people buying houses before, but something about the visit-three-pick-one approach caught on. Big time. Like, 183 seasons and almost 1,800 episodes caught on. Not to mention more spin-offs than you can probably imagine. And while there’s nothing quite like the original, the most popular spin-offs are the ones that focus on rich people buying big houses. A recent version is even called “My Lottery Dream Home.” What is it about seeing wealthy people buy stuff the rest of us can’t afford that is so addictive to watch?

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