Romans 1:19–23, Isaiah 2:1-5, Nehemiah 8:1–12, 2 Corinthians 1:12–14
From the foundations of the world, God’s hands are at work. We often are blind to our own ignorance, sometimes willingly so. God doesn’t want us to remain ignorant of Creation, its ways, and certainly not his ways. The high ways of God are often easy to see, but hard to travel. We may know the paths, but remaining on them is hard. One of the biggest obstacles is our own pride.
In Nehemiah, the pride of Israel has already been struck hard. They are at the mercy of a powerful empire. This powerful empire through a powerful act of grace of God, allowed the exiled Jews to return to their homeland. However, sadly, many of them had lost, or never learned, what the ways of the Lord even were. They did not know the law. They did not know the law that their forefathers violated leading to their exile. They did not learn from their past. Many, apparently, willingly avoided learning from the past, just based on the ignorance of their history conveyed in this passage in Nehemiah.
The appointed religious leaders had to teach the people what they should have already known. While it is easy to blame the religious leaders, it had always been the duty of the families to pass on the history and laws. The religious leaders had their duties, but it wasn’t to replace the responsibilities of families, clans, and tribes to teach their people. As the people were taught, they learned. They mourned. They began to understand how far they were. It may have not been their fault, but it was their responsibility. Now, however, the religious leaders interpreted and explained the basics. Then they probably built upon that. They had to rebuild an entire religious understanding in a people with no foundation.
There is no fault here. It just is. There is responsibility. The responsibility each of us have with God’s words and ways. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul knows that he cannot convey everything to them in a letter, or even multiple letters. It takes living with them to teach them to the depth of understanding he wants for them. Yet, by laying the foundation which they can understand, the leaders the follow after Paul have a foundation they can build on to explain the depth, height, and width of God’s grace, love, and mercy.
1) What can you do to deepen your understanding of God’s word? Now, will you commit to doing it?
2) Church-y language (or jargon) is often mysterious to people with no religious or church experience (and sometimes even to those that do). What can you do to speak in a way that people are better able to understand God and God’s ways?
3) We often cast blame at others saying, “they ought to know better.” Instead of that attitude, will you take on an attitude of, “how can help them better understand God, and be full of grace, and be open to learning myself?”
FD) What is the difference between fault and responsibility? Why does that matter in our relationship with God?