Every generation is in danger of not being as faithful as the one(s) that preceded it. There is, of course, the huge possibility that “this” generation (whichever generation “this” is) will restart a journey of renewed faithfulness. The church in the US—and so-called Christian Culture—is experiencing a diminishment of significance (whether perceived or real). The US is about 4 decades behind Europe in this.
While Jesus taught in parables (such as in today’s passage in Mark), the Old Testament is mixed between prophetic vision, history, poetry, and realistic/poetic history. The story of Amaziah is historical, and yet there is something there for us as a parable.
In many respects, the church has been Amaziah. We haven’t dealt with our shrines (see yesterday’s devotional) and our blind spots. We were proud of our significance and we struck out against the world…and we lost.
In response, the gold, silver, and holy objects that we held so dear as vital to our well-being were taken away. We have been stripped of much of our glory. In fact, much of the church is drenched in mud and other filth that will take years to clean off and even more years to remove the aroma.
Like Amaziah, we confused our title (king, or Judah, or “the church” or “the kingdom on earth”) with authority and worldly power. We also confused the title with a right to certain outcomes. We have been deeply disappointed.
This is a good thing.
Perhaps it is my pastoral and “church” circles, and not yours. I hear the constant refrain of “back to normal” and I don’t want that. I want a church and a people that care more about planting the seeds of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ than are worried about Washington, D.C., COVID, and so forth.
It is not to say that we should not be concerned about Washington, D.C., or COVID (or whatever else). It is to say that they have become gods and idols that we turn to while still saying we are God’s.
- Where in your life do you see yourself following the trappings rather than God?
- What is missing in the message from/to Amaziah and Joash, and why is that important?
- How and where are you casting seeds? Are you casting sparingly or generously?
Lord, help us to release everything of the world so that we are free to only grab onto you. Amen.