Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Devotion 11.5.15

"How can you tell when a politician is lying?" the old joke goes.  "His lips are moving," is the answer.  Politicians are easy targets because, well, they are easy targets.  So, where does the phrase, "He's just giving lip service to this" come from?  The actual definition is, "Stating support for someone or something without producing effort toward it."

Much of what we hurl, in terms of accusations, at people in public can probably be hurled right back at us.  We give lip service to things, all of us.  "I love my job.  I just really believe that I will remain in this job the remainder of my days," he said just before he was traded, found another job, got a promotion to a different job in a different company, and that is just one example of "lip service."

Here is a scriptural example from Joshua.  "Then the people (Israel) answered, 'Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods, for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went...." (24:16 - 17)  This was a moment of the covenant renewal just before Joshua dies.  This is Israel, who has been unfaithful to God so many times that just reading this makes us just nod and say, "Mmmhmm."  Unfortunately, there are several books of the bible before Joshua that say otherwise.  And as with everything, Israel can serve as a true example of us in modern day, the sinners, giving lip service to things.

Ruth, though, is very different in terms of faithfulness.  Ruth, a Moabite, tells Naomi, an Israelite, your God will be my God (1:16).  Naomi believes that Boaz, whom Ruth has just worked for and met, has found favor with Ruth (for those of us in simplified terms I believe that means he likes her).  So, Naomi urges her to seek him, and Ruth does so she goes to Boaz after a meal and lies at his feet (3:7).  She rises to leave early at Boaz's request, even though nothing has happened, just to maintain the righteousness in the relationship.  He gives her food and says he will wait until a "redeemer" (probably a man of faith, even a priest or official of the faith) comes to settle the matter (can Boaz take Ruth).

So, where do we find our faith?  Are we like Israel stating that God will not be forsaken or  are we like Ruth who simply acts out her faithfulness?  Pray that we are more like Ruth in our lives and that we are faithful to God/Christ in our acts?  Pray that our actions are not just "lip service" to Christ.

Hope Men's Ministry

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