“How Can We Say ‘We Are Wise?'” ( Jeremiah 8:8, NIV ) by Carley Evans

“[We] cling to deceit; [we] refuse to return… No one repents of his wickedness, saying, ‘What have I done?’ Each pursues his own course like a horse charging into battle.” (Jeremiah 8:5-6) God bemoans His people, saying: “My people do not know the requirements of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 8:7) “They reject the Word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?” (Jeremiah 8:9) “They are put to shame; they are dismayed and trapped.” (Jeremiah 8:9) And, on top of this, their “prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of My people as though it is not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 8:10-11) They are “all greedy for gain.” (Jeremiah 8:10)

“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of My people?” (Jeremiah 8:22)

“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I Am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

As for us, God’s children, “how can [we] say, ‘We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,’ when actually the lying pen of the scribes handle it falsely?” (Jeremiah 8:8)

We must cry out, “No one is like You, O Lord; You are great, and Your Name is mighty in power. Who should not revere You, O King of the nations? This is Your due… There is no one like You.” (Jeremiah 10:6-7) “[You] are the true God; [You] are the living God, the eternal King.” (Jeremiah 10:10)

“If You Were Blind” ( John 9: 41, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

Jesus is accused of being a sinner by some of the Pharisees. Jesus has healed a man born blind, and He has done this good and miraculous deed on the Sabbath. The Pharisees say, “This man is not from God, for He doesn’t keep the Sabbath!” (John 9:16) They accuse the Lord of the Sabbath of disobeying God’s Law.

They even challenge the healed man, telling him to “give glory to God. We know this man is a sinner!” (John 9:24) At first, the man admits he doesn’t really know (or care!) if Jesus is a sinner. All that matters to him is that Jesus has healed him. “One thing I do know,” he says. “I was blind, and now I can see!” (John 9:25) Yet this humble man has a challenge of his own. He asks the Pharisees, “You don’t want to become His disciples, do you?” (John 9:27)

The Pharisees resort to ridicule, close to sticking out their tongues at the man. They remind him they are “Moses’ disciples.” “We know that God has spoken to Moses. But this man — we don’t know where He’s from!” (John 9:28)

The healed man is bewildered by this point. He’s probably grown up believing the religious leaders, the Pharisees are smart. But here, he sees they are illogical. Logic says that “God doesn’t listen to sinners.” (John 9:31) And, logic says, “Throughout history no one has ever heard of someone opening the eyes of a person born blind. If this man is not from God, He wouldn’t be able to do anything.” (John 9:32)

The only answer the Pharisees have for the man’s logic is insult. “You were born entirely in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” (John 9:34)

Jesus hears about the Pharisees’ treatment of the man He has healed. He seeks out the man — He asks him if he believes in the Son of Man. When the man discovers that Jesus is the One sent to earth “for judgment, in order that those who do not see will see and those who do see will become blind.” (John 9:39); he says, “I believe, Lord!” (John 9:38)

The Pharisees overhear Jesus. They ask, “We aren’t blind too, are we?” Jesus bluntly tells them that if they were blind, “you wouldn’t have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see’ — your sin remains.” (John 9:41)

Jesus’ disciples had asked Jesus when He passed by the man born blind, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents. that he was born blind?” (John 9:1) And Jesus had answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3)

The work Jesus displays in the man born blind is a work performed on the Sabbath. To the Pharisees, it matters not that the work is good. In self-righteousness, they refuse to see God at work — God at work in forgiveness, mercy, love, kindness, care, and generosity. What they see is disobedience; their focus on the Law.

The man born blind is filled with gratitude and “he worships [Jesus.]” (John 9:38)

“Evil Lies Close At Hand” (Galatians 6: 1, ESV) by Carley Evans

Paul calls those “who are spiritual” to “restore” “anyone caught in any transgression” “in a spirit of gentleness.” Some are caught in transgression as one caught in a trap. Others who are free of that trap should assist in that person’s rescue from sin. Yet, Paul warns that the one who is “spiritual” must “keep watch on [himself], lest [he] too be tempted.”

Everyone is subject to temptation; and temptation is not temptation if there is no chance of failure. If the Christian life is as easy as saying, “I am free of sin;” then why is there so much sin in our churches, in our homes, in our children, in our marriages, in our work places? Why do we struggle against the flesh if it has been totally crucified?

Paul writes of this, “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7: 21 – 25)

Paul writes, “For whatever does not proceed form faith is sin.” (Romans 14: 22)

And, “do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14: 16 – 17)

The struggle is to maintain faith, to keep trust in God’s ultimate goodness, to believe that everything works together toward His perfection.