Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Jeremiah 42:1-22 and Hebrews 1:1-14.

Hebrews 1:9  “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” (NIV)

            We live in an age of moral ambiguity. There is so much distrust in our society right now that we’ve forgotten how to tell the difference between righteousness and wickedness. Fear and suspicion cause division; only faith and trust can restore the unity that communities and civilizations need to thrive. If we equate righteousness with self-righteousness and excuse wickedness as a means of getting what we want, then we will lose our connection to godliness and one another. And if we think that our society is immune from immoralism, then we have also forgotten the lessons from both History and the Bible.

            In today’s highlighted Bible verse, we read the words of commendation that God gave to Jesus, His Son, for being obedient and authentic. Christ kept His integrity by both loving and living righteousness; He also opposed and condemned wickedness wherever it occurred. Loving righteousness was an act of faith; confronting wickedness was an act of courage. Christ could never have been accused of mendacity or duplicity. He remained loyal to God and spoke the truth, no matter how unpopular or how unacceptable it had become. The world rewarded Christ with a Cross for His integrity; God rewarded Him with a Crown for His loyalty. Jesus loved righteousness and hated wickedness, therefore God anointed Him with the oil of joy.

            If we believe we are followers of Christ and disciples of Jesus, then we must guard righteousness and confront wickedness. It may cost us a great deal and make us unpopular, but to reward wickedness and to follow in its wake is to disregard all that Jesus taught, all that He stood for, and all that He died for. At the end of our days, when we will all stand before God, would we rather receive the oil of joy or the slime of wickedness? The choice, as always, is ours.

Point to ponder: What righteousness does Christ love in our community? What wickedness does He hate in our society?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You never said that having faith in You was going to be easy, or that following Your ways were going to keep us safe. Open our eyes to really see both the righteousness and wickedness in our community. Help us to embrace goodness and to avoid evil. In Your Holy Name, we humbly and earnestly pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s simple bulletin cover designs called “The Way.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click here.