John the baptizer was the one raised up to prepare the people for the mission and ministry of Jesus. The temple courts were not his grounds or teaching, not even the streets and houses, the message John was bringing was reserved for the desert, the wilderness. People would have to intentionally travel to places they are not use to going to see John. Their reward upon arrival was a message which was hard to swallow. John called people out and challenged the religious people of his day. The church people he called a brood of vipers. In case you are not sure that is not a compliment in any generation or context. The hard words of John were not for shock value or to upset people, it was to point them to Jesus. Is it time for some hard words?
Peter and John are making their regular trip to the Temple for prayer, imagine that a daily trip to to gather for prayer. On the way they come across a crippled man begging. After a healing in Jesus Name the crowd calls into account what happened. Rather than complimentary words, Peter brings a hard teaching. Pointing out the fact that many of them had missed the work of God in Jesus. The challenge is simple, turn from your wicked ways and recognize what God has been doing in their midst.
The psalms are filled with words that are poetic and often hard to really understand. Psalm 5 is not one of them. It is real basic, when we follow God and the teachings of God, the protection of God is with us. we will experience God's favor. When we go our own way and reject God, our lives will come to ruin. Not complicated, but difficult to hear and wrestle with.
Abram sets out following God. Before too long he is in Egypt lying about his relationship with Sari. Soon after that he is dividing the land with Lot and helping push back the ungodly people. I often expect my life to be a long consistent climb on the ladder of faith. Not jagged but a smooth walk where I am always gaining. It was not true for Abram, or really any of those mentioned in the scriptures, what make me think that would be true for me. Abram was a confused mess of trying to remain with God, and balance his personal concern. Sound familiar? In the end righteousness is found only in follow God's concern not our own.