Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Jude 5-21 (NRSV)
Now I desire to remind you, though you are fully informed, that the Lord, who once for all saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great day. Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Yet in the same way these dreamers also defile the flesh, reject authority, and slander the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a condemnation of slander against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these people slander whatever they do not understand, and they are destroyed by those things that, like irrational animals, they know by instinct. Woe to them! For they go the way of Cain, and abandon themselves to Balaam’s error for the sake of gain, and perish in Korah’s rebellion. These are blemishes on your love-feasts, while they feast with you without fear, feeding themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the deepest darkness has been reserved forever.
It was also about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “See, the Lord is coming with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all, and to convict everyone of all the deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers and malcontents; they indulge their own lusts; they are bombastic in speech, flattering people to their own advantage.
But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; for they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts.” It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
Despite the strange stories in this short book, the clear, direct warning of Jude booms forth to believers regarding their lack of faith and courage in the face of persecution. After all, living as Christians always poses a threat to would-be powers, whether the Roman Empire of that period, or terrorists of various stripes and methods in our own time. Those persons who follow Jesus Christ faithfully and effectively will attract the attention of those who seek their own deification in this life.
Living lives solely devoted to the Lord may disturb or even anger others, but God Almighty receives the honor so richly deserved. What is more, the Lord blesses us in ways not necessarily obvious to us, let alone to others, but nonetheless real. As we learn to lean ever so faithfully upon the strength God promises, we can maintain our faithfulness by praying in the Holy Spirit, remaining in the love of God, and looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord, give us courage when we are fearful, and confidence when we are threatened. Amen.
Go with God.