To Anyone Who Has an Ear

Jon Brown

READ : Hosea 12

Ah, I am rich, I have gained wealth for myself . . . (v. 8)

Ephraim’s confidence sounds stunningly similar to that of the church in Laodicea that St. John addressed. Like Ephraim, they said, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing” (Revelation 3:17). Here are two times that God’s people have smugly defined their wealth according to the possessions they have accumulated.

But God does not equate the amount of our resources with our position in the kingdom. The Spirit replies to the church in Laodicea, “You are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). God responds to Ephraim, “I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again” (v. 9). Can you guess what he would say to us today?

As wonderful as physical resources may be, and as challenging as life can become without them, possessions do not dictate our value before the living God. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). He said, “The last will be first, and the first shall be last” (Matthew 20:16). Rich and poor in the kingdom of God are entirely reoriented from the world’s definitions.

PRAYER

Lord, give us hearts and minds to celebrate what is really valuable. Amen.