Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is good for you, I lead you in the way that you must go. If only you had been alert to my commandments, your happiness would have been like a river, your integrity like the waves of the sea. Your children would have been numbered like the sand, your descendants as many as its grains. Never would your name have been cut off or blotted out before me.
Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘What description can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place:
“We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn’t dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn’t be mourners.”
‘For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He is possessed.” The Son of Man came, eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet wisdom has been proved right by her actions.’
“It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another”
My young nephew is almost two now. He’s a real wunderkind. At the tender age of 23 months, he has learned to have opinions and to voice them vociferously. He has acquired social graces. He has learned recall and the comforts of a daily routine. In short, he is learning to become a person and it’s a joy to watch. With children, the first acts of dissent and self-expression are empowering. Left unchecked though, they grow up to become adults who disagree for the sake of disagreeing. As the verse in Matthew puts it, they are like ‘children who sit in marketplace and call to one another’. Their own opinions are not necessarily grounded in arguments of any substance. They just want to be disagreeable.
One of Christ’s greatest challenges was dealing with exactly this sort of people. The Pharisees tried to thwart Jesus at every turn, manipulating his words to trap him, rabble rousing to cause unrest wherever he evangelized. We’ve all encountered such individuals at some point in our lives, people who block our progress, who scheme to thwart our plans, who disagree with whatever we say just for the sake of being disagreeable. They’re to be found everywhere – at our workplace, in our schools, in our churches, in our kids’ playgroups. When we’re faced with individuals like that, take a deep breath and remember the immortal words from Isaiah, that “I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go” (Isaiah 48:17-18).
Do not be afraid of their manoeuvres or be intimidated by their advances against you. If your intentions are good and premised on the truth, ‘wisdom is vindicated by her works’.
(Today’s Oxygen by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray for the tenacity to tolerate and rise above those who scheme, gossip and manoeuvre against us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for those who support us, who encourage us and pick us up when we’re beaten and laid down by the machinations of evil men.