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Words of Faith 5-5-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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James 2:19

      You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder.


        James had grown up since childhood hearing and speaking the "Shema,” the most sacred prayer of Israel: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" (Deut. 6:4-5).  

       This is the most precious verse in all of Judaism and the foundation of the Hebrew faith.  A copy of this verse is placed in a small leather box worn by Orthodox men during prayer, and the same is put into the small container on the doorframe of each Jewish home.  It is the centerpiece of the Jewish faith.

         In ancient times, this was the key doctrinal distinctive belief in the One True God.  But now James seems to be saying that this is not enough.  Or is he?  The first word of the treasured text is the word shema or "hear.”   The word is rich with meaning. Hear intelligently and with obedience. Hear and give complete attention with perception and diligence. Hear and then proclaim with your witness.  This is more than just a call for simple attention.  It is a call to hear and respond with all of your being. 

          James may have been concerned that the depth of that Hebrew meaning had been lost.  It is so easy to slip into the habit of "beliefism" reciting creeds or affirming doctrine but missing something critical.  So, he reminds us of the frightening reality that even demons are capable of doing that! It sounds strange, but demons were among the first to recognize Jesus as the Son of God! (Luke 4:33 34) Intellectual assent to proper doctrine is important, but it is only part of the journey.   What is missing?  Relationship.  Genuine response.  Shema.  

          More significant than any doctrine is the reality that God desires a living love relationship with us through the person and work of Jesus Christ.  All the rules in the world will not create that relationship even if properly obeyed.  All the doctrine and proper prayer forms will not achieve it.  In many ways, it is like any other relationship.  It begins with time together, joys shared, grief comforted, and honest communication.  This relationship is a gift offered freely and renewable each and every day, but it must be attended to.  The demons know the doctrine, and they shudder because they do not have the love relationship or trust that is the joy of living.  

       How is your Shema?  How is your hearing relationship with God?  How is your obedient response?  Your diligence to proclaim? 


       Lord, I want to know You today.  I want to be aware of your presence creating and re-recreating me.  I want to walk in a relationship where You guide and empower me to become who You designed me to be.  I Hear. Shema. You are One.  Teach me to love You with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength. In Jesus Name, Amen.



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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2009, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.