I’m always fascinated when I’m by people who can point to some random bird and start prattling off about how it’s a blue-chested, straight-winged, Egyptian fowler bird that lays one egg every 7 years and only lives in trees that have Napoleon-red flowers.
My knowledge of birds, on the other hand, is limited to chickens, and if I stretch my brain a bit, I could perhaps tell you the difference between them and ostriches.
But, I think I’ve told you this before, one bird that really fascinates me is the male Bower bird. It is so desperate for attention that it will build the most elaborate and colorful nests just to attract the attention of a female. I’ve seen pictures where one bird looked for any blue thing it could find – toothbrushes, bottle tops, pencils – and decorated the nest with them. And the females like it – the more color there is, the more they will be attracted.
But this behavior is not just limited to birds – if you’ve seen teenagers walking around town on a Saturday, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You would be forgiven to think that they are members of a new religion that worships the rainbow – the dress code is simply amazing – purple jeans with green sneakers tied up with yellow laces. Apparently this phenomena is called color blocking and I’ve been told that I should seriously consider it. I may be wrong but I think the general point of it all is to gain attention and attract the members of the opposite sex.
We see this desire to please everywhere – those with children will know how they will often do anything and everything just to hear you say “well done”. Husbands will steal flowers from a neighbor’s garden to give to their wives. And wives will spend hours scouring recipe books just to make the perfect meal for their man.
And all this is wonderful. But have you ever considered what it is that pleases God? It’s an important question, especially when we are told by Isaiah (64:6) that we are all infected by sin and that even the very best of our deeds are like filthy rags before God.
Chapter 10 closed off with a serious warning of what will not please God, namely turning away from Jesus Christ when faced with trouble. But our passage this morning focuses its attention on the living the kind of life that is pleasing to Him, and namely that is a life lived in certain faith, which is our first point.