That's the Book: Jude
In the 1980's it was awesome in Florida to purchase large Burmese pythons. Apparently the other drug dealers were not only impressed by white suit jackets with teal t-shirts but they also liked the idea of pets that could kill you. However, drug dealers don't have the best instincts when it comes to caring for living creatures so they frequently got bored and released their pets into the wild. In Florida the nearest wild is The Everglades. Fast forward almost 40 years and the pythons have taken over.
The python population in the Everglades is estimated to be at least 10,000 and could be as high as several hundred thousand. No one knows. In addition, "Scientists say that the snakes are responsible for a recent 90 to 99 percent drop in the small mammal population in the national park." (see citation link at the bottom of this post - seriously - read the whole article. It freaked me out). There are almost no rabbits, deer, raccoons or wild birds. The pythons have started taking on the alligators. Nasty.
The book of Jude was written by one of Jesus' brothers. He, like James, was not a follower of his family member until after he had witnessed the resurrection. But then Jude spent the rest of his life spreading the word about Jesus and serving the early church. The book of Jude is a one chapter warning to the church not to let false teachers into their midst. Because like the pythons in the Everglades, they have the tendency to kill, maim and destroy.
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Jude 1:3-4
The group of scientists tasked with attempting to control the python population in the Everglades state that finding the snakes is difficult. But possible if you know and track their behavior. Same thing is true with people who do not have God's truth as their goal.
These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. Jude 1:16
This verse makes me want to filter my Instagram feed through this perspective. Who am I following who grumbles all the time? Who finds fault? Who boasts or flatters for their own advantage? And a scarier question is do my social media posts reflect this or God's grace? Are my conversations with others patterned after Jesus or a snake?
The way to stay true is spelled out in Jude.
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Jude 1:20-21
The quote from the python hunting scientist which really sunk in was this; "If nothing were done about these pythons, they could eventually convert our entire wildlife biomass into one giant snake".
And this is also why Jude wrote his letter to the church. If nothing was to be done about the lies influencing the early believes they could have been swayed from the truth by that original snake in the garden. Grumbling, pride, and lies are still today some of his favorite tactics. And like then, if nothing is done to remind the church to hold the line and stay with the truth outlined in scripture we could all turn into one giant lying snake.
But there is good news. Something was done about our invasion. Christ came. He lived a perfect life. Died for our sin and rose from the dead. And this something resets the environment we live in. Because of His life we have the power to overcome. Jude knew it. If you need encouraged today - read this verse out loud. Print it out. Post it on your fridge. Take a photo and make it your phone background screen. He is able to keep you from stumbling. Glory to Him.
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 1:24-25
Take that snakes, liars, drug dealers, grumblers and prideful boasters. I know who wins.
Unless you are very familiar with the Old Testament and other Jewish historical texts; the book of Jude can be confusing. I really appreciated The Bible Project's overview as they went step by step through each section. This will help you unpack the important book and understand all the references.
Jackie Hill Perry is a poet, prophet and preacher. I love this woman's teaching. She just launched a full study of the book of Jude. I'd recommend you check it out.
And the link if you want to purchase Jackie Hill-Perry's new study on Jude.
Crazy interesting article about the Pythons in the Everglades. READ HERE. And if you want more go to YouTube and look up Python vs. Alligator. You'll see how I spent my Saturday morning. FREAKY.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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