Devotional Thoughts for Today
Pour it out on the children in the street and on the young men gathered together; both husband and wife will be caught in it, and the old, those weighed down with years. 12 Their houses will be turned over to others, together with their fields and their wives, when I stretch out my hand against those who live in the land,” declares the Lord. 13 “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. 15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the Lord. 16 This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 17 I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’ 18 Therefore hear, you nations; you who are witnesses, observe what will happen to them. 19 Hear, you earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law. 20 What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.” 21 Therefore this is what the Lord says: “I will put obstacles before this people. Parents and children alike will stumble over them; neighbors and friends will perish.
The first year that I started as the youth pastor at Catalyst, I was enthusiastic, excited, and filled with idea upon ideas of all the ways I would lead our youth to love and serve the Lord. Sermon prepping, event planning, and discipleship was a complete joy, and I instantly fell in love with my kids. It was about two years into my stint when I was bombarded with certain life circumstances that began to take a toll on my physical body, as well as spiritual and emotional health. What used to be exciting became a drudge, and it was about that same time when I saw my youth kids begin to struggle with complacency and lack of excitement for our youth events. I had my wakeup call when I was preaching a message about Jesus as the true King, and each one of my students— even the active participants—seemed disengaged. I knew at that moment that my actions, attitude, and spiritual life was seeping into the very lives that God had entrusted me with; and I needed to do everything I could to get well, not only for myself, but also for my students.
Today we read of God’s destruction upon the land of Jerusalem for their failure to follow “the good way” and listen to the call of the Lord. He rejects all the burnt offerings calling them unacceptable, and pours His wrath on both young and old, husband and wife, prophets and priests, and the least to the greatest. While we would imagine that our loving Father would spare the lives of the weak and young, we see that Jerusalem’s failure to heed the word of the Lord causes the entire nation to fall into the judgment of the Lord.
Our very actions have consequences to, not only ourselves, but those around us. If you are a teacher, your attitude and preparation affects how your students will learn; if you’re a parent, your emotional health will affect the way you love and discipline your child; and if you’re a husband or wife, your intimacy with the Lord will affect your intimacy with your spouse. The cost of sin is not just one that stays in the parameters of your personal life; it affects those around us because we were created in relationship and for relationship. Today let us assess how we are doing in our spiritual, emotional, and physical health and actively take charge to transform the areas that need work. The stake of our health in these areas is not just our well-being but also those around us!
Prayer: God, I thank You for Your loving mercy that covers a multitude of sins. But help me to see that in the midst of Your grace, there are consequences to my sins. Help me to steward all that You give to me so that I may be a blessing to all. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Habakkuk 1-2