Devotional Thoughts for Today
The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought: 2 “Judah mourns, and her gates languish; her people lament on the ground, and the cry of Jerusalem goes up. 3 Her nobles send their servants for water; they come to the cisterns; they find no water; they return with their vessels empty; they are ashamed and confounded and cover their heads. 7 “Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O LORD, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you. 8 O you hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
Last November, I ran a half-marathon for the first (and probably last) time in my life. For training, I ran at least three times a week for about two months; so by the time the race came around, I felt confident enough—even excited. I’m an idealist at heart, so although my practice runs were never fun, I thought the actual race would be exhilarating. After running the 13.2 miles, I can safely say that long-distance runs are physically strenuous every time you do them.
In our passage today, the prophet Jeremiah summarizes how the Israelites began to mourn and lament to God, as they felt the effects of a drought on their livelihood—less food, less water, less agency, etc. Prior to the famine, they had been living comfortably, offering worship to both God and false idols and remaining unphased by Jeremiah’s warnings. The drought brought forth a new response from the Israelites—one of soberness, brokenness, and desperation. But this isn’t a new story for Israel. As we know well by now, the Israelites fall away, endure hardship and are led to repentance, time and time again. Despite the pattern, our passage reads, “Judah mourns, and her gates languish; her people lament on the ground…” This reminds me that no matter the suffering, no matter the form it comes in, it hurts every time. Likewise, being led to repentance is a raw and meaningful experience every time. The process of realizing that you messed up yet again, and need God to save you again, strips you of all your pride and brings you to your knees. At the same time, it brings you to the most true and safe place, knowing that God has already forgiven you in Jesus and loves you the same.
Today, let’s remember how our track record is far from perfect, but God has been faithful to us. Let us be gracious to ourselves and others in their time of vulnerability and need, extending the same kind of love and acceptance that we have also received.
Prayer: Father, thank You for being with us through the good and the bad. As we receive Your grace time and time again, transform us to be gracious and accepting as You are. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 26
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 2:1-5: Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
Questions to Consider
- According to this passage, how is one led to repentance?
- Where do God’s judgment fall and why do you think that is so?
- In what areas of your life can you replace harshness with more kindness, forbearance, and patience?
- We are led to repentance after experiencing the riches of God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience. In real life, this means we go against God, but we find His patience and forgiveness, instead of His wrath, time and time again.
- God’s judgment falls on those who pass judgment on others while they themselves practice wrongdoings. This describes someone who is unaware or dismissive of their own wrongdoings.
- Personal reflection.
Today, we probably interacted with many different people, whether it was at work, school, or home. Are there any relationships or topics where God may be calling us to be less harsh and more open-minded and patient?