The AMI Devotional Blogs from June 25-July 1 are written by Phillip Chen, college pastor at Church of Southland. Philip, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, is currently studying at Talbot School of Theology. He is married to Esther.
Devotional Thoughts for This Morning
“God Removing His Hands of Protection”
Jeremiah 15:1-2 (ESV)
Then the Lord said to me, “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go! 2 And when they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord: “‘Those who are for pestilence, to pestilence, and those who are for the sword, to the sword; those who are for famine, to famine, and those who are for captivity, to captivity.’
Hollywood movies are typically characterized by a happy ending, where all loose ends are tied up, the villains are destroyed, and the hero or heroine of the film is victorious—usually, life is good again after a season of conflict. We are used to the harmonious and joyful end. This passage in Jeremiah 15 can be hard to read if we treat it as a stand alone text, because it is a clear description of the coming destruction of Judah. There is no happy end here. However, if we read this with the understanding that this is not the ending, but rather a chapter in the ongoing saga of Israel’s covenant relationship with the Lord, then we can understand the nature of God.
What has been happening? Israel had long fallen and taken into captivity by the Assyrians, and Judah—though spared by the mercy of God—has continued in a long lasting unfaithful nature. Again and again God has delivered His people, but again and again they continue to be unfaithful. There was hope with King Josiah’s reforms, but the sinfulness and wickedness of the people continue to drive this nation into committing wicked and atrocious acts against God.
Though God has already told Jeremiah to stop praying for the people several times, he still continues to plead with God for mercy upon Judah. Yet the reality is that the nation of Judah has broken their covenant with the Lord countless times and has become even more wicked than the nations that occupied that land prior to them. God finally tells Jeremiah that even if Moses and Samuel, two premier leaders of Israel, were to stand before God and intercede for these people, He still would not listen. If you will recall, Moses and Samuel actually did intercede for Israel and God listened and relented of His anger. There is no happy end because Judah has chosen its destiny. They have chosen to walk away from God, and in a sense, God is telling Jeremiah, “Let them go.” God doesn’t necessarily have to destroy them Himself, but by lifting His hand of protection from them, when they blatantly choose to leave Him, is pretty much the same thing.
Did you know that as children of God, we have God’s hand of protection upon us? But if we continue to reject Him and walk away from Him, He will let us walk away from Him. Perhaps you are in a season where you have found yourself continually turning away from God; it’s not too late to turn back to Him and receive His forgiveness, grace, mercy, and protection! But if you choose to continue turning away, know that you will also be walking away from His hand of protection over your life.
Prayer: Father God, help me to draw near to You and stay within Your hands of protection. I repent of the ways I have turned away from You and been unfaithful in my relationship with You. Yet Your mercies are new every single day. Your love and grace is beyond my comprehension. Thank You for Your love. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 32
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 John 1:5-10 (ESV): This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Question to Consider
- What does John say about walking in the light?
- What is the power of confession pointed out here?
- Are you currently walking in the light? If no, why not?
- John says that if we walk in the light, God is that light, and therefore we are walking with Him. When we walk with Him, we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus. We must walk intimately with Him so that we are under the protective covering of the light (and stay out of the harm of darkness).
- John says that God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. He is able to forgive us of our sins because of what Jesus Christ has done for us – that speaks of His justice. He is willing to forgive us of our sins – that speaks of His faithfulness. Not only that, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. He is in the process of making us more like Him. Though we fall again and again, we simply have to turn back to Him, confess our sins, and continue walking in the light. There’s a difference between falling down in the light and turning away from the light into darkness.
- Personal response.
What are ways that you need to turn back to the Lord? Identify those places in your life that you are intentionally rejecting God and invite Him to touch those places. Humble yourself and receive His forgiveness, mercy, and grace.