July 28, Saturday

The AMI QT Devotionals from July 23-29 are provided by Pastor Jason Sato of OTR in Cincinnati.  Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (B.S.) and Westminster Theological Seminary in California (M.Div.), is married to Jessica, and they have three young  children: Jonah, Lily, and Ayla (nine months old).

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“While There is Time”

Jeremiah 24:8–10 (ESV)

But thus says the LORD: “Like the bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten, so will I treat Zedekiah the king of Judah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt. [9] I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a reproach, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. [10] And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they shall be utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.”

In our passage this morning, Jeremiah continues to explain the vision of the basket of figs: The good figs are the people who are sent into exile by Babylon.  The bad figs are the people who are allowed to remain in the Promised Land, albeit under the rule of the Babylonians.  While the exiles go through a harsher experience initially, they are actually the ones favored by God.  Those who remain in the land are tempted to believe that they are more righteous than those who are exiled, and that they can continue on in their way of life.

From high school into the first couple years of college, I managed to get by without doing much work.  I slept through lectures, exchanged homework assignments with friends, and crammed before tests.  I thought this was a viable way of approaching life.  Thankfully, I received a wake-up call in my junior year.  With harder coursework, these study habits produced failing grades.  While I stubbornly clung to my failing system as long as I could, eventually, I made the necessary changes and finally learned to work hard.

In the moment, I certainly wished that my lackluster effort would be enough.  But what if I managed to get through college without ever learning to work hard?  Eventually, it would catch up to me and instead of failing classes, I would be getting fired from jobs and the consequences would become more and more serious with time.

The Israelites who remain in Jerusalem or flee to Egypt do not appreciate the seriousness of their situation.  They assume that the worst is over, and since they’ve survived thus far, they don’t need to make any major changes in their lives.  Rather than being thankful for undeservedly being able to stay in the Promised Land and accepting God’s judgment humbly, they cling to a false sense of assurance and harden their hearts to God and His prophet, Jeremiah.

Sadly, the greater judgment is still to come and the people are less and less likely to be ready for the Day of the Lord.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You often do not give me what I deserve.  May I not mistake grace for deserved favor.  May I not be foolish enough to linger in sin but repent and turn now while there is still time.  Thank You that You are faithful to forgive and bind up the brokenhearted. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Ezra 6-7

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