Devotional Thought for Today
“Why God Does What He Does”
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it. And the Chaldeans who fight against this city shall come and set fire to this city and burn it, with the houses on whose roofs they have offered incense to Baal and poured out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke Me to anger; because the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done only evil before Me from their youth. For the children of Israel have provoked Me only to anger with the work of their hands,’ says the Lord.
In basic literature, it is understood that in every story there is a protagonist and an antagonist. The protagonist, who is the main character and is generally the “good guy,” is provoked by the antagonist, the “bad guy.” The protagonist is the hero usually abhorring evil and preserving good.
In Jeremiah, God can be understood as the protagonist, despising wrongdoings and idol offerings. When a heart is rich in love, its natural tendency is to despise unrighteousness, because love does not delight in evil but always rejoices with the truth (1 Cor. 13:8). Also, an upright heart is attracted to all that is good and beneficial to another. Love celebrates the promotion of others and gives up of oneself (John 15:13). To elaborate, sincere love abhors the ways of the flesh and is drawn to whatever is right, honorable, pure, and holy (Philippians 4:8). This truth magnified to perfection is the reason that sin separated people from God, causing Jesus to be the only qualified sacrifice to pay the penalty of iniquity.
Therefore, it is healthy as a believer to do an inventory of our thoughts, words, and behaviors to gauge how we are progressing spiritually. Spiritual maturity is to love God with our whole being and then to love others as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:39). Is your heart increasing in love or is it stuck in self-preservation? Increase in love reveals that the heart is submitting to the ways of the Lord, while self-preservation is a sign that you have not allowed the Lordship of Christ to reign over yourself (thoughts, attitudes, & will).
In Jeremiah, we see a Father who is not passive but active in bringing about correction and alignment in His children, in order that we may live in the richness of our true identities as His royal children. This is love.
Take time today to consider this: Do you despise the ways of the flesh and wrongdoings? Are you drawn to all that is upright and beneficial to others? The answers to these will give you a good gauge as to how you are doing spiritually. Bring all unhealthiness to the Lord and allow Him the issues of your heart—this is the way of love!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for modeling the ways of love for me! Thank You that as I submit to Your ways and am not be ruled by my feelings, I am allowing Your love to be perfected in me. Thank You that losing is actually gaining in Your Kingdom. I choose to submit myself to You, in order to live as one who is in Christ and can serve as a blessing to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Job 4-5
Correction: In our blog on August 20 (Monday), Jude was assigned as the Bible reading for that day. Thinking that it was a mistake, I changed it to Job 1. Actually, I just discovered that Jude was the correct reading for that day. My double apology!