September 26, Wednesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Need for Repentance”

Jeremiah 49:7-22

“Concerning Edom. Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Is wisdom no more in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom vanished? 8 Flee, turn back, dwell in the depths,
O inhabitants of Dedan! For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, the time when I punish him. 9 If grape gatherers came to you, would they not leave gleanings? If thieves came by night,
would they not destroy only enough for themselves? 10 But I have stripped Esau bare; I have uncovered his hiding places, and he is not able to conceal himself. His children are destroyed, and his brothers, and his neighbors; and he is no more. 11 Leave your fatherless children; I will keep them alive; and let your widows trust in me.” 12 For thus says the Lord: “If those who did not deserve to drink the cup must drink it, will you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you must drink. 13 For I have sworn by myself, declares the Lord, that Bozrah shall become a horror, a taunt, a waste, and a curse, and all her cities shall be perpetual wastes.” 14 I have heard a message from the Lord, and an envoy has been sent among the nations: “Gather yourselves together and come against her, and rise up for battle! 15 For behold, I will make you small among the nations, despised among mankind. 16 The horror you inspire has deceived you, and the pride of your heart, you who live in the clefts of the rock, who hold the height of the hill. Though you make your nest as high as the eagle’s, I will bring you down from there, declares the Lord. 17 “Edom shall become a horror. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters. 18 As when Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring cities were overthrown, says the Lord, no man shall dwell there, no man shall sojourn in her. 19 Behold, like a lion coming up from the jungle of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly make him[d] run away from her. And I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me? 20 Therefore hear the plan that the Lord has made against Edom and the purposes that he has formed against the inhabitants of Teman: Even the little ones of the flock shall be dragged away. Surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. 21 At the sound of their fall the earth shall tremble; the sound of their cry shall be heard at the Red Sea. 22 Behold, one shall mount up and fly swiftly like an eagle and spread his wings against Bozrah, and the heart of the warriors of Edom shall be in that day like the heart of a woman in her birth pains.”

Although we live in a culture of instant gratification, some people’s short-sighted choices can still surprise us.  One such instance arose in The Matrix, which depicts humanity being enslaved to robots through living in a virtual world (i.e. the Matrix) resembling the 1990s. One free man, Cypher, desires to re-enter the Matrix and live in blissful ignorance. Thus, he betrays his fellow escapees over a virtual steak dinner, despite his acknowledgment that the dinner itself isn’t real.

A more foolish choice occurred in the Old Testament, when Esau forsook his birthright to Jacob over a single meal (Gen. 25:29-34). Esau eventually became the father of the Edomites (Gen. 36:1), a people who also made foolish decisions in their dealings with the Israelites. At the time of the Exodus, the Edomites refused to let the Israelites pass through their land (Num. 20:14-21) and later fought against King David and Solomon (2 Sam. 8:14, 1 Kings 11:14-25). According to Jeremiah, they even rejoiced in Jerusalem’s destruction by the Babylonians (Lam. 4:21).

Because of the Edomites’ constant rebellion, Jeremiah prophesied that the Lord will bring destruction on Esau (Jer. 49:8), that He would strip Esau bare (49:10) and that Edom would become an object of horror (49:17). Additionally, the Edomites were known for their stone city of Petra, an ancient military fortress, yet God declared in verse 16 that “you who live in the clefts of the rocks, who occupy the heights of the hill . . . though you build your nest as high as the eagle’s, from there I will bring you down”. This came to pass in the fifth century B.C., when the Nabateans defeated the Edomites and removed them from Petra. Consequently, the Edomites no longer exist as a people today.

The story of Esau and the Edomites serve as a stark reminder of our need for continual repentance, as a point of no return does exist. In fact, Hebrews 12:17 declared that it was too late for Esau to repent despite his tears. No matter where we are, let’s repent before our hearts have become too hardened.

Prayer: Father, you know how stubborn and proud I can be. Many times I refuse to admit I’m wrong, even to You. Help me develop the humility to turn away from my pride and turn to You and follow You. May my life be one of continual repentance. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Job 41

(Once again we apologize for making a mistake with yesterday’s Bible reading.)


Lunch Break Study

Read James 4:1-10: What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people![c] Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Questions to Consider

  1. What in this passage does James identify as the root of sin?
  2. What in this passage does James identify as the antidote to sin?
  3. What are the sins in your life that you have tried but cannot overcome without God’s strength?

Note

  1. James notes that there are selfish desires within us that manifests in coveting, fighting and even killing (v.1-3). Specifically, James describes us as adulterous people (v.4), implying that we turn to other people or things besides God to meet our needs.
  2. In short, humility. We are told to submit ourselves to God (v.7), to come near to God (v.8), and to humble ourselves before God (v.10).
  3. Personal response

Evening Reflection

Part of the process of repentance may involve making amends to those you have hurt. Are there people in your life that have been affected by your sin? Pray for wisdom and strength to take the next step to make things right.

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