October 12, Friday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Make some Adjustments”

Jeremiah 44:11-14

“Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am determined to bring disaster on you and to destroy all Judah. 12 I will take away the remnant of Judah who were determined to go to Egypt to settle there. They will all perish in Egypt; they will fall by the sword or die from famine. From the least to the greatest, they will die by sword or famine. They will become a curse and an object of horror, a curse and an object of reproach. 13 I will punish those who live in Egypt with the sword, famine and plague, as I punished Jerusalem. 14 None of the remnant of Judah who have gone to live in Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah, to which they long to return and live; none will return except a few fugitives.”

Dieting is difficult since it requires many adjustments to our lifestyles such as: needing to workout, regulating how much food we eat, and even getting the right amount of sleep. While it may sound straightforward, these adjustments are difficult to make, especially when we are too tired, or facing a choice between kale or pizza. But, without making these adjustments, we will never achieve our goal of shedding those unwanted pounds.

In today’s passage, the Jews in Egypt find themselves facing a similar but much more consequential situation. The LORD tells them to “adjust” (read, change) their hearts and return to Judah so that they would not suffer His judgement. Jeremiah warns that God will punish them with the sword, famine, and the plague. So severe is the punishment that not one remnant of Judah will be able to return to Judah with the exception of a few fugitives.

While the sword, famine, and the plague are disastrous, one more punishment that stands out to me is found in verse 12. Jeremiah says, “They will become a curse and an object of horror.” In what sense is this a severe punishment? If you remember in Genesis 12:2-3, God says to Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” As evidenced here, God’s purpose for having chosen the Israelites is so that other nations may come to know Him through them.  However, because the Jews in Egypt disobeyed the Lord, refusing to adjust their attitudes and follow the Lord, they were about to be removed from fulfilling this purpose. Instead of becoming a blessing to other nations, their disobedience caused them to become a curse and an object of reproach to other nations.

Like the Jews in Egypt, our disobedience can also sidetrack us from fulfilling God’s purpose. To keep this from happening, we must adjust (change) our thoughts and actions to obey Him. Henry Blackaby, author of Experiencing God, says, “When God speaks to you to reveal what He is about to do, that revelation is your invitation to adjust your life to Him. Your faith will be most clearly demonstrated by your actions.” These adjustments can be painful and challenging, but necessary. Remember, when we refuse to adjust, it hinders us from being in God’s purpose.

While this is not easy (much harder than passing up chocolate pie), let us learn how to adjust our thoughts, attitudes, and actions to be in God’s purposes.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You that You have a purpose for me on this earth. If there is anything in my life that hinders me from fulfilling this purpose, give me strength to make the necessary adjustments. I know that it will be uncomfortable, but it is necessary for spiritual growth. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Kings 17


Lunch Break Study

Read Luke 19:1-10: Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Why were people surprised that Jesus wanted to eat at Zacchaeus’ house?
  2. What adjustment did Zacchaeus make? What was the result of the adjustment?
  3. Based on this, how would define repentance?

Notes

  1. The people were surprised because Zacchaeus was a tax collector. In those days, tax collectors were deemed as greedy turncoats who allied themselves with the hated Romans. So, since they were considered “unclean”, a good Jew would not enter their home. Because Jesus was a rabbi, for him to willingly enter a tax-collector’s home was a shock to many.
  2. When Jesus told Zacchaeus his willingness to go to his house, this sinner adjusted his attitude by way of repentance. Thus, he promised to give half of his possessions to the poor, and return four times the amount to those he cheated. As a result, salvation had come into the heart of Zacchaeus (through this faith in Christ).
  3. Repentance is more than changing one’s opinion about Christ (as some teach); it is having the intent and desire to turn from sin. It may or may not happen right away, but through the sanctification process (of the Spirit and word), we ought to and will change.

Evening Reflection

Based on this morning’s devotion, what are some adjustments you feel that God is calling you to make? What are some things that are hindering you from making those adjustments? Take some time to ask the Lord to help you overcome these hindrances.

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