Devotional Thoughts for Today
“An Honest Question”
Ah, sword of the Lord! How long till you are quiet? Put yourself into your scabbard; rest and be still!
7 How can it be quiet when the Lord has given it a charge? Against Ashkelon and against the seashore
he has appointed it.”
They say: Time flies when you’re having fun. It really is true. Time flies when you’re at the movies, playing video games, or spending time with someone you love. On the flip side, time seems to slow down when the going gets tough. Ever catch yourself looking at the clock at work? Almost miraculously the day seems to get longer as you wait for break-time, then lunchtime, and then quitting-time. It’s not real— it’s totally imagined—but we still ask, “How long is this gonna last?” We ask the same thing when we’re sick and the dependability of our health is suddenly undermined: “How long?” We ask out of impatience and frustration. But in todays passage, Jeremiah asks, “How long?” in awestruck reverence to God, and maybe even compassionate sorrow for those who must face the judgment of God. And because Jeremiah asks an honest question, he gets an honest reply.
Let’s be honest: judgment is unpleasant, for it reminds us of criticism—usually unfair criticism. It’s no fun. But neither is the righteous judgment of God against sin. God’s judgment is both eye-opening and terrifying. It exposes us for who we really are and reminds us that we have to give an account for the life we live. We’re responsible, and that’s hard. This could be why our response is usually desperation or denial: we become nervous for ourselves and the ones we love, or we just try not to think about it. But adopting a “fight-or-flight” approach to God’s judgment does not help, because we often strengthen false assumptions about God and miss out on true ones. God is NOT indifferent about what we do with our lives or His creation! In fact, God is passionate and emotional and above all—holy. And the more we linger there, the greater our esteem for God will become and the weaker our fascination with the world will be. Let’s face the music. Ask some hard questions. Be honest with God, so that in the end, we might see Him for who He really is: a passionate Creator, a righteous Judge, and a loving Savior.
Prayer: Jesus, we thank You that you took the “sword of God’s judgment” for us at the Cross. Help us to trust You with our hard questions and teach us to embrace Your truth—even when it’s hard. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Peter 3
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 8:13-16: For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
Questions to Consider
- What fears are currently affecting your life?
- How does the Holy Spirit give us freedom from our fear?
- What difference does the Spirit’s cry (v.15) and the Spirit’s witness (v.16) make in our lives?
- Be as honest as you can. Some of the stress in our lives come from being in denial of our fears and disappointments.
- First of all, the Spirit leads us. Jesus describes Him as a Helper, Teacher and Guide (Jn 14:16,26; 16:13). He affirms to us the victory won for us by Jesus and our identity as God’s beloved children. We don’t have to deny our fears; we can trust God with them. Ultimately God’s love secures us and strengthens us to face our fears.
- The Holy Spirit makes us confident that we belong to God as His children. He reminds us and affirms to us that this is true. The Spirit even enables us to call God “Abba, Father,” which communicates intimacy and closeness. When you feel far from God, ask the Holy Spirit to show you that you’re not.
Fight or flight describes how many people cope with the pressures and stresses of the contemporary life. Did you find yourself feeling desperate or wanting to hide today? How did you respond? Invite the Holy Spirit right now to free you from fear and affirm you in the Father’s love.