Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Complacency is a Curse”
“Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord with slackness, and cursed is he who keeps back his sword from bloodshed. 11 “Moab has been at ease from his youth and has settled on his dregs; he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into exile; so his taste remains in him, and his scent is not changed. 12 “Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I shall send to him pourers who will pour him, and empty his vessels and break his jars in pieces. 13 Then Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel, their confidence.
“Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord with slackness.” It sure sounds like a message your pastor would share with ministry volunteers—but it’s not. This whole chapter describes God’s judgment against Israel’s eastern neighbors, the Moabites; and this curse is pronounced, ironically, against Moab’s conquerors—the Babylonians. It’s not actually a curse; rather, it’s a way of stating that God will use Babylon to accomplish His purposes and His purposes will not be undone.
You see, the Bible gives us a picture of reality very different than the perception we often hold of the world. We see wars and insurrection; regime change and elections; politics and economics—and feel small in view of all of that. Sometimes we don’t even want to think about it because what can you do anyway.
But the biblical picture of reality is very different. God is not intimidated by empires, arms races or the posturing of presidents because He has never abdicated ownership of the creation He made. And He works in ways that often surprise us but are never haphazard or capricious. God is in control and He is working to redeem and renew creation. And He’s a just judge and He judged Moab for her complacency—a complacency that led to contempt towards God. Satisfied by their security and industry, they had no regard for God.
The mention of “dregs emptied from one vessel to vessel” is an image from winemaking. After fermentation, wine would sit to age and the impurities, the dregs, would settle to the bottom of the jar. Usually you filtered out the dregs by slowly pouring the wine into a new container a few times. If you didn’t, the impurities would ruin the taste. Similarly, entertaining spiritual complacency is like leaving the dregs in the wine. It just sits there contaminating the whole, tainting the taste profile, and ruining what remains. Moab’s complacency came because it was secure, well-protected and prosperous. They didn’t need the true God whom they are called to serve because they had substitutes that actually served them. That’s the danger of complacency—it makes you blind to what you really need. A warning from Moab’s failure . . .
A.W. Tozer wrote: “To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily-satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart.” This is the opposite of complacency and it’s ironic. Tozer observes that the ones who are most satisfied in God are also, at the same time, the ones who want Him the most. May we be children of the burning heart!
Prayer: Lord, we ask that You stir our hearts to long for You! To settle NOT for the glory days of our past; or being cynical; or waiting till we have more time. Give us an urgency TODAY to know You, the source of living water. Satisfy us with Your love!
Bible Reading for Today: 2 Peter 1-2