REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Doug Tritton, was first posted on November 12, 2015. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), Doug is the UC site pastor of Grace Covenant Church in Philadelphia.
Devotional Thought for the Day
“A Very Bad Therapy”
On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God. Standing on the stairs of the Levites were Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Kenani. They cried out with loud voices to the Lord their God. And the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah—said: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.”
Have you ever dealt with stress by going on some form of “therapy”? I do not mean clinical therapy; I am referring to things like retail therapy, chocolate therapy, ice cream therapy, media therapy, or any other ______ therapy (insert your own guilty pleasure). One of my most recent binges was history podcasts (yeah, yeah, nerdy, right?)
These sorts of binges can potentially make us feel good for a short burst of time, but will it solve our problems? Will they provide long term relief? Probably not. The Israelites in this passage, having finally completed the reconstruction of Jerusalem’s walls, went on a different type of binge. They took part in Bible, confession, and worship therapy; they gave a quarter of the day to each of those activities. Can you think of anything better to binge on?
When going through a tough time, or maybe dealing with a big transition in your life, just as the Israelites did, perhaps the best thing you can do is binge on the Bible, binge on prayer, binge on worship. These things will certainly satisfy in much greater ways than ice cream, shopping, or anything else. These things will nourish our souls and draw us closer to our loving Father.
Today, rather than other forms of fake therapy, let’s have some Bible, confession, and worship therapy. Let’s spend focused time in Scripture, focused time humbling ourselves before God, and focused time praising Him. There is no better use of our time than that.
Prayer: Lord, help us this day to satisfy our souls with You and Your Word. Let us delight in fellowship with You over other things. Help us to devote time in communion with You today. We need more of You in our lives; come and fill us, Lord.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 31
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 John 2:15-17: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Questions to Consider
- What do we miss out on when we love the world?
- What will happen to the world and the desires of the world?
- In what ways are you valuing the things of the world over the things of God?
- The passage tells us that if we love the world, love for the Father is not in us. This means we miss out on the great joy that comes from having a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father. There is nothing this world offers that comes close to that!
- This world and the things of it will pass away. This is why we should seek to love God rather than the world, because God is eternal while the world is fading away. Isn’t it better to love Someone that lasts rather than something that will soon disappear?
- Take some time to think about how you may be valuing your “binge” activities over time in scripture, confession, and worship.
Tonight, before going to sleep, spend some time in confession, just as the Israelites did. Confess to God the ways in which you have found comfort in things apart from God. Ask Him to comfort your soul tonight.