DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-12-23
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS
BIBLE REFERENCE: Zechariah 1:4-6
TRANSLATION: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
BIBLE TEXT: 4 “Don’t be like your ancestors. In the past the prophets spoke to them and said, ‘The Lord All-Powerful wants you to change your evil way of living. Stop doing evil things!’ But your ancestors did not listen to me.” This is what the Lord said. 5 “Your ancestors are gone, and those prophets did not live forever. 6 The prophets were my servants. I used them to tell your ancestors about my laws and teachings. Your ancestors finally learned their lesson and said, ‘The Lord All-Powerful did what he said he would do. He punished us for the way we lived and for all the evil things we did.’ So they came back to God.”
OBSERVATION: I believe that we are quick to complain about how terrible things are – COVID, crime, wickedness, non-curable diseases, etc. Fortunately we have some of the best scientists ever lived, but isn’t it shocking that cancer is still killing so many people who can’t find help from doctors and modern medicine? Heart attacks are still taking the lives of many, regardless of age or gender. COVID is impacting the whole world, and although we may currently have a vaccine, we have not seen proven effects from that yet. So what might the problem be? Look no further than God’s Word, as we will do today. Stay with me.
APPLICATION: I don’t know about you, but I was always one who enjoyed the benefits of happy parents. I hated to disappoint them, and I was terribly unhappy when I saw they were unhappy and/or disappointed about something. We carry that same emotional concept throughout life, as we have the same feelings for our spouse. But what happens when we no longer care about how the other party feels about our wicked actions and attitude? Generally this will involve separation of some sort. As a kid, we were sent to our room to allow a ‘cool-off’ period. In the case of a spouse, one party may ask for permission to go out on a date with friends, or take a weekend trip with friends to hunt, or go shopping, or just visit a big city. But what about God? What do we do when we have been disrespectful and dishonored Him; where we have deliberately sinned, in spite of being reminded in last week’s sermon about how God feels about that particular sin; where we have repeatedly responded negatively to God’s invitation to accept His one and only Son. I believe that God is at the top of the list in being what we consider ‘a total gentleman’. So I believe that He withdraws from you and will allow you to proceed with your selfish desires. But my dear friends, please allow me to remind you that just as God spoke through Zechariah to tell the Israelites that He would return to them if they sought after Him, He also stands ready, with outstretched arms, inviting His sinful children to return to Him, and promising that He would, in turn, return to them. Is there any reason to doubt God at His word? Absolutely not, for He said that He could do anything but sin, or go back on His word. Furthermore, the last words in our Scripture were spoken by the Israelites, who declared that just as God said, they returned to Him and, in turn, He returned to them. Dear son or daughter, there would be no greater gift to your mom or dad this Christmas than to come back to God, so that He would freely come back to you.
PRAYER: It is beyond our wildest imagination to understand why a holy and righteous God would return to us after we have deserted Him and gone our own way, or did our own thing. However, we know that You love us dear God and we know that You went to the extreme to save us from our sin, so Lord Jesus, we surrender ourselves back to You anew and ask for Your forgiveness. We have sinned against You and our lives are in shambles. In line with Your Word, we ask that You forgive us of our sin and accept us back into your favor. You honored Your promise to the Israelites, and I believe that You will do it again. Thank You for loving us unconditionally and for honoring Your Word. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while you be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!