Devotional on Isaiah

2003 – Colorado

No reboot necessary
Isaiah 1: If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white.
If I have the idea that the prophets are all about denunciation and condemnation I need to spend some time with this passage. Yes, God is fed up with their religious charades; their going-through-the-motions spirituality; their under-the-table shady deals. The Lord says he’s going to put a stop to it. However, it doesn’t have to be with defeat, misery, and destruction. “Let’s be reasonable about this,” the Almighty says, “we can fix this, and when I’m finished things will be better than before.” All it takes is their being sensible and cooperating with God. This isn’t about having a sword hanging over their necks. It’s about grace and mercy, not justice. It’s still true today. If God wants to do away with us it’s his right and it’s just what we deserve. However, rather than hitting the “delete button” on humanity he offers restoration. This passage is filled with sunlight and hope. Plus that, it’s a genuine offer from Heaven’s Throne to each of us. Come on; let’s be reasonable about this…God can fix things, making them right between us and Him. It’s too good an offer to refuse.
Take Away: Rather than a re-start of humanity the Lord wants to restore us. That’s grace.

Devotional on Isaiah

Lost Maples State Park, TX – 2006

God’s response to my need
Isaiah 6: Gone your guilt, your sins wiped out.
Isaiah’s vision of God’s holiness breaks his heart. In light of that vision any claims to righteousness are blown away. His brokenness brings him to the place of honest confession which is just what the Lord’s waiting for. Immediately, the Lord takes action to cleanse him of his sin. Since this is a vision, there’s a lot of symbolism here. We have an altar of sacrifice with fire, which speaks to us of surrender and purification. There’s Isaiah’s direct reference to his “unclean lips” which refer to, not just a tendency to say the wrong thing, but his whole life, which he sees as speaking in ways that reflect a deep level of spiritual need. The thrilling thing is how the Lord responds to Isaiah’s cry of repentance. A heavenly being touches his lips with the burning coal from the altar declaring the wonderful truth that his sin is “wiped out” and his guilt is gone. Listen, I don’t have to pull some surprising insight out of this passage. In fact, it’s surprising enough just as it is. When I realize the purity of God and see my own deep failure…when I confess it, throwing myself on the mercy God…when I do that, I place myself in the only place where the Lord can help me. I can’t forgive my own sin and I can’t purify my own life, but when I “repent and turn” he immediately does for me what I can never do for myself. There’s no better word from the Lord than “gone your guilt, your sins wiped out.”
Take Away: As I confess my need the Lord does for me what I can never do for myself.

Devotional on Isaiah

Lost Maples State Park, TX – 2006

This prescription works for both the farsighted and the nearsighted
Isaiah 25: And God will wipe the tears from every face.
Isaiah’s words contain a great deal of condemnation and his target is not only the enemies of Israel, but Israel, herself. I get lost in it all and am not sure whether the prophet is talking to specific people at a specific moment in history or if he’s slipped into “prophetic perfect tense” in which he speaks of the future as though it has already happened. It may be that he’s speaking on multiple levels of a near future and a distant future with the same words. At times like this, I take the easy way out and focus on my devotional reading, asking, “What’s this saying to me right now?” As I read this part of Isaiah I can’t help but think of the book of Revelation which contains almost the exact same words. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Revelator is reminded of these words even as he promises the glorious “no tears” day. My conclusion is that whether we’re thinking about the broken people of Isaiah’s day or persecuted Christians of John’s day or hurting people today that God’s message is one of comfort and hope. Some of that hope is contemporary hope: what God is about to do. At the same time some of that hope is out there in the uncertain future when the Lord wraps up history and brings a new reality into existence. I’m not sure about just who it is Isaiah is thinking about in this passage, but I do see here a wonderful theme of God’s mercy and grace.
Take Away: Yesterday, today, and forever the Lord remains merciful and gracious to his people.

Devotional on Isaiah

2007 – Buffalo River, Arkansas

Like an eagle circling high above
Isaiah 32: Weep and grieve until the Spirit is poured out on us from above.
Isaiah is addressing the women of his society, warning them that Judgment is coming and telling them that when it comes their comfortable lives will be disrupted. The coming danger isn’t just that of invading armies but of crop failures resulting in famine in the land. Everything will be turned upside down on that day which Isaiah specifically says is just a little over a year away. With such a storm bearing down on them Isaiah says there’s just one thing to do: repent and seek God. The coming disaster isn’t some random event. It’s the Judgment of God. It’s not too late for them to change their ways and seek the Lord. Earlier, the prophet pictured God as a mighty eagle, circling high in the sky, not waiting to pounce upon some unwitting prey, but waiting to deliver. Now, he says that if sinning, God-rejecting people will repent of their sin the Lord will pour his Spirit out upon them from above. We often think of the prophets as having messages of only gloom and doom but that’s only a portion of their work. In this passage we see an abundant measure of hope for even the most God-rejecting life. To this day, the Lord waits for us to look up in repentance and trust that he might pour his Spirit out on our lives.
Take Away: Like a circling eagle, the Lord hovers over us, waiting for an opportunity to dish out abundant mercy.

Devotional on Isaiah

2008 – Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Elkmont Campground

How wonderful to have a message of hope
Isaiah 61: The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
Through the years of his ministry Isaiah brings a variety of messages to his people. Often, his words are those of warning and condemnation. At other times, his sermons contain wonderful words of hope and comfort. That’s the kind of message we hear from him in this passage. Isaiah considers it an honor to be commissioned and empowered to preach good news to a people who are living as captives in Babylon. His message is one of encouragement to the poor and heartbroken; to those who mourn and wilt under the burden they carry. This message is so powerful that hundreds of years later Jesus selects Isaiah’s words to describe his own ministry. The message of hope is Isaiah’s and then it’s Jesus’ and now, well, now it’s mine. The proclamation of God’s favor, his healing mercy and grace, isn’t just Isaiah’s and, while it uniquely belongs to Jesus, I can lay claim on it too. For those in Babylonian captivity and for those today that are bound by sin, this is good news.
Take Away: In Christ, we have Good News for people desperately in need of some Good News.

Devotional on Isaiah

2008 – Blue Ridge Parkway

Greater grace
Isaiah 64: We’re all sin-infected, sin-contaminated.
My hope isn’t that God will look beyond all my failures and decide I’m still basically a good person. I’m not the victim of circumstances and my problem isn’t that I’ve been mistaken about a few things. Isaiah’s words point to the core problem: I’m a sinner. Beyond that, I’m not just a sinner by action; rather I’m a sinner by nature. I’m not a traveler who somehow wandered onto the wrong road; I’m a rebel who rejected God’s way because I preferred mine instead. Even when I try to do my best I’m a failure at it. The picture Isaiah paints is of a human race that’s rebellious, stained, and lost. Any possible hope must come from the outside. That’s where God comes in. This God specializes in mercy and hope. He doesn’t patch up my messed up life; instead he makes it brand new. Isaiah does a frightfully good job of describing my perilous condition, but he doesn’t leave me there. As great as my sin is, Isaiah reminds me of the greater grace of the Lord.
Take Away: The Lord specializes in mercy and hope.

Devotional on Isaiah

2008 – at Biltmore Estate, NC

Better pay attention
Isaiah 65: I reached out day after day to a people who turned their backs on me.
Sometimes I think we read passages about the merciful patience of God and conclude that we can get away with about anything; that in the end, God will still be there, willing to forgive and forget our sins. Isaiah’s picture of the Lord isn’t quite as comforting. Things start off that way though. God says, “I’m available, ready to be found and reaching out day after day to even those who turn their backs and walk away.” Know what? We’d better keep reading. In that same message the Lord says he’s sick of them and their home made religion. Even while God has been waiting he’s been watching and as he watches he takes note of all the rebellion that’s going on. It may be that the most important words in this message aren’t that God has continued to reach out to them even in their sin. Rather, the words that arrest our attention ought to be, “I’m not putting up with this any longer.” It’s one thing for a person to have honest doubts and even honest misconceptions about the Lord and how he works in this world. It is something else to take the patience of mercy of God for granted.
Take Away: Don’t take for granted the mercy and patience of the Lord.

Devotional on Isaiah

2008 – Biltmore Estate, NC

Speaking the truth in humility
Isaiah 65: There are still plenty of good apples left.
Even as Isaiah reports that the Lord’s running out of patience with the stubborn resistance of many, he reminds us that God’s very aware of those who live obedient, faithful lives. The nation of Israel is about to go through a culling. Many will face the wrath of God but others will be preserved by his grace. Frankly, from the devotional side of things I’m not sure what to do with passages like this. Am I to be somewhat frightened and spend a few moments doing a personal spiritual inventory? Am I to take on Isaiah’s role and start warning those “sinners” that the clock on God’s mercy is running out? I guess the answer is somewhere in the middle. I never arrive at the place where I’m above consideration of my own spiritual condition. Just a quick of reading the gospels reminds me that it’s spiritual pride that’s the downfall of the religious people of Jesus’ day. On the other hand, if I’m going to be effective in both warning and inviting the “outsiders” to come to the Lord I must do so in a sense of humility. Otherwise, I’ll drive them away from both myself and their Savior.
Take Away: Always deal with lost people with a strong sense of personal humility.

Devotional on Jeremiah

2009 – Endicott Arm, AK

A big two-letter word: IF
Jeremiah 26: If you refuse to listen to me and live by my teaching….
On one side of the coin Jeremiah tells what’s coming, and it isn’t good. Soon his nation will fall to Babylon and with that fall terrible things will happen. Later on, Babylon itself will be judged. Even as Jeremiah preaches this message the flow of events has begun, bringing it all to pass. On the other side of the coin is God’s hope that Jeremiah’s message will cause people to consider their ways and repent. The message of the Almighty contains the powerful word “if.” What a huge word it is. It indicates a fork in the road; an opportunity to decide. It’s also a word of mercy, hope, and grace. So here we have it all before us. God intends to bring disaster but IF they listen and IF they repent he will, even at this late stage, relent. Frankly, he doesn’t expect it to happen. The Lord says, “You’ve never listened! Why would you start now?” The Lord doesn’t expect things to change, but he offers them a different path. Two thousand years ago the Lord personally came to this world to offer all humans a choice. He didn’t come to condemn, we’re already condemned even as were those people of Jeremiah’s day. Through Jesus we’re offered hope. Once again “if” becomes the operative word. He says: “I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51)
Take Away: The little word “if” becomes a big offer of hope, mercy, and grace when the Lord speaks it.

Devotional on Jeremiah

2009 – Endicott Arm, AK

The Lord, reaching out
Jeremiah 31: Everything in me cries out for him. Softly and tenderly I wait for him.
In this passage the tribe of Ephraim represents the people of Israel. Jeremiah imagines Israel humbly coming to the Lord, asking if it’s too late and wondering if the Lord can ever embrace her again. God’s answer is immediate and compassionate. The Lord says that that’s all he’s wanted to hear all along and that the strong medicine was administered not because he had stopped loving Israel but preciously because of his love. This great God of love has longed for his people to return to him and with great tenderness he waits to receive them back to himself. I can’t help but respond to this passage in a personal way. I’m moved by God’s compassion on, not only ancient Israel, but on the lost people of my day. When I’m in rebellion against God he longs for my return; reaching out to me, crying out in love. Today, I stand in awe of the mercy, grace, and compassion of God for a lost human race.
Take Away: God is love.

Devotional on Jeremiah

2009 – Victoria, BC

Jeremiah’s worst nightmare
Jeremiah 37: Please don’t send me back to that dungeon.
In this passage, the story of Jeremiah returns to Zedekiah and the attack of the Babylonians. The prophet has made many enemies with his gloom and doom preaching. Ultimately, he’s imprisoned on trumped up charges. The prison he finds himself in is his worst nightmare. He’s imprisoned in a cistern. There, we’re told, he stays for a long time. Jeremiah’s out of sight, but he isn’t out of Zedekiah’s mind. The king hates Jeremiah’s sermons, but, somewhere, deep inside himself, he knows that Jeremiah’s telling the truth. Finally, Zedekiah sends for Jeremiah and, in spite of his misery, Jeremiah tells the king, not what he might want to hear, but the truth: Judah will fall and Zedekiah will be handed over to the king of Babylon. Even though the prophet has just given more bad news, Jeremiah pleads with Zedekiah for mercy. He’s done nothing to bring such inhumane treatment upon himself. He begs Zedekiah to not send him back to that terrible dungeon. To his credit the king has mercy on Jeremiah and, while Jeremiah’s to remain under guard, he’s put in a better place and given rations for food. A couple of things come to mind. First, in spite of his fierce messages, Jeremiah’s just a man. He’s miserable and afraid in the cistern. He isn’t too proud to beg for mercy. Even the spiritual giants in my life are still human and in need of compassion and mercy. Second, even though Zedekiah’s deeply flawed, he shows mercy to Jeremiah. We’re created in the image of God and that means that from the most unlikely of candidates there’s the potential of the reflection of his image.
Take Away: Even spiritual giants remain human beings with the accompanying weaknesses and flaws of humanity.

Devotional on Lamentations

2010 – Rocky Mountain National Park , CO

Surveying the devastation, with hope
Lamentations 3: The “worst” is never the worst.
On the surface the words “the ‘worst’ is never the worst” sounds pretty naive. It apparently goes along with “Cheer up, things could be worse” — just a shallow throwaway line that has no traction in a broken life. I have to remind myself of where I am and who it is giving this, seeming trite, advice. I’m standing in the midst of the rubble that was Jerusalem. Decaying bodies are in sight. The man speaking is Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. He’s the one saying, “Hang in there. You think this is the worst situation possible, but something good will rise even out of these ashes.” The prophet knows that his words won’t make sense unless he adds the reason for his surprising optimism. He continues: “Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. He works severely, he also works tenderly.” The worst isn’t the worst because God doesn’t walk out, never to return; and when he returns, it’s with tender compassion. I may be traveling down an unwelcome road right now. The darkness may seem complete because it appears God has forsaken me for good. Jeremiah reminds me that it’s never that way. Even Jeremiah, who has first-hand seen the “severity” of God, is absolutely convinced of the “tenderness” of God. I need to sit at the feet of this man who can stand in the midst of devastation and declare his trust in the Master’s tender faithfulness. These are deep, and necessary truths; especially in the painful days of life.
Take Away: Trust in the Lord even in the hardest days of life.

Devotional on Ezekiel

2010 – Goose Island State Park, TX

Accepting fault, doing something about it
Ezekiel 18: The soul that sins is the soul that dies.
A common saying in Ezekiel’s day is that “the parents ate green apples and the children got a stomachache.” That saying describes the current plight of the people of Judah. Their nation has been defeated and many have been exiled far from home. They blame it all on their parents and consider themselves to be victims of the failure of others. Ezekiel says that isn’t so. While it’s true that their ancestors failed God, the current generation has plenty of failure of its own. Ezekiel wants them to understand that when a wicked person turns from his or her wicked ways that God is gracious and rich in forgiveness. God, he tells them, doesn’t hold a grudge. On the other hand, if a righteous person abandons that righteousness he or she stands guilty before God. Past righteousness doesn’t make a person immune from current failure and judgment. The bottom line is that the Lord will “judge each of you according to the way you live.” The spiritual principle here is that it’s our current relationship with God that really matters. Ezekiel’s advice is still good today. He says since it’s “right now” that counts, those who are living apart from God and blaming their parents (or someone else) for it need to “turn around…make a clean break” and “live!”
Take Away: It’s our current relationship with the Lord that really matters.

Devotional on Ezekiel

2010 – Goose Island State Park, TX

The death of Ezekiel’s wife
Ezekiel 24: Get dressed as usual and go about your work — none of the usual funeral rituals.
The final part of Ezekiel 24 is one of the most painful passages one can read. The Lord tells his prophet that his wife is about to die but as an object lesson for the people he’s not to publicly mourn her death. By the time of this event Ezekiel is well known for his messages of God’s anger with his people. He’s also known for “acting out” some event as an object lesson. When his wife dies and Ezekiel just goes on with his preaching everyone knows there’s an object lesson in it. They gather round this broken man and ask him why he isn’t mourning the loss of the love of his life. It’s then that he warns them that even as his beloved has been taken from him their beloved city and Temple are going to be taken and, even as he’s not gone through a mourning process their enemies won’t give them even a moment to mourn the loss of it all. I can hardly imagine what it was like for Ezekiel that day as God’s message had to take precedence over his personal loss. Earlier in his ministry the Lord promised to stiffen Ezekiel that he could face all the rejection that was coming, so maybe that’s in play here. Another thing I can hardly imagine is how God could love these hard people so much as to keep reaching out to them, calling them to himself in such drastic ways. Finally, I don’t think Ezekiel’s situation can be viewed as typical of God’s servants. On one hand, I’m reminded of what it means to be surrendered to the Lord; that it can take us to places we never would go otherwise. On the other hand, I remember that this is a very unique situation in the Bible and can’t be viewed as how the Lord usually deals with us. Of course, the Lord asks noting of Ezekiel that he doesn’t require of himself. Even as God’s Only Begotten Son dies on the cross, he’ll have to turn his back on him.
Take Away: The Lord loves lost people so much that he’ll act in extreme ways to redeem them.

Devotional on Ezekiel

2011 – London – Maritime Museum

Them bones, them bones, them dry bones
Ezekiel 37: Dry bones, listen to the message of God.
Ezekiel speaks to people who think they’ve gone too far and have said “no” to God and just plain messed up once too often. They think they’re like dinosaur bones some archeologist might dig up in the desert someday: interesting, but dry and lifeless. The truth is that they’re right. They’ve been written off because of their rejection of God. To picture themselves as “dry bones” is not an overreaction. Rather, it’s a valid realization. Their only hope is the only hope they’ve ever had: they must turn back to God. In his vision Ezekiel is asked, “Can these bones live?” His answer is right on: “Lord, you know.” The restoration of Israel is up to the Lord. They’re on the verge of being written off of the pages of history. The only possibility of their not becoming dry fossils is to respond to the mercy of God and depend on him to breathe life back into them. All of that is true of my life too. It’s only when I accept two facts that I have hope. Fact one: my sins have made me spiritually into a pile of dry bones. Fact two: my only hope is in God’s mercy and forgiveness. The only route out of this mess is for me to accept the title, “dry bones” and then listen to God’s message. That alone can change my dry bones situation.
Take Away: Our only hope is in the mercy and forgiveness of the Lord.

Devotional on Daniel

2011 – London – Windsor Castle

God working in the extreme
Daniel 4: The High God rules human kingdoms and puts whomever he wishes in charge.
Once Daniel gives the king the meaning of his dream of warning the ball’s in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. He can humbly respond to the Lord’s overtures to him or not. In the terms of tennis, he “whiffs it.” That is, he totally bungles the opportunity he’s given. At the beginning he was ignorant concerning the God Daniel worshiped and could be cut some slack when he didn’t get it. Now, he’s not only seen what this God can do but he’s also heard from him personally; not once, but twice. It’s time for him to respond. Instead, he chooses to tip his hat to the Lord and then continue as he always has. As Nebuchadnezzar congratulates himself for all “he” has done the Lord moves on his life in one last act of mercy: the Lord grants to him a mental breakdown! I know it doesn’t sound much like mercy. Rather, it seems more like judgment. However, if dreams and miracles can’t get this stubborn man’s attention the Lord has only two choices: destroy him or humble him. It’s in mercy that the Lord humbles Nebuchadnezzar. Here’s more evidence that God wants to redeem the lost. Human wisdom might dictate giving up and moving on to the next candidate. God says, “Let’s give it one more try; this time, maybe some strong medicine will do the trick.” I don’t think God routinely causes mental breakdowns, but I do think he goes to extreme measures in granting mercy to us. He is, indeed, the God of “Second Chances.”
Take Away: The Lord goes to extreme measures in granting mercy to us.

Devotional on Daniel

2011 – London – Windsor Castle

Grass diet
Daniel 4: He knows how to turn a proud person into a humble man or woman.
In his mercy the Lord deals with Nebuchadnezzar in a direct and attention getting way. Here’s a man driven by arrogance and drunk with power. The Lord strips all that away from him and sends him out into the wilderness for seven years. That sounds like a long time, but its short compared to the 40 years it takes the Israelites to learn a similar lesson. We don’t know what’s happening inside of Nebuchadnezzar during those long years of insanity, but somehow God is dealing with him and the end result is filled with redemption. In fact, one of the strongest examples of this is the fact that Nebuchadnezzar is allowed to write his own testimony, found here. His words are filled with humble praise and thanksgiving to God. This is a case of strong discipline yielding desirable results. Nebuchadnezzar is made into a new man by the grace of God. Know what? That’s just the kind of stuff God does. The focus here shouldn’t be on seven years of mental illness. The central issue here is that God takes messed up lives and makes them new. The “grass diet” was just the method. The made-new life is the result. Nebuchadnezzar isn’t complaining about the diet, but he certainly thanks the Lord for what he did for him.
Take Away: The Lord takes messed up lives and makes them new.

Devotional on Daniel

2011 – Paris – Notre-Dame Cathedral

Intercessory prayers
Daniel 9: All we have to show for our lives is guilt and shame.
As we well know, Daniel is a praying man. Honestly, when I first read of Daniel’s opening his window toward Jerusalem for prayer three times a day I had the impression he had some sort of reverent ritual of prayer. I have nothing against praying the prayers of other people or of repeating prayers that are meaningful to us and I had the feeling that Daniel prayed like that. Now, as I arrive in chapter nine I have the actual text of one of Daniel’s prayers. It’s anything but a ritual of prayer! Here’s a man pouring out his heart to God. Daniel has had a disturbing vision, he’s been reading Jeremiah’s troubling prophecies, and, as he considers these things his heart is broken. I note that Daniel doesn’t pray about “their” sins when thinking of the sins of his people. He sees a nation drowning in sin and, without joining them in their rebellion, jumps right into the pool with them. In other words, Daniel doesn’t piously hover above all the sinners calling them to repent. Rather, he becomes one of them and then begins to plead with God for forgiveness and restoration. His humbleness in identifying with lost people is a powerful picture of intercessory prayer. Also, there’s zero self-justification here. Daniel doesn’t try to explain to the Lord that there’s a righteous remnant left or that he, himself, has never wavered. Instead, he grieves “our sins,” confesses that God is right in judging those sins, and pleads for mercy and forgiveness. I need this lesson because I live in a sinful nation that seems intent on seeing how angry it can make God. At the same time, there are millions who have been swept along by this flow, not so much in rebellion against God as in confusion and ignorance. Like Daniel of old, I pray, “Lord save us. We are sinners living apart from you, lost and without hope. Have mercy on us, not because we deserve it but because you are the God of mercy.”
Take Away: Jesus taught his followers to pray for forgiveness for “our trespasses” – not “their trespasses.”

Devotional on Hosea

2011 – Paris – Eiffel Tower

These preacher’s kids had it hard
Hosea 2: Rename your brothers “God’s Somebody.”
I’m not a preacher’s kid, but I raised one! Hopefully, my son doesn’t feel that growing up in a parsonage was all that bad. However, I’ve heard some horror stories from “PK’s.” I’ve concluded that while some of those stories are true, some are simply basic “growing up” stories that could be applied to just about any family. However, Hosea’s kids have some no-questions-asked horror stories. For one thing, their dad gives them strange names intended to preach a sermon. Two of the three, in particular, get terrible names: a daughter named “No-Mercy” and a son who gets the awful name of “Nobody.” I bet those kids needed therapy! Every time the girl is called it’s to be a sermon warning that unless the nation repents God will show them “no mercy.” When the boy is named it’s intended to declare that this “chosen people” is on the verge of being kicked out and becoming “nobody” in the sight of God. There’s a ray of sunshine near the end of the first chapter and continuing into the second. As a person might look across the hot and deadly desert to the distant cool mountains, Hosea looks down the road to a day of restoration. One thing he sees is a day for new names. When the discipline of God has done its work, children, and the whole nation, will be worthy of new names like “God’s Somebody” and “All Mercy.”
Take Away: I’m glad I live on the “all mercy” side of this story.

Devotional on Hosea

2011 – Paris – Eiffel Tower

A love that never gives up
Hosea 2: Then I’ll marry you for good – forever!
The book of Hosea is a book of extremes. There’s nothing mundane or middle of the road here as everything is at one end or the other end of the spectrum. Here we see powerful love and painful betrayal. We see the beauty of tender, marital sex and we also see the brutal, cheapening side of sex in the market place. In one place we see the anger of God as he declares the coming destruction as a result of their sin but we also see God’s mercy as he promises restoration. There’s nothing in Hosea that lends itself to a relaxing late night read before sleep. This book is an emotional rollercoaster. God’s people have betrayed him and, because of that betrayal he’s rejected them, kicking them out. Israel has committed spiritual adultery against God and God has issued a decree of divorce against them. Then as we’re emotionally ready to close the book on this relationship the tone of the Lord changes. He’s kicked them out and declared his anger with them and judgment on them. Just as I get my mind around that the landscape suddenly changes. The Lord declares his intentions to clean them up, to romance them again and ultimately to reinstate his marriage to them. The sweep of all this is stunning and I realize I’m reading about a love that never gives up. God is truly the God of Second Chances.
Take Away: God is the God of Second Chances.

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