Day 10

The Lord’s Response

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan

Jeremiah 12:1-17, Hosea 11:1-9, Matthew 15:1-9

BY Erin Davis

Jeremiah is not the first prophet (nor the last) to grow weary with the wayward. Can’t you just picture his hunched shoulders and deep sighs as he asked, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the treacherous live at ease?” (Jeremiah 12:1).

Like the psalmist who confessed that they envied the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 73:3), Job whose pain convinced him that the righteous were the butt of every joke (Job 12:1–6), and Jonah, who despaired when the Ninevites received mercy, not wrath (Jonah 4:1–4)— the Bible records a long list of people of faith who had lost faith in humanity.

As I read their words, I’m waylaid by the realization that my own heart wants to default to that same setting. It’s so easy to shake my head and wag my finger, to lump mankind into the categories of “us” and “them,” and wonder why those “on the other side” are having all the fun. And yet, we never find God joining the pity parties of the righteous. While His judgments are clear and His righteousness does not bend, He relentlessly chases the lost. In response to Jeremiah’s despondency, God says, “After I have uprooted them, I will once again have compassion on them and return each one to his inheritance and to his land” (Jeremiah 12:15).

Right here, in the middle of an Old Testament book, we find the message of the gospel, the needed balm for every cynical soul. Jeremiah had forgotten, as we all tend to do, that when compared to God, no one is righteous, not one (Romans 3:10–12)—not even weeping prophets. We deserve death, not mercy. Our pity parties end when we remember we’re all trophies of God’s grace freely given to us. Every single one of us.

In Hosea’s prophetic book, it was the Lord’s turn for deep sighs as He lamented, “My people are bent on turning from me” (Hosea 11:7). The reality of our sin nature is as evident in us today as it ever was then, and yet, this is how our God responds:

“I will not vent the full fury of my anger;
I will not turn back to destroy Ephraim.
For I am God and not man,
The Holy One among you;
I will not come in rage” (Hosea 11:9).

When it looks like the lost have something we are lacking, may the gospel remind us that we have been given grace over and over again. We have Christ. In Him, we have everything.

Post Comments (71)

71 thoughts on "The Lord’s Response"

  1. Ashley Thomas says:

    It’s easy to look at others and think “their sin is worse than mine”, but, the reality is, sin is sin. I am a living testament to God’s willingness to chase after the lost sheep over and over again. Only He can change our hearts. Only He can break through.

  2. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that I would already remember that I am a sinner right along with the ancient Israelites. May I always be quick to repent when I fall.

  3. Hayley Walker says:

    Love that… trophy’s of His Grace. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Pam Williams says:

    Oh, Taylor, I totally understand that Cycle, as did the apostle Paul in Romans 7. But God does the seemingly impossible. He never says,” you did what again?!” He has said his love on us from eternity past.

  5. Pam Williams says:

    Praying for you, Taylor. I understand that cycle, as did the Apostle Paul in Romans 7. But God does deliver and He never says, “You did what AGAIN?

  6. Dorothy says:

    Lord, let me never forget that I once was lost and lacking your love. Help me to remember that You are there for me no matter the circumstances. Lord in this season of Lent remind me that You sent Your only Son to die for me and others so we may have grace and have it abundantly. Amen

  7. Paula Robinson says:

    Here it is!

    Arm Yourself with Promises

    “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

    When Paul says to put to death the deeds of the body “by the Spirit” (Romans 8:13), I take him to mean that we should use the one weapon in the Spirit’s armor that is used to kill; namely, the sword, “which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

    So, when the body is about to be led into a sinful action by some fear or craving, we are to take the sword of the Spirit and kill that fear and that craving. In my experience, that means mainly severing the root of sin’s promise by the power of a superior promise.

    For example, when I begin to crave some illicit sexual pleasure, the sword-swing that has often severed the root of this promised pleasure is, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). I recall the pleasures I have tasted of seeing God more clearly from an undefiled conscience; and I recall the brevity and superficiality and oppressive aftertaste of sin’s pleasures, and with that, God has killed the conquering power of sin.

    Having promises at hand that suit the temptation of the hour is one key to successful warfare against sin.

    But there are times when we don’t have a perfectly suited word from God in our minds. And there is no time to look through the Bible for a tailor-made promise. So, we all need to have a small arsenal of general promises ready to use whenever fear or craving threaten to lead us astray.

    Here are four of my most oft-used promises in fighting against sin:

    Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

    Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

    And the promise implicit in Philippians 3:8, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

    And, of course, Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

    Be constantly adding to your arsenal of promises. But never lose sight of the chosen few that God has blessed in your life. Do both. Be ever-ready with the old. And every morning look for a new one to take with you through the day.

    From “Some Proven Weapons in the Fight for Holiness”

  8. Paula Robinson says:

    Hi, Taylor. If we’re not fighting sin in our lives then we need to check our hearts- we all fight this battle in different ways. This advice is so helpful to me. I believe it will lead to complete victory over hard, reoccurring temptations that lead to defeat. We must be proactive and pray especially when you know at times you’re more vulnerable than others.
    I hope this encourages you in your battle as it does me! ~ blessings and prayers for you! Paula
    Arm Yourself with Promises – devotional by John Piper

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