Pentecost 24 – Monday Devotion

Readings: Jeremiah 31:1-17, 23-34 and Matthew 27:1-10
                           Revelation 16:1-21

Jeremiah 31:7-8A, 13  For thus says the Lord: “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, ‘O Lord, save Your people, the remnant of Israel.’
Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry.  I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

 

“Restoration With Rejoicing”

During trying and difficult times we often blame God for our problems. Think about Job. He had lost everything. A few of his friends bid him curse God and be done with it. But Job remained faithful and, in the end, everything was restored. 

All your earthly possessions might not be restored even if you are faithful to God. But there is a restoration that is complete for each of us if we only wait and remain faithful.

As we near the end of the church year, take a moment to look back. Have we had a year! There have been trials that will not cease. Challenges, a pandemic that raced through our world, maybe even affecting your personal life, have made it difficult. But, is there ever a time when we don’t face sin or disaster or tragedy of one sort or another in our world ? We are reminded in the words of Thomas Paine (Dec. 1776): “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

Tried and challenged would identify many people as we blame others, point fingers, and ask questions. How many would say this is God’s fault? And, maybe, we could agree that, yes, it is His fault.

God is just. He will judge each person according to their sin. But there are also times when God will allow evil to test us and draw us back to Him. Yes, we deserve nothing but wrath and punishment for our sins. If you think it is bad now, read the words of the Revelation text referenced above!

Here is our opportunity to boldly proclaim how we feel, and what we believe about the God of all creation. Do you think you could, right now, proclaim the words written above? Likewise do you think you could share the joy you have of believing in Him or lead people in rejoicing over the restoration God has proclaimed for them? Will He, once again, turn our mourning into joy and our sorrow into dancing? He does when we return to Him with repentant hearts. When we do, He promises to restore us, to make us one with Him again. 

Imagine, having been in exile, then going home. As you travel, you see far off in the distance your home city. How do you feel? Is the excitement starting to rise? Can you feel the lift in your step as you draw nearer and nearer? 

We are drawing nearer to home! It is not our earthly home, but our heavenly home. The exact time and date of our arrival is known only to God. The final time of our entry, for all eternity, is in His hands. But, when that time comes, we will be able to say with the Psalmist: You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness. (Psalm 30:11, ESV)

 

PRAYER:  It seems long and difficult, Lord God. The journey and the time away from You increases our anxiety and distress. We long to be with You, but our time is in Your hands. Turn, we pray, our mourning into dancing. Let us see that distant city before us, even in the midst of our trials, that we, in faith, continue to strive for that day when we, Your faithful remnant, will stand before You face to face. We pray for Your mercy, Your restoration, for the sake of Jesus, Your Son and our Lord. Amen.