January 13, Wednesday Devotion
7 Then at last the people will look to their Creator and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. 8 They will no longer look to their idols for help or worship what their own hands have made. They will never again bow down to their Asherah poles or worship at the pagan shrines they have built. 9 Their largest cities will be like a deserted forest, like the land the Hivites and Amorites abandoned when the Israelites came here so long ago. It will be utterly desolate. 10 Why? Because you have turned from the God who can save you. You have forgotten the Rock who can hide you. So you may plant the finest grapevines and import the most expensive seedlings. 11 They may sprout on the day you set them out; yes, they may blossom on the very morning you plant them, but you will never pick any grapes from them. Your only harvest will be a load of grief and unrelieved pain.
12 Listen! The armies of many nations roar like the roaring of the sea. Hear the thunder of the mighty forces as they rush forward like thundering waves. 13 But though they thunder like breakers on a beach, God will silence them, and they will run away. They will flee like chaff scattered by the wind, like a tumbleweed whirling before a storm. 14 In the evening Israel waits in terror, but by dawn its enemies are dead. This is the just reward of those who plunder us, a fitting end for those who destroy us.
Maybe it is just me, but when I read passages like this I sometimes feel guilty that I do not live well enough to please our God. This passage can be a little confusing because it sounds like the people have turned to God yet we hear of how it could have been had they not turned away from God. I look at this oracle as a kind of these are the consequences of your possible choices. If you do this, the outcome will be this. If you do this instead, the outcome will be different. What do you think? Do you think that everything has already been decided and we just play our part? Or do you think we really do have choice and therefore the future is still being made as we make our choices?
Lord, help me to make the kinds of decisions that will glorify you and your bring your Kingdom about here in this world. Amen.