February 3, Wednesday Devotion
11 So now God will have to speak to his people through foreign oppressors who speak a strange language! 12 God has told his people, “Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a place of quiet rest.” But they would not listen. 13 So the Lord will spell out his message for them again, one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there, so that they will stumble and fall. They will be injured, trapped, and captured.
14 Therefore, listen to this message from the Lord, you scoffing rulers in Jerusalem. 15 You boast, “We have struck a bargain to cheat death and have made a deal to dodge the grave. The coming destruction can never touch us, for we have built a strong refuge made of lies and deception.”
16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken. 17 I will test you with the measuring line of justice and the plumb line of righteousness. Since your refuge is made of lies, a hailstorm will knock it down. Since it is made of deception, a flood will sweep it away. 18 I will cancel the bargain you made to cheat death, and I will overturn your deal to dodge the grave. When the terrible enemy sweeps through, you will be trampled into the ground. 19 Again and again that flood will come, morning after morning, day and night, until you are carried away.”
This message will bring terror to your people. 20 The bed you have made is too short to lie on. The blankets are too narrow to cover you. 21 The Lord will come as he did against the Philistines at Mount Perazim and against the Amorites at Gibeon. He will come to do a strange thing; he will come to do an unusual deed: 22 For the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, has plainly said that he is determined to crush the whole land. So scoff no more, or your punishment will be even greater.
23 Listen to me; listen, and pay close attention. 24 Does a farmer always plow and never sow? Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting? 25 Does he not finally plant his seeds—black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat—each in its proper way, and each in its proper place? 26 The farmer knows just what to do, for God has given him understanding. 27 A heavy sledge is never used to thresh black cumin; rather, it is beaten with a light stick. A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin; instead, it is beaten lightly with a flail. 28 Grain for bread is easily crushed, so he doesn’t keep on pounding it. He threshes it under the wheels of a cart, but he doesn’t pulverize it. 29 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher, and he gives the farmer great wisdom.
If you were raised like me, you were taught the importance of giving. We are to constantly give of ourselves to make things work. Yet how many of us have been taught how to receive? Probably few of us. Giving well is easier learned than receiving well, but both are required to interact in this world. Most of us take rather than receive. This is sad but also not surprising. Taking sees only the immediate value of an item whereas receiving sees not only the value of the item, but the value of why it is being exchanged and gives value to the one who gives. Are you a taker or a receiver? Think about it. Pray about it. Confess it. Change.
Lord, too often I am a taker. I take and consume what is around me rather than appreciate what has been given. Teach me to receive, even if it is something as small as receiving you every day. Amen.