Devotionals

  • October 17: Justice and Righteousness

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 47-48, Song of Solomon 2, John 5:31-47, 1 Peter 2:9-17 Jeremiah 47-48: More judgment on the nations. First on Philistia (chapter 47), and then on Moab (chapter 48). For Moab, there is a final respite: “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the latter days” (48:47). But still, this whole section is a litany of judgment against the rebellious nations. How are we to read it and interpret it? “Cursed is he who does the work of the LORD with slackness” (48:10) refers to God’s work of judgment. To begin, we must ask ourselves whether we even wish that there was a God who exercised no justice at all. Most people want some final justice for all the foul deeds of this world—the Gulag, the concentration camps, Auschwitz. The deeds of these nations were foul indeed. What is more, they vaunted themselves over Israel (“Was not Israel…

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    October 16: Seek Not Greatness

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 44-46, Song of Solomon 1, John 5:16-30, 1 Peter 2:1-8 Jeremiah 44-46: Our section today has three “words” from God given to Jeremiah. The first, in chapter 44, is regarding the Judeans who had gone to live in Egypt. You will remember that Jeremiah had already warned them not to rely on Egypt, but instead to rely on God. But now that they are in Egypt, another word from God comes to them, through the lips of Jeremiah, to flee from the idolatry with which Egypt was infested. They are “making offerings to other gods” (44:8). And what they need to understand is that not only is this a sin against God, but thereby it is also wounding themselves. If someone cannot listen to the highest argument—that their sin dishonors the gospel—they might listen to a lower argument—that their sin hurts themselves. “Why do you commit this great evil against…

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    October 15: Heed the Word of God

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 39-43, Ecclesiastes 12, John 5:1-15, 1 Peter 1:17-25 Jeremiah 39-43: How difficult it must have been to see all your prophecies come true and in such a sad way. Because Zedekiah did not listen to Jeremiah, but attempted to hold out in a siege against Babylon, Jerusalem was taken, his children were killed, he was blinded (39:1-10). Tragedy upon tragedy. Jeremiah is protected by God’s sovereign hand, and he remains in Judah (39:11-14, 40:1-6). But the remnant of God’s people, instead of obeying the command to settle down, mind their own business, and God would protect them, they soon start squabbling. There is murder and civil war. Jeremiah (chapter 42) warns them against going down to Egypt to protect themselves. But they ignore his warning and go anyway, even taking Jeremiah with them (chapter 43), and again Jeremiah prophesies calamity (43:13). How apparently so easy, and yet in practice…

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    Speak Up

    By Guest

    In our present culture and political season, one of my biggest challenges as a Christian is knowing how and when to use my voice, if at all. Speak Up? Psalm 39:2: “I was mute and silent, I refrained even from good, and my sorrow grew worse.” We’ve probably all heard that there are some things we just shouldn’t talk about in polite company, including religion and politics. We’ve all been around (or maybe have even been) people who are rash, argumentative, and offensive with their viewpoints. So keeping to this rule of etiquette keeps conversations polite and respectful of varying thoughts and opinions. Particularly now in our world of social media, it’s very easy for people to “tweet” their minds; everyone can have a voice. We witness people disagreeing in sometimes ugly, even slanderous ways. It makes me wonder if in our society we are losing the ability to thoughtfully and logically…

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    October 14: Evil Times

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 35-38, Ecclesiastes 11, John 4:43-54, 1 Peter 1:10-16 Jeremiah 35-38: Jeremiah receives word from God to ask the Rechabites to come to God’s house and there offer them wine to drink (35:2). They refuse to drink wine because their forefather had commanded them not to do so and given them other rules by which to live (35:6). This then allows Jeremiah, by God’s word, to paint an ironic picture for God’s people. Here the Rechabites are obeying the word of their father, but you, God’s people, are not obeying God’s word! (35:16) Then comes the famous instance with the scroll. Jeremiah is commanded to write down all the words of his prophecy, and so asks Baruch to transcribe what he dictates to him and then go and read these words to the people (36:1-6). This prophetic warning is so that God’s people might hear God’s word and so repent…

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    October 13: God Keeps His Promises

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 32-34, Ecclesiastes 10, John 4:27-42, 1 Peter 1:1-9 Jeremiah 32-34: Jeremiah, like many a faithful preacher since (cf. Paul and John Bunyan), was in prison for faithfully proclaiming God’s word (32:2-3). His message has been that Jerusalem will fall to the Babylonians. But now, surprise, surprise, God tells Jeremiah to buy a field (32:6-8). Why would God ask Jeremiah to invest in the property market of Jerusalem when he knew full well that the city was about to be sacked? Jeremiah is certain this word comes from God (32:8), and so he goes ahead and buys the field (32:9-15). But he does not understand why. So he prays and asks God why it is that he has been asked to do such a thing (32:16-25). It is no sin to ask for understanding from God. Jeremiah’s prayer is a masterpiece of theological understanding of the big story of God’s…

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    Our Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

    By Guest

    It’s election season. This used to be only a few months long, but this election has been dragging on for nearly a year. I’m usually a political junky who loves to keep up with all the twists and turns of the campaign, but even I am sick of it. It’s no news that most of the country is without a candidate they can get behind. This seems true even in my college town which is a very political place. Our bumper sticker to bumper ratio is way above the national average, but for the first time since I’ve lived here (going on 18 years) I rarely see a sticker for either candidate. This vacancy is times a hundred among those of you who make up the millennial generation. This year my son Cooper (age 19) will be voting for the first time.  It’s a big moment, or at least it should be. I remember when I voted…

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    October 12: New Covenant

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 30-31, Ecclesiastes 9, John 4:15-26, James 5:13-20 Jeremiah 30-31: Jeremiah is now told that God will restore Israel (30:3). So certain is this restoration to come that he is to make sure that he writes the words of his prophecy “in a book” (30:2). The words of God’s prophets were meant to be recorded for our use. So, the yoke that has been put around their shoulders will, in time to come, be broken (30:8), for God is with them to “save” them (30:11). He will “discipline” them, but in “just measure” (30:11), and there will be a restoration: “For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord….” (Jeremiah 30:17) There will be again “songs of thanksgiving” (30:19). The reason for all this is finally God’s love: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”…

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    October 11: Seek the Peace of the City

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 26-29, Ecclesiastes 8, John 4:1-14, James 5:7-12 Jeremiah 26-29: Speaking truth in love—tough words, however gently delivered—is no easy task. But it is one to which Jeremiah is called. But he must stand in the court of the LORD’s house (26:2), in a public place, right in the holy realm, and declare God’s judgment against that house. This, of course, did not go down well. In fact, he is told “you shall die!” (26:8). So unpopular are Jeremiah’s words that there is some danger of a lynch mob. Fortunately, or rather providentially, some of the elders remember faithful prophets from the past who similarly prophesied judgment (26:18), causing God’s people to repent (26:19). To underline the very real and present danger facing Jeremiah, another prophet, called Uriah, prophesied similarly to Jeremiah and was killed for it (26:23). But Jeremiah has a powerful friend close to the king, and so Jeremiah…

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    A Primer on Justification: Part 6

    By Guest

    This article is the sixth in a ten-part series by Dr. Ryken that we are gradually making available. Find the other articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.   The Righteousness of Justification When Jesus died on the cross he was treated like a condemned criminal. The Romans reserved crucifixion for the lowest of the low—for traitors, murderers, and other despicable malefactors. Jesus was neither a traitor nor a murderer; in fact, as we have seen, he never committed a single sin (cf. Heb. 4:15). Yet God permitted him to be crucified in order to take away our sin. To use the technical term for it, God imputed our sin to Christ. To impute is to credit something to someone’s account, which is precisely how we became sinners in the first place: Adam’s sin was charged to our account (see Rom. 5:12-19). By the imputation of Adam’s sin, we…

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