3 Devotions Based on This Coming Sundays Scripture Texts (Pentecost 3)
Pentecost 3-Old Testament
TEXT: Jeremiah 20:7-13
TITLE: Righteous Vengeance
O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause. Jer. 20:12
The verse above could easily be Jeremiah’s Theme song, just like Johnny Carson had to open his late night tv show! Vengeance! Jeremiah, though a person from the Old Testament, understood Paul’s words from Romans 12:19…” Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” On the one hand, we have vengeance because we are sinners and we sin against each other. On the other hand, God’s Spirit dwelling in us moves us to follow His Word and seek our vengeance through Him. That is exactly what Jeremiah is doing in our text!
Sadly, Jeremiah was a prophet just prior to the Babylonian captivity. As a result, he had to give the Children of Judah all the bad news of their upcoming captivity. Thus, Jeremiah was called, ‘the weeping Prophet!’ Think of all the times we have been hurt by others! Have we sought God in prayer to do our vengeance for us? Or, have we taken matters into our own hands and made matters worse validating the expression, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right!’ Thank God for forgiveness! May our vengeance always be righteous!
Dear Heavenly Father, such is our prayer, may our vengeance always be righteous! Thank you for paying the price of Your own vengeance on us through Jesus, in His Name, Amen.
TEXT: Romans 6:12-23
TITLE: Exclamation Points
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Rom. 6:15
It’s not often one sees exclamation points in scripture. But we have one here in our text! Why was Paul so excited by the words God gave him? BTW…an interesting side bar…according to Wiki Encyclopedia, there are no punctuation marks in the Hebrew writing (Old Testament) and no vowels either. The earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament did have some punctuation but all their letters were capitalized and with no spaces in between the words. In a sense, this makes the Bible even more intriguing if not miraculous in how it could come out so perfect! These punctuation marks were later additions by Hebrew writers of the OT known as Mazorites of the Middle Ages. It is unknown when the Greek translation of the NT added it, possibly with the King James version of 1604-1611. (Wiki Encyclopedia)
On the one hand, just because we are under grace and no longer under the OT levitical laws including the 10 commandments does not give us the right to break them. The Bible says, ‘Do not test the Lord your God.’ Every time we sin we test God and His forgiveness and patience with us. In other words, obedience is still called for, even with free will and grace! Yet, we still sin! On the other hand, we are forgiven by Jesus on the cross and by His resurrection so, even if we do sin we are forgiven. But putting the cart before the horse is an example of tempting God so…don’t do it! He says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” That deserves an exclamation point!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your perfect inerrant Word! Though there may be some grammatical mistakes by the scribes who wrote it down, everything is just as it’s suppose to be for our salvation, in Jesus Name, Amen.
TEXT: Matt. 10:5a, 21-33
TITLE: You are Worth More Than Sparrows
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. John 10:29-31
Have we any idea how much God loves us! His example from Matthew 10 is a hyperbole of God’s meaning; a gross exaggeration! There is a picture I’ve seen on the internet showing Jesus’ arms spread out as He’s nailed to the cross with the caption…”This is how much I love you! H wasn’t stretching out His arms to show us the size of a fish He caught (then stretch that a little bit!), no, He showed us exactly how much He loves us!
On the one hand, Jesus loved us so much that He died in our stead to take away our sins. On the other hand, He gives us free will so we can love Him back even though there is nothing we can do for Him that compares with what He’s done for us…a.k.a… grace! Yet, what a blessing for us to be little imitators of Him and to love and care for others, even down to the seemingly most insignificant animals, like sparrows! Fear not indeed!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making me of worth in Your eyes! Help me draw other people of worth to You with Your Gospel, in Jesus Name, Amen.