Daily Devotion for November 25, 2017
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Our “Saturday Oldie” is a double-Oldie. The original secular song was a pop hit by Little Peggy March in the early 1960s. It was adapted to sacred use in the movie “Sister Act.”
“A Little Prayer”
Let us be thankful, Lord, for little things
The song of birds, the rapture of the rose;
Cloud-dappled skies, the laugh of limpid springs,
Drowned sunbeams and the perfume April blows;
Bronze wheat a-shimmer, purple shade of trees -
Let us be thankful, Lord of Life, for these!
Let us be grateful, God, for health serene,
The hope to do a kindly deed each day;
The faith of fellowship, a conscience clean,
The will to worship and the gift to pray;
For all of worth in us, of You a part,
Let us be grateful, God, with humble heart.
Prayer for the Holy Spirit's Guidance
Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life.
Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church.
Open my heart to the people who are different from me.
In Jesus' name, I pray.
[Open my heart to people who are different from me.]
The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue; the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him; the Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace.
What a Church Needs
What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but people whom the Holy Ghost can use — people of prayer, men and women mighty in prayer.
The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through human beings. He does not come on machinery, but on people. He does not anoint plans, but people, people of prayer.
~ E. M. Bounds
Jonah 3:6-10 (ESV)
The People of Nineveh Repent
The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh.
“By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
Notes on the Scripture
We think of the Old Testament in terms of Hebrews and heathens: The Hebrews, who come to an understanding of the One God and worship Him, and who are blessed by Him; and everyone else, who worship idols and invent gods, incurring God’s wrath.
ut it isn’t quite so simple, for we repeatedly see Gentile peoples who will, at least for a time, honor God. It is exceedingly odd to see the king of Nineveh, who would have been the ruler of the powerful Assyrian Empire, to suddenly bow his knee to Yahweh; and yet, he was filled with the fear of God with Jonah’s prophecy.
Note that the king is not one for half measures. Even the livestock are made to fast. This is a great sacrifice, for the weight of livestock is wealth in a pastoral economy.
God’s intention is to make salvation available to anyone who will believe in Him, and we see a glimmer of his ultimate purpose here. It was, in human terms, a slow process, for human beings are by their nature prone to reverting to their base instincts. We see it, in Jonah’s day, by the erection of idols in the Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam; and all of us see it in our own lives.
Consider: the Assyrians could not have had the confidence in God’s mercy that we have. We, who may trust in salvation by the death and merits of Christ, still struggle with our faith. But Nineveh had no covenant with God and no law of sacrifice as penance for sin. They simply ceased their conduct and asked for mercy, by word and deed.
So we see the greatness of God’s mercy. He takes no pleasure in the death of sinners. Remember, He told Abraham he would spare Sodom if even ten righteous men could be found there. (Genesis 18:20-33)