The Heart Committed to Jesus
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Devotional for Day 26
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. - Revelation 9:20-21 (ESV)
The above passage teaches us that even in extreme situations, a large populace will harden its heart to God in a time when they should repent. John the Beloved apprises his readers that days will come when people will have stubborn hearts set on sin no matter what its aftereffect. Many will “think they are wise when they are not” (Proverbs 26:12) and will suffer sanctions for their decisions. The compassion of Jesus offers a way of refuge in times of extreme woe. Unfortunately, scripture teaches us that it will be rejected.
Each of us are familiar with a life snuffed out due to the ravages of sin. I often wonder why more people do not learn from witnessing such cautionary tales. I’ll never forget a funeral I attended of a known alcoholic. I imagined it would be a solemn gathering – one with sobering discussions of lessons learned by the death of their friend. Sadly, those discussions did not dominate any of the circles I was warmed to. The victim’s ominous departure had little to no immediate effect on helping people repent from their own alcohol abuse. Instead, the overwhelming ethos at the funeral could basically be described as a celebration of substance abuse. Alcohol was served in abundance at the repass with wanton disregard of the chief consequences that brought us to that point or of the consequences yet to come.
In Revelation 7:1-8, John the Revelator writes about 144,000 Jewish evangelists preaching to little effect to those refusing to repent. My prayer is that none of my loved ones would dare be so bold or so blind as to not recognize when God’s hand of love is sent out in human form to rescue the brokenhearted and the hurting. During the age of this pandemic, quite a lot of social media in New York City has morphed into a bleak COVID-19 platform to scroll through thread after thread of the dead. I can’t help but get fired up to do more proclamation of a loving Savior who heals the broken and is still an ever-present help and attentive to mourners. The Bible references many who would have perished had it not been for the intermediation of Jesus.
A fellow feeling fastens me to relate like never before to the hard task of seeking Jesus and His peace while the stench of illness and plague of death seem so near. Nevertheless, we must push ourselves in faith toward Jesus Christ above our feelings, humbling ourselves to His sovereign Word and faithfulness. If there was ever a time for Christians to fast and pray, it is now. Let us remind ourselves and others that Jesus ministers well in times of crisis.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.” - Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
As this crisis peaks in the harsh days ahead, examine the softness of your heart. Reject allowing hardness of heart to take any root. My best defense is time spent in long blocks of prayer – like 2 to 4 hours in a day. Fasting and prayer helps to crush all the idols of false helps that try to enslave me with their deceptive appeals to satisfy me.
Again, consider afresh Revelation 9:20-21:
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
Jesus, keep my heart soft and never let me reject Your ways. Fill my heart with Your joy and compassion towards those around who live as if judgment will never show up. Anoint my words to reach the hearts of my neighbors and family so that they may be saved by Your amazing grace. Lastly, Lord help me to keep my fast in the midst of so much temptation in my house and convict me to hold my commitment to this time of consecration. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Ministry Associate, Christian Union New York
Author, Street God