Here’s my regular devotional that was written for yesterday. It’s a day late, but at least it’s done.
David’s relationship with God encourages me. In past readings we saw David’s glaring sins and now we see the hand of God with him. God promised David that he would make him famous and defeat all of his enemies. He also promised to make his throne secure and that one of David’s sons would build the temple. That son was Solomon and his mother was Bathsheba, an ill-gotten wife.
After this promise from God, David sat in prayer and asked, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” I can relate to this. I am a sinner saved by grace who fails on a regular basis, and yet God continues to walk with me granting me numerous blessings.
Just yesterday we returned from a two-week vacation. After unloading suitcases, I noticed some changes in our yard. Someone spent some real-time doing much-needed yard work. Bushes were trimmed, the lawn was mowed and edged, our back patio was cleaned, and new plants were planted in our flowerbeds. The yard looks cared for and has greened up quite a bit. I marveled once again at God’s blessings, and silently said, “Lord, I’m not worthy of all this blessing that you keep pouring on us, but thank you.”
We don’t have to be perfect to receive God’s blessings. All we need is a heart that hungers and thirsts after him and strives to live in obedience to his word. Consider David’s words in Psalm 41:2: “As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” God loves us and longs to bless us. As we walk in relationship with him, He will pour out his blessings in some form or another. I am not a wealthy person, but I do see God’s acts of grace all over the place. He gave me a husband who loves and serves him. He gave us two beautiful daughters who are well-behaved and gracious in spirit. He continually provides for our needs in unexpected and surprising ways. I could share story after story of God’s love poured out in my life.
Romans is one of my favorite New Testament books because it spells out Christian living. It’s often my go-to book when I need direction. This chapter gives us some direction about judging others and living according to the word.
I like verse 4 that asks the question, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” So often we are quick to judge others rather than extend the hand of grace even though God has extended grace beyond measure to us. There are times for calling one to account, but scripture gives clear guidelines about when and how to go about that. In the every day dealings with others, we should consider what Christ has done for us before we judge another person. And we should not forget that we too will be judged by God himself.
In verses 17-24 we are warned against talking the talk, but not walking the walk. Verses 23 and 24 say, “You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say, ‘The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.’” This passage was written to Jews of that day, but there is truth there for us as well. Have you heard someone say, “Those Christians are a bunch of hypocrites, why would I want to be a part of them?” When I hear this kind of statement, I know that this is a person who may have been hurt by the church. If we are going to teach God’s word, then we better be living by it as well! If we don’t, we may be causing others to sin. I know that is one responsibility I do not want to take on.