December 9: “God, and the Old Testament Prophets”

7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Joel 1:1–3:21
Revelation 1:1-20
Psalm 128:1-6
Proverbs 29:18

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Joel 2:12-13 (NLT): “That is why the Lord says, ‘Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.’ Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”

Reflections from Scripture:

The Old Testament ends with the prophetical books – seventeen to be exact. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked because they are generally perceived to be ‘negative.’ It seems that God, through the prophets, was continually telling His people that they were in sin and needed to stop and repent or He would punish them.

Well, the fact is that God’s people were continually in sin, they needed to stop and repent, or the consequences would be serious enough to make them wish they had repented.

As much as that may sound ‘negative’ to us, we need to hear that message as well. Whether or not we realize it or are willing to admit it, we have our own sins that we tolerate, too. And if we are to become more like Jesus, those sins have to go.

Yet, our God is so graciously and periodically put words in print that were overwhelmingly positive. He found no delight in bringing discipline and judgment on a rebellious people. He longed to bless an obedient people.

Joel 2:12-13 (NLT): “That is why the Lord says, ‘Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.’ Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”

In these two verses, God holds out a timeless, very promising principle if the people will return to Him. But, we obeserve that a return to Him needs to be more than a mere formality. It needs to be genuine – heartfelt. An empty external ritual will not achieve the desired end of God’s promise.

If we apply the principle and return to God in the way He prescribes, we will find that “He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”

Friend, God calls out for us to get rid of the sin in our life, no matter how small we think it is. But, when we repent with our heart (our repentance is genuine), then we will find Him more than ready to wipe the slate clean and welcome us back into fellowship with Him.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me see how stupid it is to disobey You. Help me realize that it displeases You and violates principles that make for a purposeful life. But when I disobey, help me genuinely grieve over my actions and come to You with a repentant heart, desiring to turn from disobedience to enjoy You again. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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