December 30 I Thursday
“Because of the LORD’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
After the Babylonian invasion of Judah in 586 B.C., Jeremiah wandered through the ash and rubble of the streets of Jerusalem. A man of melancholic temperament, he was known as the weeping prophet, called by God to the grim task of announcing the destruction of Judah, because of the people’s evil and idolatrous ways. He witnessed the judgment of God first hand, and was deeply broken over a city destroyed and its people taken into exile. Despite the obliteration that he saw, Jeremiah wrote the opening verse of this devotion, focusing on God’s goodness, hope, restoration and unfailing compassion.
Mercy is found in compassion, and as much as we need to know God’s laws and His judgment, we also need to know His mercy and forgiveness. We need to know there is a way back to God. In the New Testament, Peter writes, “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Jeremiah had a living hope sourced in God. Despite the destruction he saw, he looked ahead to the mercies of God that were new every morning. How do we attain this mindset while living in a corrupt world and knowing full well the depth of our own sin?
Scripture tells us the only way back to God is found in repentance. Repentance does not merely involve being sorry for our sin of yesterday. It involves today, tomorrow and every day thereafter. It is a change of heart and mind that addresses tomorrow’s temptations in advance. It is turning from our ways to God’s ways and from dependence upon ourselves to dependence on God. Genuine repentance brings total forgiveness, and we are then on our way to experiencing the living hope we have in Jesus Christ.
We cannot, however, allow God’s forgiveness that is readily available upon repentance to devalue the seriousness of sin. In His mercy, God is willing to forgive, but it does not mean we can trivialize sin, as it grieves God and inhibits the work of the Holy Spirit in us. On the other hand, God does not bring us out of our sin to be left in a vacuum either. Paul tells us, “God who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5). As we come humbly to the cross of Christ, God wipes the slate clean and we are given new life, where we will discover what Jeremiah said—“for His compassions never fail; they are new every morning.” As we continue to battle with sin, we equally continue to draw on the depth of God’s mercy and abundance of His grace.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the compassion, mercy and grace You have shown me over and over again. Help me to live in dependence on You and in a spirit of repentance. Thank You, Lord.