Read: Jeremiah 14:11-16:15, 1 Thessalonians 2:9-3:13, Psalm 80:1-19, Proverbs 25:1-5
Turn us again to yourself, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. (Psalm 80:19)
Relate: When things are going good, we don’t need a Savior. No… that’s not right. When things are going good, we don’t think we need a Savior. I think of the beginning of Rocky IV. There’s an exhibition match planned between Appollo Creed and this new Russian boxer, Ivan Drago. Appollo doesn’t take the match very seriously and comes in to a lot of patriotic pomp and circumstance. The bell rings and Drago beats him to death… literally.
Most of the remainder of the movie is all about Rocky going into training and ultimately fighting the bout of his life to regain American pride but also self respect. He was, after all, the one who trained Appollo and he was also the one who had an opportunity to end the match, but didn’t. Ultimately, like Appollo, he did not take his enemy seriously.
React: Neither do we. Neither did the people of Judah. The scripture from Jeremiah is basically God telling Jeremiah that He has given His people plenty of opportunity to repent. They have not taken the warning seriously, and now their fate is sealed. The Thessalonian church, on the other hand, stood firm against an enemy that has been persecuting and killing them. In the Psalms a judged people have recognized their sin. They are turning back to God and asking Him to turn back to them.
Ultimately we tend to fall into two traps: 1) We don’t take our enemy seriously and end up being humbled. 2) We are humbled by our enemy and so we try to train harder, work more, read more, pray more (etc) so that we might be stronger and stand up against the next attack. That might work for Rocky Balboa but it will never work for us. The Psalmist has the right idea. Turn us again to You… only then may we be saved.
Respond: Dear God I repent. I repent of my sin. I repent of the times that I have fallen. But I also repent of those times when I thought I could stand on my own. I repent of those times I have neglected You when everything has been going well. Help me to realize that any blessings I might have come from You and only when I stay with You can they continue. Help me to realize that on my own, I can never stand against the enemy. Never. Help me to shelter in You, my fortress. Turn me again to You. Only then can I be saved.