Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the two year reading plan the church is participating in. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.
2 Chronicles 30:6-9
It’s very easy to get caught up in the mindset of “This is how it always has been, and that’s how I will continue”. We see it all the time- in US and world history, in the Bible, and in our own families and personal lives. It’s easier to keep going the direction you’ve always gone than to break from it. Here, Hezekiah is urging the people of Israel to return to the Lord, and to not be like their fathers before them. Perhaps they turned away from the Lord, or did not do what was right, but with each person or generation, there is always grace in the choice to come back to God. This offer from Hezekiah also has some cultural connotations relating to captors and freedom. He promises that those who fled will find “compassion with their captors” because of the Lord’s mercy. One of my favorite worship songs is “Draw Near” by Bethel, and the lyrics that catch my ear are “Draw near to me/For I have drawn near to you. Pull on the strings of my hear/For I long to respond to you.” This is the message conveyed in the last half of verse 9. The Lord is offering an alternative to His righteous anger, if only His people will return to seeking him. The two points I want to make here are that sometimes we lose sight of what it means to be seeking the Lord, and that it is never too late to return to the way we were meant to be with the Lord, whether your parents or grandparents or whoever spiritually mentored you exemplified the right way to do so. You can break free from your wrong ways at any time, and go running back to the Lord. The best part is that He will always take you back.
Questions for reflection: Where in your life have you strayed from the right way? What will it take for you to return to the Lord? Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength to do so.
1 John 1:1-5
Sometimes, I think that the part of being a Christian that I am the most uncomfortable with is confession. It’s hard to own up to things that we’ve done that we knew were wrong, or things that we didn’t know were wrong until after we did them. It’s uncomfortable to acknowledge sin. However, I think that reading this passage is a good reminder of why we need to live in that discomfort- not constantly, but when necessary. We can’t be truthful followers of Christ if we don’t acknowledge our sin, and now just the blanket fact that we are sinners, but our specific sins. The gift of forgiveness is well within our reach, if we are willing to grab for it, and we can only do that when we bring our sins to light. God is faithful! We have nothing to lose from admitting our sins, and everything to gain, if we can get over that discomfort. It’s just like dunking into the cold water of Lake Michigan for the first time. You must do it, and you know you’ll feel more comfortable once you get it over with. It’s hard to take that plunge, anticipating how cold it will be, but you know that after that moment, you’ll be glad you did it.
Questions for reflection: What are you uncomfortable admitting, to yourself, to others, or to God? Spend some quiet time meditating in the fact that the discomfort will not last long, and afterward you will be able to bask in forgiveness.
Reflections written by: Lauren DeVries