Hosea 4: 1: “The Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land.” Up until this year, the last few generations have not experienced suffering like those before, and thus have lost the ability (or desire) to empathize with others, to feel their pain. It should be that 2020 is playing a role in changing this, as we have all suffered more than previously. Has this perilous time translated into more faithfulness and kindness toward others, as intended, or even more focus on oneself and improving our own situations?
Wednesday, September 30: “Better than You”
Luke 5: 30: “The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with the tax-collectors and sinners?’” The Pharisees had no empathy (or even sympathy) for those they deemed to be on a lower spiritual plateau than themselves. Thus, they made no effort to elevate them, and criticized those who did. They focused on healing the healthy and feeding the full, for they did not believe in lowering themselves to the level of the least, the lost, and the lonely. Lord, make us more like Jesus, and less like the Pharisees!
Thursday, October 1: “Other Side of the Coin”
Psalm 105: 5: “Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels, and the judgments uttered by His mouth.” Oh, how we love to remember God’s wonders and marvels, to analyze them, dissect them, and claim them anew! But let us not forget His judgments, for they produce a godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7: 10). Are we allowing the Lord to use this time of struggle and sorrow to make us better people? For that is why it is upon us.
Friday, October 2: “Like Then, Like Now”
Hosea 10: 1, 2a: “Israel is a luxuriant vine; he produces fruit for himself. The more his fruit, the more altars he made; the richer his land, the better he made the sacred pillars. Their heart is faithless; now they must bear their guilt.” Hosea may as well be speaking in 2020, rather than in the seventh century B.C. Like the Israelites of that time, we focus so much on self, at the expense of others! How else can you explain the recent phenomena of ‘plant-napping’? This robbing someone of something that brings them joy and claiming it for one’s self is a petty yet illuminating symptom of society’s greatest ill today: the complete fascination with self, while disregarding the needs of anyone else.
Saturday, October 3: “For Good Measure”
Luke 6: 38: “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” You can make this verse all about money if you want, but its context is way deeper. If you want mercy, be merciful; if you want freedom from judgment and condemnation, don’t judge or condemn; if you want pardon for yourself, pardon others. And, if you want empathy from others, take the time to show them some empathy when it’s needed. This passage is the Gospel of the Kingdom in a nutshell, and the world will be a better place when people start living it.