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June 22, 2018

Devotion for June 22

            God is portrayed in many ways throughout Scripture, but perhaps the descriptive most often associated with God is Father. Even though the very concept of father, family, and community is rooted in the eternally existing trinity, the relationship we have with our earthly father helps shape the initial understanding of the relationship we have with our heavenly Father. A very important aspect of that Father/child relationship is discipline.

            It is very unfortunate that discipline has taken on such a negative connotation in our culture, because at its core, discipline is simply shaping and forming. It is the formation of core values, ideals, and understandings that will guide a person throughout his or her life. And who better to shape and form these core essentials than our redeeming, reconciling, righteous Father.

            As you read through Jeremiah 46-47, and specifically 46:28, take note of the Fatherly tone in God’s words to His people. Then, remember His words through the writer of Hebrews that He disciplines us for our good, so that we night share in His holiness. That way, instead of seeing your situation or circumstances a punishment, you understand it as the disciplinary means your heavenly Father has employed to conform you more to the perfect image of His Son.

Jeremiah 46–47 (CSB)

1 This is the word of the Lord that came to the prophet Jeremiah about the nations: 2 About Egypt and the army of Pharaoh Neco, Egypt’s king, which was defeated at Carchemish on the Euphrates River by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in the fourth year of Judah’s King Jehoiakim son of Josiah: 3 Deploy small shields and large; approach for battle! 4 Harness the horses; mount the steeds; take your positions with helmets on! Polish the lances; put on armor! 5 Why have I seen this? They are terrified, they are retreating, their warriors are crushed, they flee headlong, they never look back, terror is on every side! This is the Lord’s declaration. 6 The swift cannot flee, and the warrior cannot escape! In the north by the bank of the Euphrates River, they stumble and fall. 7 Who is this, rising like the Nile, with waters that churn like rivers? 8 Egypt rises like the Nile, and its waters churn like rivers. He boasts, “I will go up, I will cover the earth; I will destroy cities with their residents.” 9 Rise up, you cavalry! Race furiously, you chariots! Let the warriors march out— Cush and Put, who are able to handle shields, and the men of Lud, who are able to handle and string the bow. 10 That day belongs to the Lord, the God of Armies, a day of vengeance to avenge himself against his adversaries. The sword will devour and be satisfied; it will drink its fill of their blood, because it will be a sacrifice to the Lord, the God of Armies, in the northern land by the Euphrates River. 11 Go up to Gilead and get balm, Virgin Daughter Egypt! You have multiplied remedies in vain; there is no healing for you. 12 The nations have heard of your dishonor, and your cries fill the earth, because warrior stumbles against warrior and together both of them have fallen. 13 This is the word the Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah about the coming of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to defeat the land of Egypt: 14 Announce it in Egypt, and proclaim it in Migdol! Proclaim it in Memphis and in Tahpanhes! Say, “Take positions! Prepare yourself, for the sword devours all around you.” 15 Why have your strong ones been swept away? Each has not stood, for the Lord has thrust him down. 16 He continues to stumble. Indeed, each falls over the other. They say, “Get up! Let’s return to our people and to our native land, away from the oppressor’s sword.” 17 There they will cry out, “Pharaoh king of Egypt was all noise; he let the opportune moment pass.” 18 As I live— this is the King’s declaration; the Lord of Armies is his name— the king of Babylon will come like Tabor among the mountains and like Carmel by the sea. 19 Get your bags ready for exile, inhabitant of Daughter Egypt! For Memphis will become a desolation, uninhabited ruins. 20 Egypt is a beautiful young cow, but a horsefly from the north is coming against her. 21 Even her mercenaries among her are like stall-fed calves. They too will turn back; together they will flee; they will not take their stand, for the day of their calamity is coming on them, the time of their punishment. 22 Egypt will hiss like a slithering snake, for the enemy will come with an army; with axes they will come against her like those who cut trees. 23 They will cut down her forest— this is the Lord’s declaration— though it is dense, for they are more numerous than locusts; they cannot be counted. 24 Daughter Egypt will be put to shame, handed over to a northern people. 25 The Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says, “I am about to punish Amon, god of Thebes, along with Pharaoh, Egypt, her gods, and her kings—Pharaoh and those trusting in him. 26 I will hand them over to those who intend to take their lives—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his officers. But after this, Egypt will be inhabited again as in ancient times.” This is the Lord’s declaration. 27 But you, my servant Jacob, do not be afraid, and do not be discouraged, Israel, for without fail I will save you from far away, and your descendants from the land of their captivity! Jacob will return and have calm and quiet with no one to frighten him. 28 And you, my servant Jacob, do not be afraid— this is the Lord’s declaration— for I will be with you. I will bring destruction on all the nations where I have banished you, but I will not bring destruction on you. I will discipline you with justice, and I will by no means leave you unpunished. 1 This is the word of the Lord that came to the prophet Jeremiah about the Philistines before Pharaoh defeated Gaza. 2 This is what the Lord says: Look, water is rising from the north and becoming an overflowing wadi. It will overflow the land and everything in it, the cities and their inhabitants. The people will cry out, and every inhabitant of the land will wail. 3 At the sound of the stomping hooves of his stallions, the rumbling of his chariots, and the clatter of their wheels, fathers will not turn back for their sons. They will be utterly helpless 4 on account of the day that is coming to destroy all the Philistines, to cut off from Tyre and Sidon every remaining ally. Indeed, the Lord is about to destroy the Philistines, the remnant of the coastland of Caphtor. 5 Baldness is coming to Gaza; Ashkelon will become silent. Remnant of their valley, how long will you gash yourself? 6 Oh, sword of the Lord! How long will you be restless? Go back to your sheath; be still; be silent! 7 How can it rest when the Lord has given it a command? He has assigned it against Ashkelon and the shore of the sea.

Matthew 28 (CSB)

1 After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4 The guards were so shaken by fear of him that they became like dead men. 5 The angel told the women, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there.’ Listen, I have told you.” 8 So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell his disciples the news. 9 Just then Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” They came up, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus told them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.” 11 As they were on their way, some of the guards came into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 After the priests had assembled with the elders and agreed on a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money 13 and told them, “Say this, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him while we were sleeping.’ 14 If this reaches the governor’s ears, we will deal with him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 They took the money and did as they were instructed, and this story has been spread among Jewish people to this day. 16 The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”