09/06/23 Turn from His Ways and Live

READING: Ezekiel 17-20 

I have so many vivid memories of serving as a pastor. Some of those are painful, like the times I officiated at funerals of persons who apparently were not followers of Jesus. Those were most difficult services, for they were services where I could give no hope for their departed loved ones to grieving family members. I could, though, tell them that God desired to be their Lord and give them life. 

On the other hand, I rejoiced when non-believers turned to Christ. I have such great memories of lives changed, of formerly passionate sinners illustrating their transformation through the picture of believer’s baptism, of family members loudly rejoicing when unsaved loved ones found God. 

Both the pain of the first memories and the joy of the second continue to compel me today. I don’t want to experience the anguish of non-believers dying without Christ, and I very much want to see more people come to Him. I want my heart to be the heart of God, evidenced as He reminded the Hebrews that every person would be responsible for his own actions: “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “Instead, don’t I take pleasure when he turns from his ways and lives?” (Ezek 18:23). 

God’s pleasure is not in the death of the wicked, but in the salvation of the repentant. Because God is still drawing to Himself people from every nation, tribe, and tongue, I long to be a part of the harvest. 

PERSONAL REFLECTION: Do you want to be part of the harvest?     

PRAYER: “God, make me desire more deeply the salvation of the lost.”   


*devotion first published in 2015 

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