Devotional Day 38 – Warning!

Exodus 9:16: But this is why I have let you live: to show you my power, and to make my name resound through all the earth.

Devotion: God gives fair warning before destruction comes upon people, their livestock, and livelihoods.  God our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier does not strike people unawares with bolts of lightning like Zeus; but calls people to repentance.  For God desires that no person should perish but that all should come to repentance.[1] 

Consider the calamity that fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah: Did God not given warning to the cities’ inhabitants?[2]  Consider the predicted destruction of Nineveh: Did God not send the prophet Jonah to preach, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned”? [3] Consider the warning in the desert during Jesus’ day: Did God not send John the Baptizer to warn the “brood of vipers” to repent before the coming day of the Lord?[4]  God warns the people of the earth before God judges.  Fire, hail stones, earthquakes, calamity all precede the great and terrible day of the Lord as warning signs to call people to repentance.[5]  Our Lord desires repentance, not retaliation; restoration rather than revenge; reformation instead of annihilation.  God is full of compassion and kindness, for God’s mercy is new every day.   

God warned Pharaoh to repent of his oppressive dominance of the Hebrew people.  God warned the leader of Egypt with progressive pleas and plagues.  Nevertheless, Pharaoh refused to heed God’s warning, and paid a hefty price for rejecting the revealed will of God.  Our stubborn refusal to cry out for mercy to the Compassionate One who has shown kindness in Christ is often our own destruction. 

Moses told us, “Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried their slaves and livestock off to a secure place.  Those who did not regard the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the open field.”  The consequences for our disobedient decision and indecision will be disastrous.  Those who heed God’s warning of impending judgment receive mercy and grace.  God is full of tenderness but God’s sovereignty will not be thwarted.  The Creator of the World offers redemption through the Son by the Power of the Spirit.  Receive it before it is too late. 

Prayer: God our Father, we praise you for showing compassion and kindness in Christ. Open our eyes, ears, hearts and minds to the impending judgment so all people can claim Christ’s compassionate tenderness, generous grace, and insurmountable mercy; so your name resounds through all the earth. Amen. 

Prayer Exercise:  “The Jesus Prayer: Prayer of the Heart,” page 119, in Patricia D. Brown, “Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God,” (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003). ISBN: 0-779-6565-0. Copyright © 2003 by Patricia D. Brown.  All rights reserved.  

[1] 2 Peter 3:9

[2] Genesis 19 and 2 Peter 2:6

[3] Jonah 3:4

[4] Matthew 3:7

[5] Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:14-41, and Revelation 16:17

About Dr. Ivan E. Greuter

A native of Nebraska, Ivan accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior and experienced a call to the ministry at a young age. He graduated from Kearney Senior High before attending Ottawa University (Kansas) where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He attended Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, IL to earn a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Care and Counseling (1999) and a Master of Arts in Philosophical Theology (2002). In 2014, Ivan earned a Doctor of Ministry in Missional Spirituality from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. His dissertation: “Searching For God When You Have Lost Your Dogma: The Promise of New Life for an American Baptist Congregation by Increasing Passionate Spirituality through Devotional Consideration of the Doctrine of the Trinity and Natural Church Development.” He served as the senior minister at First Baptist Church of Wood River, Illinois (1999-2006), and Central Baptist Church of Quincy, Illinois (2006-2016) prior to joining the staff at West Side Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Ivan enjoys French cooking, fly fishing, gardening, and playing games with family and friends. Ivan and his wife, Rexanne, live in Topeka with their three children – two daughters and a son.
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