Thursday, July 16, 2020

16 July 2020 - Isaiah 3:13-26

16 July 2020

Today’s devotion is taken from Isaiah 3:13-26

Guilty of selfishness

The above passage talks of the leaders of Judah who instead of caring for God’s vineyard, have ruined it. They were simply making money at the expense of others or the poor. Because of this, they were the focus of God’s judgment, especially since they bore greater responsibility as leaders. God’s judgment was not only against the male leaders of Judah but also against the women of Judah who were only interested in flaunting their wealth and beauty instead of helping the poor. This is simply put; materialism- in that they place material possessions as more important than spiritual values in God. Instead of being concerned about the needs around them they were self-serving and self-centered. 

Beware of materialism!

Our lives are continuously bombarded with images; music, films, and fashion among a hundred different obstructions that make most of us on some level feel that we need things or items to make our lives have a feeling of importance or that make us happy. How many adverts have you seen that tell you directly or indirectly that you need this phone or must buy the latest game console? Because of this, we tend to hold on to our possession and money tightly for our own pleasure, instead of giving them away with a joyful heart. Materialism has nothing to do with how much money you have in the bank or whether you’re driving a Lamborghini, it is primarily an attitude toward money and its importance. We should never preoccupy ourselves with anything that takes precedence over God or our spiritual values. Matthew 6:19-21 says

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Every time I read this passage, I think to myself: this is indeed the BEST investment we should make in this life time. Eternal investments, investments in the kingdom of heaven, are far more profitable. They are certain, and the benefits long lasting. Earthly investments are fickle and short lived.

Of course, it is not to say that possessing material things and enjoying them is wrong, but we should be careful not to be obsessed with accumulating and caring them so much so that we forget about loving others. Or worse, to a point where we feel unhappy if we don’t own the latest gadget or car. Our heart should reflect God’s character and we have been commanded to love others, including the poor. We have been called to help the poor. It may be a simple encouraging word, a smile or an act of kindness. Or maybe God may call you to take up the cause of the needy by defending their rights. See: Proverbs 31:8-Proverbs 22:22-23

The passage is clear that God will send judgment over those who use material things lavishly while remaining blind to the needs of others. If our material possessions are in the way of us loving God with all our hearts and reflecting Him to others, then we should put away our possessions or whatever else is causing our idolatry.

Self reflection:

Have you ever caught yourself feeling unhappy or envious when you look at images, listen to music, see the new fashion and feel that you need them to make you feel important or happy? To a point where not having these materialist items make you unhappy and lose focus on God? Are we being good stewards of our money? That doesn’t necessarily mean not to spend it, but there’s an intention and a carefulness to how we use it for the kingdom of God, for one day God will demand an account of our stewardship.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your provision and all that you have blessed us with. Help us not to be overwhelmed with discontentment. It is easy to want to possess more material things as it is physical things that we can see. Instead, remind us daily to focus on what is unseen and that is the eternal life that is waiting for us. You have commanded and given us grace to love one another as you loved us. So I pray earnestly that I will learn to let go of my wealth or possession and to give back to the community and help the needy.