Ever gotten stuck in a cycle? When my wife and I were newly married, she worked at a battered women’s shelter for a couple years. One of the things that she learned was that women can get into a cycle of abuse. The abusing husband or boyfriend charms the lady. Tension eventually builds. Then there is an episode of abuse against the woman. The man woos her back in a honeymoon phase of apologies and promises and displays of “love.” Eventually, tension builds again, and there is another act of violence against the woman. Then the abuser draws the woman back again through a honeymoon phase. The woman loves the man and keeps thinking that this time it will be different that he’s changed, and she’s trapped in this cycle of abuse.
Water goes through a cycle on the earth as well. Humor me for a minute as I present a simplistic view of the earthly water cycle. Water falls on the earth as rain. The rain creates run-off as gravity leads water to the lowest point available. The sun heats up the water, causing evaporation. As the water vapor rises in the atmosphere, it cools and attaches to particles in the sky and condenses to form clouds. As the clouds build, they eventually drop their water and rain upon the earth.
In the book of Judges, the Israelites were in a cycle as well, God’s Water Cycle. God would rain down His blessings upon His people. Eventually, they would get their eyes off the Blesser and onto the blessings. They would run off into sin and pursue other gods. God would heat things up for the Israelites by allowing them to become ensnared and enslaved. This would cause them to lift up prayers to heaven in repentance for deliverance. After letting them suffer for a good while, God would come to their rescue, deliver them, and rain His blessings upon them. After which, they would in time run off to pursue other things and gods.
You are on this cycle. Sometimes it’s a simple devotion such as this one which prompts your repentance from a detour. At other times, God may have to use a stronger wake-up call to bring repentance in our lives. I’ve experienced both. Save yourself time and heartache. Listen to the sermon. Heed the soft correction. Listen to that still, small Voice.
So where are you on this cycle?
- Are you in the middle of a shower of blessings? Keep your eyes on the Blesser.
- Are you running off? Turn back to the Lord.
- Are you in the heat of God’s correction or training? Are you in the middle of some catastrophe and discipline of God? Stop resisting God and turn back to Him.
- Are your prayers rising up to God with a heart of repentance and love?
This week you’ll read…
Judges 1-7: “God’s angel went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, ‘I brought you out of Egypt; I led you to the land that I promised to your fathers; and I said, I’ll never break my covenant with you—never! And you’re never to make a covenant with the people who live in this land. Tear down their altars! But you haven’t obeyed Me! What’s this that you’re doing? So now I’m telling you that I won’t drive them out before you. They’ll trip you up and their gods will become a trap.” When God’s angel had spoken these words to all the People of Israel, they cried out—oh! how they wept! They named the place Bokim (Weepers). And there they sacrificed to God” (Judges 2 in The Message Bible).
1 Samuel 1-7: Hannah was despondent. She was barren and her husband’s other wife ridiculed her because Hannah had no children, so she went to the tabernacle. “Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears. Making a vow, she pleaded, ‘Lord of Armies, if you will take notice of your servant’s affliction, remember and not forget me, and give your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut’” (1 Samuel 1 in The Christian Standard Bible).
1 Corinthians 1-7: “Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?” (1 Corinthians 3 in The New Living Translation)
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MSG are daily readings linked to The Message Bible on BibleGateway.com.
CSB are daily readings linked to The Christian Standard Bible on BibleGateway.com.
NLT are daily readings linked to The New Living Translation on BibleGateway.com.