Daily Devotional 10-7-19

Volatile Faithfulness   
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

“Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Isaiah 1:2-3

One of the surprises I had when I came to the U.S., was people’s love for pets, especially dogs.  Dogs are cared for as one would care for children. There are those who specialize in training dogs so they could live well with their owners. There is even obedience school where these pets are sent for training to attend to the instructions of their owners. Personally, one of the traits of dogs I like so much is their loyalty. Dogs know how to stick well with their owners.

In the text above, God makes a painful comparison between Israel’s attitude towards God and an ox’s attitude towards its owner. Whenever we see God get serious like this, it means something is seriously wrong with His people. Isaiah prophesies that the ox and the donkey know their master, and submit to him. They serve their master, and he takes delight in them for their loyalty and service. Think of a cowboy with his favorite horse. The horse serves to the delight of his owner. However, Israel does not know her Maker. She had forsaken her God. 

Israel was chosen but she constantly struggled to live out her choseness. She kept toggling between serving other gods and her true God. She experienced both blessings and curses from God because of their volatile faithfulness. And, God thought the ox and the donkey were more loyal than Israel. This, I must admit, is very painful. But, that was the reality and God would not mince words on that. 

We break God’s heart whenever we choose our own path and reject His ways. Anytime we choose the path of sin and self over righteousness and love we lower ourselves. Imagine God saying, “I created you to live more than that.”  Yes, we do struggle in our thoughts and actions sometimes, but when we make it a habit to live in sin, God frowns on that. Jesus calls us His friends in John 15:15. This is a great privilege! The relationship has shifted from servant and master, to friends. I want to please Jesus in my thoughts and actions because He calls me His friend. I desire to be loyal to Christ not because I am afraid, but because He loved me to the point of dying for my sins.

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, grant me the grace to live from a place of loyalty to Christ!