If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner [living among us], the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.
— Jeremiah 7:5-7
Thoughts on Today's Verse...
What is the true measure of our character? Certainly, it is not merely how we act "at church." The real test of our character, our godliness, is our partnership with our Father in heaven and his work of redeeming the lost, forgotten, downtrodden, and broken — or quite literally in this verse, the "foreigner"* and "fatherless" and "widows" among us. When we live only for ourselves, when the "have-nots" are left so far behind, a culture collapses upon itself because it lacks the heart of God, and people become jealous and resentful of one another.
* The NIV 11, rather than our usual NIV 1984, is used for this passage because of the translation of the literal term, "resident alien," as "foreigner" in NIV 11 is closer to our modern usage of the terms.
Loving God, Almighty and Sovereign Lord, please forgive us and use your children to heal our land. Father, I especially pray that you will use me to be a blessing to someone who has no one to whom he or she can turn in times of crisis. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Monday, July 5, 2004