Bible Readings and Devotion for August 26 & 27, 2020
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Devotion for August 26 & 27, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Sometimes we treat some of our sinful actions or attitudes like a pet. We like having it around. We treasure it, even above other people or beings in our lives. We can let other things or sins go, but we avoid letting go or putting away our pet sins.
In our reading from 2 Kings 10 we have the account of the religious reforms of Jehu, King of Israel (Northern Kingdom). Jehu had been anointed as the new king. As king he sought to make things better for the religious life of the nation. He went to work to get rid of corrupt and unfaithful people. He pushed out the worship of Baal, the pagan deity of fertility.
There is one thing which he did not do. This was something which was equally as problematic. You see, decades earlier the Kingdom of Israel split north and south after the death of Solomon. The southern kingdom kept the kings in the line of David, and they called themselves, “Judah.” The northern kingdom kept the name of, “Israel.”
After the split there was an issue of the Temple in Jerusalem. This remained part of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The rules of Israel wanted to keep their people loyal to the North, so they set up alternative worship temples in the northern cities of Bethel and Dan. This was somewhat problematic. What turned the tides of gross sin was that they set up a Golden Calf inside each sanctuary. We remember that this was a repeat of the horrific sin of the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. Read Exodus 32 to see the how and why of this idol worship sin.
Back to the reforms of Jehu. They got rid of all sorts of things, but they did not get rid of each Golden Calf in the sanctuaries. We read is 2 Kings 10:29, “But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit—the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan.” And then in 2 Kings 10:31, “But Jehu was not careful to follow the law of the Lord the God of Israel with all his heart; he did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he caused Israel to commit.” They held on to their pet sin of the Golden Calf. They knew from the prophets that this was wrong, but they seemed to have like it.
As you reflect on your own life with God, what is a “pet sin” you have avoided confessing to God and repenting from? What is something which you sort of know is a problem, but you would rather keep doing?
Martin Luther teaches us in the Small Catechism section about individual confession the following,
“Which sins are these?
Here reflect on your walk of life in light of the Ten Commandments: whether you are father, mother, son, daughter, master, mistress, servant; whether you have been disobedient, unfaithful, lazy, whether you have harmed anyone by word or deed; whether you have stolen, neglected, wasted, or injured anything.”
You have the opportunity each new day to be more honest with yourself and with God about that thing or those things which are sinful, but you sort of want to keep around. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God are there to remind you that our Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. Because of this, we are free to work out our salvation with fear and trembling as we set aside even our, “pet sins,” which draw us away from living God’s most excellent way.
Gracious and holy God, give us diligence to seek you, wisdom to perceive you, and patience to wait for you. Grant us, O God, a mind to meditate on you; eyes to behold you; ears to listen for your word; a heart to love you; and a life to proclaim you; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.