Devotional: "Divine Compassion and the Call to Repentance"
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? – Ezekiel 33:11
God’s self-declaration in Ezekiel 33:11 resonates through time, reminding us of His compassionate plea for repentance and life. Its message resounds today, urging us to turn away from paths leading to destruction and embracing the life-giving ways of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ!
In this passage, God’s heart is laid bare, revealing His deep desire for repentance and life for all people. He takes no delight in the demise of anyone; instead, He yearns for reconciliation and restoration of all peoples everywhere. So much so that He emphasizes the sincerity of His desire by speaking in the form of an oath, “As I live, declares the Lord.”
As we fast and pray for peace within our nation and the Middle East, let us remember the essence of Christ’s ministry—redemption and reconciliation. His life, death, and resurrection were not just for a select few or for those who we deem most “worthy,” but for all nations. He desires each individual, community, and nation to turn from sin and embrace the abundant life He offers!
While we often pray fervently for those we love and favor, praying for the repentance of the wicked, (or the repentance of Muslims and Jews) may challenge us. Consider Jonah. In his reluctance to comprehend God’s compassion for Nineveh, he foolishly attempted to skirt God’s desire for the repentance of all peoples. This now serves as a warning for us today. Let us boldly pray for the repentance of all, including Muslims and Jews, imaging God’s heart for all people to turn from wickedness and turn toward the Prince of Peace.
Christian Union’s vision of a spiritually vibrant nation aligns with God’s plea in Ezekiel 33:11 and with Christ’s ministry of reconciliation and redemption. Let this fast be more than a ritual of abstinence. Let it be a deliberate turning away from the things that hinder our relationship with God and one another! May this time of fasting and prayer transform us into Christian leaders who are passionate about embodying Christ’s love and extending His peace to all nations.
Let us hasten God’s redemptive work in our lives, our communities, our nation, and in the Middle East by earnest prayer and fasting. Knock, seek, and ask for the Prince of Peace to bring repentance to all peoples, that their hearts would turn towards Him and live!
Father, we praise You for Your compassion, Your mercy, and Your heart’s desire for reconciliation and life for all nations. We humbly confess that at times we take pleasure in the death and demise of the wicked, which does not image your heart or desire. As we fast and pray, we ask for Your guidance and wisdom. Transform our hearts to mirror Yours and help us embody the message of Ezekiel 33:11, turning away from ways that lead to death and embracing Your life-giving truth. Empower us to be agents of change, spreading Your message of divine compassion, love and peace in our spheres of influence. Bring many to repentance in our nation and in the Middle East. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus' name, amen.
Grace Ann Arvey
Director, Christian Union America
FREE OFFER: Get the "Seeking God Lifestyle" Bible Course Manual. Download this 67-page, 5-lesson course in PDF format.