OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL
DATE: FRIDAY 11TH JANUARY 2019
THEME: THE GAINS OF PAIN I
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4
READ: Jonah 3:1-10
1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
When our Lord Jesus Christ taught the words of today’s memory verse, He was referring to those who experience the pain of alienation from their Maker and so groan under the godly sorrow that brings genuine repentance. We see a clear example of this in our Bible reading today. After hearing the message of impending doom delivered by Jonah, the people of Nineveh demonstrated genuine repentance by openly mourning for their sins. Jonah 3:6 says:
“For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.”
When we allow the Holy Spirit to convict us, the end result is godly sorrow as manifested in Jonah 3:10:
“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”
The Holy Spirit put it more directly in 2 Corinthians 7:10 saying:
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”
While the first part of this scripture describes the experience of the Ninevites, the latter part is true for the likes of Judas Iscariot, who after betraying the Master, had ungodly sorrow and hanged himself. Like Judas Iscariot, Peter was also pained for betraying his Master, buy his pain was the result of godly sorrow which led to his repentance, and he became one of the foremost apostles. How true the word of God is! His word cannot be broken because it is settled in heaven for ever (John 10:35, Psalm 119:89).
Beloved, are you undergoing a kind of godly sorrow because you realise you have failed God in one way or the other? God has a message for you in 1 John 2:1-2
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Don’t let your sorrow for sins committed be like that of Judas Iscariot; rather, let it be the godly kind that lead to genuine repentance. Don’t feel sorry because you were not clever enough to escape being caught in that sinful act. Rather, feel sorry because you have disappointed your Maker, and repent quickly before it is too late. There is gain in godly sorrow: it produces repentance that opens the door of receiving divine forgiveness of sin and acquittal from judgement. When your sins are forgiven, you are blessed (Psalm 32:1-2). This blessing is manifested in prompt answers to your prayers, permanent deliverance from the devil’s oppression, and having the Almighty God as your Father. Do you experience godly sorrow for committing sin?
Repent of your sins today, engage your soul in godly sorrow and tell God you are truly sorry. The ungodly pleasure of the moment pales in comparison to the gains that repentance will bring your way.
BIBLE IN ONE YEAR:
Matthew 22-23, Isaiah 9:8-10:4
AUTHOR: PASTOR E. A. ADEBOYE
HYMN 2: OH JESUS, I HAVE PROMISED
1 O Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me,
My Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle
If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway
If Thou wilt be my guide.
2 O let me feel Thee near me,
The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
The tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me,
Around me and within;
But, Jesus, draw Thou nearer,
And shield my soul from sin.
3 Oh let me hear Thee speaking
In accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion,
The murmurs of self-will;
Oh speak to reassure me,
To hasten or control;
O speak, and make me listen,
Thou Guardian of my soul.
4 O Jesus, Thou hast promised
To all who follow Thee,
That where Thou art in glory,
There shall Thy servant be;
And, Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow,
My Master and my Friend.
5 Oh, let me see Thy footmarks,
And in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly
Is in Thy strength alone.
Oh, guide me, call me, draw me,
Uphold me to the end;
And then to rest receive me,
My Saviour and my Friend.