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January 13 – Even the land mourns 

“The land mourns and languishes; Lebanon is confounded and withers away; Sharon is like a desert, and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.” – Isaiah 33:9 

Scripture reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-18

This language is not to be taken literally, even though Sennacherib and his army did march down the forests of Lebanon (see 37:24), and did pass through Sharon (see Isaiah 36). This figurative description means that even the land mourns with the people; everywhere you could look, there was a sense of fading, diminishing, or “languishing.” Life, as it were, had gone out of the land.

This is used as a picture of the sad condition that the coming of the Assyrians had brought on the land and its people. Lebanon, known for its stately cedars, is now browned out; its leaves have fallen and Lebanon is ashamed. Sharon was also known for beautiful blossoms, but is now a desert region. Bashan and Carmel had verdant trees that were not only bare, but had lost their leaves early.

The fear of Assyria has gripped the land; all stands still, cold and lifeless in the grip of dread terror.

How can we press on in our present spiritual battle? Fear and dread easily grip us when the present enemies flex and strut. Our weakness in putting sin to death sometimes gives us the same cold and lifeless chill. But “God gave us not a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). Jesus Christ gave His Spirit to fill us with power and courage and strength, that we might persevere and not wither, even when the enemies seem so close and so powerful.

Suggestions for prayer

Ask the Lord to strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ so that by His Spirit you might not languish, but press on in this spiritual battle.

Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.

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