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January 19 – Judgment at the household of God

“The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless…” – Isaiah 33:14

Scripture reading: 1 Peter 4:12-19

With this prophecy of such vivid descriptions of Assyria’s destruction, Judah might be tempted to respond with smugness, rather than humility. There’s a little bit of the Pharisees in us all. We think we’re better than “them.” That smugness is usually accompanied by a second course: hubris. Hubris is a false sense of security, and over-confidence, which is based on the past. In Judah, it would have sounded like this: “Assyria is going to get it; we in Judah are secure because we’re Judah.”

What both Peter and Isaiah say is jarring to this false sense of security. We forget what we were in our sins: “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We were God’s enemies, but still, Christ died for us. We’re not better than “them”; we’re not better than anyone! We’re sinners, saved only by grace in Christ!

So when judgment comes against God’s people, those who have put their trust in themselves and their privileges, will surely tremble. Their faith is not in God. This is what God’s judgment upon the church does: it purifies the church of false confessors. Hypocrites are exposed. Pharisees are rattled.

Rather than smugness or hubris, respond to Isaiah 33 with repentance. Acknowledge that your own sins deserve the same destructive condemnation. God spares His people because He did not spare His own Son, but “gave Him up for us all” (Romans 8:32).

Suggestions for prayer

Confess your sins to the Lord and thank Him for giving His only-begotten Son for your salvation. Ask for forgiveness for the pride that believes we are better than other people.

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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