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September 20 – Ripe for picking

All of your fortresses are like fig trees with first-ripe figs—if shaken they fall into the mouth of the eater. – Nahum 3:12

Scripture reading: Heb. 2:1-9

Perhaps it is because I am not a farmer, nor have I lived where fig trees grow, that what is described in our text today was basically meaningless to me. I have learned it is difficult to determine when figs are ripe. Those that are on the ground quickly rot. Those that are on the tree should not be plucked because their ripeness is not easily discerned. The best way to gather figs is this: spread out a large cloth around the base of the tree and shake the trunk of the tree. The ripe figs will readily drop onto the cloth.

The Assyrians are now ripe for plunder. At the lightest touch of their enemies, they will fall. The enemy is described as the “eater”. With hardly any force or effort, the nation will fall into destruction.

Perhaps by now you are getting a bit weary of all these references to plunder, ruin and destruction? I know writing these devotions has been a bit of a challenge because of the repetition. Then I realized how stubborn my own heart was. When I was a child, my parents would say to me, “If I have told you once, I have told you a thousand times, don’t do that!” Like the Assyrians, and like children, we need to hear the repeated warnings of God in order that we will not drift away in our sins, but will be redirected towards His mercy, and in view of His mercy, serve Him with our whole heart, mind, and strength.

Suggestions for prayer: Offer up to God in prayer where in your life you are drifting and needing to heed God’s warning to repent and stay true to Him in all you do and say; also pray for those among your family and friends who need to hear the message not to drift.

Rev. Richard T. Vander Vaart serves as a visiting prison chaplain in Moncton, New Brunswick for Redemption Prison Ministry. A few years ago he and his wife Carolyn became members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. They both enjoy hosting friends for dinner and games nights. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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