Merciful God

Author: Zoe Brickner — Host: Dylan KraayenbrinkPosted on: April 25, 2024

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Merciful God

READ: JEREMIAH 42:1–43:7; EPHESIANS 2:1-10

“Rhode, tell us what to do. We will die here on the planet Yavorah! The Kuvil Regime took the rest of our people to their planet, and they won’t let us live here peacefully. It’s been years since Juro’s old dynasty held us in slavery— maybe if we go back, their new rulers will help us.”

The desperate shouts and worried exclamations filled their meeting space, a hollowed-out tree trunk aglow with jars of lightening bugs. Rhode closed his eyes for just a moment, resting in Yahweh’s presence despite the contentious atmosphere. After generations of sin and idolatry, Yahweh’s judgment had come to pass. Kuvil had conquered Rhode’s people, the Yavorians. Now, only a remnant was left on their home planet under the Kuvil Regime. Their ships swarmed the sky, as numerous as the bugs, blocking the two Yavorian suns, slowly killing the planet’s lush greenery. Soon, their livelihoods would be upended, and they’d starve.

Bora, the Yavorian army captain, stepped closer and shook Rhode’s shoulders. “Go, ask Yahweh for mercy. Ask Him to show us the way, and we swear we will follow it— whether that means we stay here as captives of Kuvil or we return to Juro for refuge.”

Rhode was appalled at the idea of returning to the very planet Yahweh had delivered them from. He wanted to be compassionate and hopeful, but he could only be suspicious of Bora’s plea. Of course now they wanted to hear from Yahweh, after generations of ignoring Yahweh’s commands. Were they merely desperate to avoid destruction, or were they sincere in their desire for repentance? “I will pray,” Rhode decided. “Whatever Yahweh says, I will tell you.”

The moment Rhode was alone, he collapsed with exhaustion. A few glimmers of light shown in the sky through the dense canopy. As Rhode stared up at them, he wondered if they were stars or impending spaceships. Sighing, he prayed, “Help me be faithful. Please, reveal Your will to me.” For ten days, Rhode remained silent before Yahweh, until He spoke.

Rhode called the commanders together, but the cold and determined look on Captain Bora’s face made him hesitate. Gathering himself, Rhode said, “If we remain on this planet, the one Yahweh promised to us, and trust in His protection, He will be gracious and we will prosper. We can trust that He will be merciful to us.”

Everyone was silent, but Bora’s eyes were ablaze with anger. “You lie! Your words are treasonous! If we stay, Kuvil will destroy us all.”

“But Yahweh promises He will preserve a remnant of our people,” Rhode said. The leaders began filing out of the tree, casting dirty glares and muttering “traitor” in his direction. Rhode hollered after them, “Fleeing to Juro would just be another idolatrous response. Yahweh is giving us another opportunity to put our trust in Him!” No one listened.

Before the suns had even set, Rhode was corralled onto a shuttle with a hoard of other Yavorians. They slipped through Kuvil’s blockade with a cloaking device. Rhode pressed his face against the window and watched as the green planet’s surface grew dim. Yavorah was a gift from Yahweh, a place for prosperity after slavery. And now, instead of leaning into His mercies, Rhode was taken with the rest of his people back to Juro. But Yavorah was his home, their home.

“I am with you, and I still give my mercy to my people,” Yahweh said to Rhode as Yavorah faded from sight. “One day, I will bring you home. I am making all things new, and I will dwell with you forever.” • Zoe Brickner

• Today’s story is an allegory of Jeremiah 42–43. Israel sought Egypt’s help when Babylon attacked them, despite the fact that Egypt had enslaved them for over 400 years. Their choice to return to Egypt for refuge was an act of idolatry because they put their trust and hope in something other than God. To us, it may seem absurd and idiotic that Israel would even consider turning to Egypt, but we often fall into idolatry as well. What are somethings in your life that you are tempted to trust before you trust God? Maybe it’s your own good deeds, a relationship, academic or athletic achievement, financial success, social status, material security, or even a government or church leader. Consider taking a moment to bring your idols to God and take comfort knowing that He will never let you down, even though our idols will.

• Like Israel, we have all failed to fully trust God at times. However, Jesus lived a life of perfect trust in God the Father and perfect obedience to Him. When Jesus died and rose again, He bore the punishment our sins deserve, including idolatry, so that we don’t have to. God washes away the very memory of our sins purely out of love for us (Isaiah 43:25). Jesus is always with us, and His death and resurrection have ushered in the new creation. When Jesus returns, He will complete His restoration of the heavens and the earth, and we will live in a new Jerusalem with Jesus and with all His people forever (Revelation 7:9; 21:1-5). And we can experience a taste of that new Jerusalem now when we gather with His people, the church. Praise God for this gift of mercy! How could you celebrate God’s goodness with fellow Christians in your life? 

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Ephesians 2:4-5 (CSB)