Lutheran Daily Devotional July 4, 2023, Tuesday
Lutheran Daily Devotional July 4, 2023 Tuesday Message. As you study today’s devotional, remember this; “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NLT)
TOPIC: Prisoners of Hope
Zechariah 9:9, 11-12 – Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. … As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.
MESSAGE: Every time I read this passage, I feel kind of disturbed by the imagery. For instance, the waterless pit thing. That sounds a lot like hell, doesn’t it? And then God says, “I will set your prisoners free from it because of the blood of My covenant with you.” What does He mean?
Today we use contracts, legal agreements written down on sheets of paper and signed by the parties involved. But in the days of Abraham, people used covenants—agreements that were symbolized and enforced by blood. What I mean is this: If you had two people, or maybe a king and a group of people, and they wanted to make a covenant, they would agree to the terms. Then they would take animals like cattle, goats, and birds, and cut them in two. They would put the two pieces apart from each other, leaving a path between them where the parties to the covenant would walk. It was a really graphic way of saying, “If I break this covenant, may I lose my life and be utterly destroyed.” The blood of the animals guaranteed the good faith of the people making the covenant.
We can see God doing a covenant ceremony just like this in Genesis 15, when He promises to give Abraham and his descendants the promised land. But the interesting thing about this particular covenant was, it was one-sided. God is the only one who walked between those dead animal pieces in the form of fire and smoke. Abraham only watched. God bound Himself and Abraham got the benefit.
Sound familiar? This is exactly what Jesus did for us. He made Himself the sign of the covenant between all believers and God. It was His blood that was spilled, His death that makes the agreement forever sure. And what has God promised? “You who trust in Jesus, you will be My children; your sins are forgiven; I am giving you a new heart and mind; and you will live with Me forever, in My kingdom.” Jesus’ blood sets us free from the waterless pit.
But God isn’t finished yet! We might be out of the pit, but we are still “prisoners of hope.” We have seen the beginning of God’s promises kept in our lives, but we know there is more to come. We are waiting for Jesus to return in His glory, when all evil will be destroyed and a new heaven and earth will begin.
So what should we do while waiting? God tells us: “Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope.” That’s the right place to wait! The Lord Himself is our stronghold, and He will never fail us.
WE PRAY: Lord, I hope in You while I wait for Your coming. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Why do you think God chose to bind Himself by oath in His covenant but not Abraham or us?
2. What do you know about human nature that would make an oath dangerous for us to take?
3. What do you look forward to the most about Jesus’ return?
Today’s Bible Readings: 1 Kings 16-18 Acts 13:1-25