Dump the Ashes
Revival Series Devotional for May 17th
Scripture Reading: O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us. Jeremiah 6:26
There is a message that is screaming loudly among our churches in these days by the Lord Himself and no one seems to be listening. It’s not in the mouths of the preachers and pastors. It’s not being proclaimed loudly by the deacons and church leaders. It is rather roarly in the inner being of everyone hurting. That message is; Where is God? We turn to one side and God is not there. We turn to the other and He is absent. With all of the barrenness at church altars and churches in general, at what point do we stop the presses and say honestly “Houston, we have a problem!”
Did you know that the absence of God is a continual message to us that we have left God and are in desperate need to return to Him? In a day when we need the Lord to move in our families, communities, and countries, it seems as though there is no moving of the Holy Spirit on a national level. The reality is; we need God to move in 2017 greater than ever before! It is not the will of God to be removed from His people, but as the Lord said to Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Through the ages when Israel came to a place of spiritual decline, they understood from the hearing of the Old Testament prophet that it was the people who needed to return to God. The same is true of us today. The reason God does not move mightily in our churches anymore is not because God does not wish to meet needs, it is rather because we, as a church, have forsaken God.
Ashes represent a fire that once burned but has gone out. Ashes are the remnants of a fire. Ashes, in particularly, were remnants of sacrifices upon the altars that were burned with fire. Every morning the priests were commanded to dump the ashes and start anew. We are the same! Most of us reminisce about things we used to do for God; how close we used to be to God; and the things God used to do in our lives. But today the fire is gone! There is no intensity in our spiritual lives. We do not burn with the fire of God as we once did. Our lives scream only of a fire that used to burn. Today we are laying in ashes.
Sackcloth was similar to ashes. Sackcloth is a bag that was made for the purpose of carrying things. It went on to represent burden. In scripture, mourners girded themselves with sackcloth. If you live for God, you will bear the burdens God will ask you to bear. Sadly, most people view burdens as unnecessary or even unscriptural. Today, we do not view mourning as scriptural or from the Lord. Have we become so selfish that we refuse to mourn for our loved ones who are, not only lost, but going to an eternal fire in Hell? Where are the people who wail for those who are running headlong to everlasting torment?
When people lay in sackcloth and ashes, it was representative of two things:
- A burden that used to be
- A fire that used to be
Some of us haven’t been on fire for God in years. The saddest part of that is we are content to live without the fire. Most people sit in church remembering a fire that used to be in their life like someone looking at the ashes from a fire once burned out of control. Angel placed coals from the altar on Isaiah’s lips. Isaiah, before I use your lips, I’ve got to sanctify them. Before God can use you, He has to purge you of all things that are an affront to Him. This is where repentance comes in. We must turn from all sin.
We must also stop relying on the things we did in our past; good and bad. Some people are holding on to the sacrifice you once had with God. Friend, that yesterday’s sacrifice is todays ashes. Its time to dump the ashes and Paul said “forgetting those things which are behind and pressing forth to those things which are before.” We have to forget the ashes of yesterday. Its time to throw them out and start over.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; Psalm 30:11.
The Altar Call:
Is the absence of God and His Spirit roaring in your very being? Are you tired of the spiritual barrenness? Do you look at your present spiritual condition and recognize that something has happened. You are not walking in the fellowship and relationship that you once walked in. Friend, God has not moved; God has not changed. It’s time for you turn come back to God. It does not matter how faithful you are to your church or attendance. It doesn’t even matter if you stand preaching or teaching every service. Growing cold and indifferent can take place on any leve. Spend some time in prayer this morning and ask the Lord to confront anything that needs to be removed from your life. I’ve prayed this way many times “Lord, if you can’t work through me, then work on me.” How important is it to you to get the fire of God back in your life? If the fire is important, then start a new fire by present your body a living sacrifice and dump the ashes.