DAY THREE

GOD IS OUR RESTORER

“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”

Jeremiah 29:10–14

Additional Reading: Jeremiah 33:10–13; Psalm 30; 1 Peter 5:8–10


The prophet Jeremiah wrote to the Jews in Babylon, who had been deported from their land. He told them to prepare for a seventy-year exile, which was a result of God’s people disobeying His commands. God had been faithful to His people, but they remained stubborn and had to face the consequences of their sin. In spite of their rebellion, God promised comfort and assured them of His covenant faithfulness. The exile was meant for discipline, not destruction.


Beyond restoring what we have lost, God gives salvation, redemption, and peace to all who are far and near.

Through Jeremiah, God instructed His people to build houses and raise families in exile and to wait patiently for their return (Jeremiah 29:4–9). God promised preservation. He reminded them that He had wonderful plans to prosper them and not to harm them, to give them hope and a future. God’s people responded with repentance, turned back to Him, and opened their hearts to seek Him. God’s purpose for His people had always been to display His righteousness to the nations, so that they too would want to follow Him (Deuteronomy 4:5–8). Therefore, as God’s people turned back to Him, He not only promised to bring them back to their land, but also to restore their fortunes as in the past.

Eventually, the Babylonian empire was defeated and a remnant did return to the land. God did fulfill His promise. However, more than that, God’s greater plan was fulfilled in a new covenant through Jesus Christ. Instead of laws being written on tablets, they are now written on our hearts and minds (Jeremiah 31:31–35). Instead of sacrifice after sacrifice, salvation came through Christ’s finished work on the cross and His resurrection. Instead of salvation only for the Jews, it is available for every person who calls upon the name of the Lord (Hebrews 8:6–13).

God is not just faithful to restore the fortunes of His people. His awesome ways include a greater hope in Christ in this life and for eternity.


BEYOND RESTORING WHAT WE HAVE LOST, GOD GIVES SALVATION, REDEMPTION, AND PEACE TO ALL WHO ARE FAR AND NEAR.



NOTES

Write down your thoughts on today’s devotional. Pray that God will continue to speak as you reflect.




REFLECT

Recall the losses and pain you have endured in the pandemic. Could God be using this for discipline and for your spiritual refinement? What is your response to the message of God’s promise through Jeremiah?




Do you believe God is our restorer? How could God be preparing you to receive a greater blessing from Him and to do greater work for Him? How can you seek Him with all your heart and hope in Him every day?





PRAY

“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”

Jeremiah 29:10–14
Lord, I believe You have a greater purpose in everything. I trust that You know the plans You have for me. I believe they are for my welfare, that You want to give me a future and a hope. I declare my dependence on You. I look to You to restore what I have lost, but more than that, I look to You for my salvation and peace. I pray that You would restore, confirm, and establish me. By Your grace, I will seek You every day and see Your glorious plans unfold for my life, my family, my nation, and the world. In Jesus’ name, amen.

ANG DIYOS AY TAGAPAGPANUMBALIK NATIN

“Ako, ang PANGINOON, ay nagsasabing pagkatapos ng 70 taon na pagsakop ng Babilonia, babalikan ko kayo at tutuparin ko ang pangako ko na ibabalik ko kayo sa lupain ninyo. Alam ko kung paano ko tutuparin ang mga plano ko para sa kabutihan nʼyo at hindi sa kasamaan nʼyo, at plano para bigyan kayo ng pag-asa na magkaroon kayo ng mabuting kinabukasan. Kung magkagayon, tatawag at mananalangin kayo sa akin, at diringgin ko kayo. Kung lalapit kayo sa akin nang buong puso, tutulungan ko kayo. Oo, tutulungan ko kayo at ibabalik mula sa pagkakabihag. Titipunin ko kayo mula sa ibaʼt ibang bansa na pinangalatan ko sa inyo, at ibabalik ko kayo sa sarili ninyong lupain.”

Jeremias 29:10–14

Basahin din: Jeremias 33:10–13; Salmo 30; 1 Pedro 5:8–10


Ang propetang si Jeremias ay sumulat sa mga Judio sa Babilonia—ang mga pinaalis mula sa kanilang bansa. Sinabihan niya silang maghanda para sa pitumpung taong pagkabihag, na bunga ng pagsuway nila sa kautusan ng Diyos. Ang Diyos ay naging matapat sa Kanyang mga mamamayan, subalit nanatiling matigas ang kanilang ulo at kinailangan nilang harapin ang bunga ng kanilang kasalanan. Sa kabila ng kanilang rebelyon, ipinangako ng Diyos na bibigyan Niya sila ng ginhawa at tiniyak Niyang mananatili Siyang tapat sa kanilang kasunduan. Ang pagkabihag nila ay isang paraan ng pagdisiplina sa kanila at hindi pagwasak.


Higit pa sa pagpapanumbalik ng mga nawala sa atin, ang Diyos ay nagbibigay ng kaligtasan, katubusan, at kapayapaan sa lahat, malayo man o malapit sa Kanya.

Sa pamamagitan ni Jeremias, sinabihan ng Diyos ang Kanyang mga mamamayan na magtayo ng mga bahay at magtatag ng mga pamilya habang sila ay nasa pagkabihag. Dapat din nilang hintayin ang kanilang pagbabalik sa kanilang lupain (Jeremias 29:4–9). Ipinangako ng Diyos na pananatilihin Niya sila. Ipinaalala Niyang mayroon Siyang magandang plano upang pagyamanin sila at hindi wasakin, bigyan sila ng pag-asa at magandang kinabukasan. Ang mga mamamayan ng Diyos ay tumugon nang may pagsisisi, at bumalik sa Kanya, at binuksan nila ang kanilang mga puso upang alamin ang kagustuhan Niya. Layunin ng Diyos na sa pamamagitan ng Kanyang mga mamamayan ay maipakita Niya ang Kanyang katuwiran sa iba pang mga bayan, upang sila rin ay sumunod sa Kanya (Deuteronomio 4:5–8). Samakatuwid, dahil ang mga mamamayan ng Diyos ay nagbalik-loob sa Kanya, hindi lamang Siya nangakong ibabalik Niya sila sa kanilang lupain, kundi ipapanumbalik din Niya ang kanilang yaman gaya ng dati.

Hindi kalaunan, natalo ang imperyo ng Babilonia at bumalik ang natitirang mga mamamayan ng Israel sa kanilang lupain. Tinupad ng Diyos ang ipinangako Niya. Ngunit higit pa rito, ang dakilang plano ng Diyos ay natupad sa pamamagitan ng isang bagong kasunduan na natanggap nila dahil kay Jesu-Cristo. Sa halip na mga batas na nakasulat sa mga tableta, ang mga ito ay nakasulat na sa ating mga puso’t isipan (Jeremias 31:31–35). Sa halip na sunud-sunod na pag-aalay ng mga sakripisyo, nagkaroon ng kalayaan sa pamamagitan ng ginawa ni Cristo sa krus at ng Kanyang muling pagkabuhay. Sa halip na kaligtasan para sa mga Judio lamang, nagkaroon ng kaligtasan na para sa lahat ng taong tumatawag sa pangalan ng Panginoon (Mga Hebreo 8:6–13).

Ang Diyos ay hindi lamang tapat sa pagpapanumbalik ng yaman ng Kanyang mga mamamayan. Kasama sa Kanyang mga dakilang pamamaraan ang pagkakaroon ng higit na pag-asa kay Cristo sa buhay na ito at sa walang hanggan.


HIGIT PA SA PAGPAPANUMBALIK NG MGA NAWALA SA ATIN, ANG DIYOS AY NAGBIBIGAY NG KALIGTASAN, KATUBUSAN, AT KAPAYAPAAN SA LAHAT, MALAYO MAN O MALAPIT SA KANYA.



MGA NATUTUNAN

Isulat ang mga naisip mo tungkol sa debosyonal ngayong araw. Ipanalangin na patuloy na mangusap sa iyo ang Diyos habang lalo mong pinag-iisipan ang mga ito.




PAG-ISIPAN

Isipin ang mga pinsala at sakit na pinagdaanan mo sa buong panahon ng pandemya. Ginagamit kaya ito ng Diyos bilang pagdidisiplina o pagsasaayos ng iyong espirituwal na buhay? Ano ang tugon mo sa mensahe ng pangako ng Diyos sa pamamagitan ni Jeremias?




Naniniwala ka ba na tayo ay ipinapanumbalik ng Diyos sa Kanya? Paano ka kaya inihahanda ng Diyos upang tanggapin ang mas malaking biyaya mula sa Kanya at gawin ang mas marami pang bagay para sa Kanya? Paano ka lalapit sa Kanya nang buong puso at aasa sa Kanya araw-araw?





MANALANGIN

“Ako, ang PANGINOON, ay nagsasabing pagkatapos ng 70 taon na pagsakop ng Babilonia, babalikan ko kayo at tutuparin ko ang pangako ko na ibabalik ko kayo sa lupain ninyo. Alam ko kung paano ko tutuparin ang mga plano ko para sa kabutihan nʼyo at hindi sa kasamaan nʼyo, at plano para bigyan kayo ng pag-asa na magkaroon kayo ng mabuting kinabukasan. Kung magkagayon, tatawag at mananalangin kayo sa akin, at diringgin ko kayo. Kung lalapit kayo sa akin nang buong puso, tutulungan ko kayo. Oo, tutulungan ko kayo at ibabalik mula sa pagkakabihag. Titipunin ko kayo mula sa ibaʼt ibang bansa na pinangalatan ko sa inyo, at ibabalik ko kayo sa sarili ninyong lupain.”

Jeremias 29:10–14
Panginoon, naniniwala akong may mas dakila Kang layunin sa lahat ng bagay. Nagtitiwala akong may plano Ka sa buhay ko. Naniniwala akong ang mga ito ay para sa aking kabutihan, at nais Mo akong pagkalooban ng magandang kinabukasan at pag-asa. Ipinapahayag ko ang pangangailangan ko sa Iyo. Umaasa akong maibabalik Mo ang lahat ng nawala sa akin. Ngunit higit pa dito, umaasa ako sa Iyo para sa aking kaligtasan at kapayapaan. Dalangin kong maipanumbalik, mapagtibay, at mapatatag Mo ako. Sa pamamagitan ng Iyong biyaya, araw-araw kong hahangarin ang Iyong presensiya at dakilang plano sa buhay ko, sa aking pamilya, sa aking bayan, at sa mundo. Sa pangalan ni Jesus, amen.

GOD IS OUR RESTORER


CONNECT

Parents, look for something in your home that needs to be repaired or revived. It may be your child’s toy, an appliance, a plant that is about to die, a car, anything.

Together with your children, try to recall the state of the object when it was in good condition—what it looked like, what use you had for it, how much you appreciated it. Contrast it now with its present condition—its appearance, its uselessness.

Note that you didn’t throw it away. You kept it because you want to repair it and bring it back to its original condition, where you can fully appreciate it and use it again. This is called restoration. This is a good process because, to a certain degree, it brings things back to their original form.

How about people? People become broken because of sin. What happens then? Can we be restored? Who restores us?


READ THE WORD

This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Jeremiah 29:10–14 (NIV)

How reassuring it is to hear these words! They were given at a time when the Jews were forced to live away from home, in exile in Babylon. Even in exile, God did not abandon them. In the midst of their suffering, God revealed a plan to restore them physically back to their land.

Today, most of us have experienced loss of some kind—loss of a job, financial security, health, or even a loved one. As God’s children, we can rest in the assurance that He will not abandon us through our losses. We can trust that He has a plan and that His plans are good. We must let this truth rest in our minds and in our hearts.


HUDDLE

PARENTS TO KIDS

4–6 years old

  • Have you ever lost a toy you loved? Were you able to find it? Tell us what happened.

7–12 years old

  • What do you think has been your biggest loss this pandemic? (Loss does not necessarily mean a physical loss. It may be loss of time with friends, loss of things you used to be able to do, and things like that.)
  • Do you expect things to go back to how they were before the pandemic? How can this happen? What can we depend on for this to take place?

KIDS TO PARENTS

  • What was the biggest loss you experienced? How is God restoring this loss?

No matter what we have lost, we can always have hope. This is because our hope is in Christ, not in the things we have lost. God can restore what was lost, but more than these, He wants to restore people back to Himself. Jesus Christ’s work on the cross made this possible. Because of what He did, we can receive salvation. You see, God restored us back to Him even when we were sinful. As His new creation, our physical losses become instruments for us to know Him more and even provide opportunities to tell others about Him.


PRAY

This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Jeremiah 29:10–14 (NIV)
Dear God, thank You for Your wonderful plans for us and that you have never abandoned us. But most of all, thank You for restoring our hearts back to You. Please help us to see Your hand in our situation so that we may share Your hope with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

DISCOVER

Do you ever wonder how art masterpieces, whether a painting, sculpture, building, or other form of art, are preserved over many years?

Most have undergone a process called “art restoration.”



Art restoration is done on a piece of art that has lost its original state through different causes like humidity, molds, exposure to light, vandalism, or human contact. It entails a tedious, sometimes years-long process of analysis, involving much technology and delicate cleaning, all of which will help ensure that the original piece is preserved.


Some famous works that have been undergoing restoration include the following:

  • The Taj Mahal, a building in India
  • The Mona Lisa, a painting in Paris
  • Pieta, a sculpture in Italy

While some restorations are impressive and bring the art piece as close to the original work as possible, none can compete with the restorative work God does in each one of us. From our messy beginnings, He restores us to His original design, which is far better than where we started. Only God can change and restore the human heart!



Source
“The Science Behind the Restoration of a Painting,” Invaluable, accessed May 14, 2021, https://www.invaluable.com/blog/the-science-behind-art-restoration/.

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