The prophetic books can sometimes create an almost depressive state in our minds, because they seem to be all doom and gloom. In this chapter, it is more of the same with a different offender. Damascus will not survive God's wrath, and the city will be destroyed. While they are difficult to read, these books give us a clear understanding of the God that we serve. The heathen will suffer horribly under His wrath, while His people will walk in His grace and love yet will be disciplined for their selfish, sinful behavior. If we try to make Yahweh a wrathful God only, then we miss a huge part of His character and personality. If we focus only on God's graciousness, then we again miss so much of who He really is. We must see God as both our Judge and our Savior. If we are in Christ at judgment, then all will go well because of Jesus and not because of our righteous acts or good deeds. If we are not in Christ, then the Bible promises an eternity in hell. We can say it is not true, and we can argue that it is not true, but in the end, the Bible is truth and it will come to pass. Our choices are the same choices that Israel had to make, and they choose the wrong path. They decided they knew more than God and worshiped false gods more consistently and faithfully than Yahweh Himself. God punished them because He loved them and wanted the best for them. As His beloved, can we expect any less? The Creator of this universe loves you and desperately wants to be in relationship with You, but He will not force you to walk by faith. It is a choice He leaves in your hands.

Help me, Lord, to see You as the God of love and justice. Help me to love You with all my heart, soul, and mind and stay away from impurity and idolatry.