In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we read about Jesus healing a boy with a demon. The boy was initially brought to the disciples of Jesus, but they were not able to heal the boy. When the father approaches Jesus, the boy is healed. Matthew 17:18 says, “And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly” (ESV).
The disciples later approached Jesus in private to ask why they couldn’t drive out the demon. When Jesus responds, He notes their “little faith” (v. 20). In verse 21, we read that this kind of demon only comes out “by prayer and fasting.” That verse is missing in some translations, but it says a lot. Here were the disciples being told that the demon could not be driven out except by prayer and fasting.
The missing verse points out that the disciples were not praying and fasting like they should have been. Their faith was little because they had not spent as much time in prayer with their Father as they needed. Their faith was little because it wasn’t cultivated like it should have been. They were neglectful. Today, look at your prayer life. Are you being neglectful?
“However, this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.” – Matthew 17:21 [HCSB]
Jonah said he didn’t want to go to Ninevah because he knew that God was “a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are too eager to turn back from destroying people” (4:2 NLT). How true!
In today’s verse we read the phrase “my judgment.” We need to remember that it is God’s judgment, not our own. God is forgiving and God does not want to lose any of his children. We read in 4:11 that “Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness” (NLT). That is a lot of people. I bet you also know some people living in spiritual darkness.
Remember today that God does not want to lose any of his children. He relentlessly pursues each one of them. Rather than concerning yourselves with judgment, perhaps we should forgive and do our part to add some light into this darkness. I don’t have a number for you of those living in spiritual darkness, but I think it’s fair to say it’s over 120,000 people. God is merciful and compassionate. He wants each one to come home.
“Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” – Jonah 1:2
Have you ever begged for something? Perhaps when you were a child, you begged your parents for a trending toy. When you neared driving age, you begged to learn how to drive and then when you passed your test, you begged to borrow the family car. Have you ever begged God for something?
Some people beg God for selfish requests. We do not always see it as such, but when things are uncovered, it is very self-centered. We also beg for particular things like healing because we do not see God’s bigger plan. I know I’ve begged for my pain to go away, and yet my pain has taught me patience and humility. I am all the better because of my pain.
In today’s verse, we read that Jehoshaphat was terrified knowing that there was a large group approaching via the sea. He was afraid and he immediately turned his attention to God. He begged Him for guidance. Have you ever begged God for guidance? Have you ever wanted His guidance that bad? Have you ever approached Him with that humility?
“Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.” – 2 Chronicles 20:3 [NLT]