Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 24, 2021

“Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.”

Today’s devotion comes from James 4:17.

“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”  James 4:17.


We can look at this verse generally as we know “the right thing to do” as stated by the Bible.

Or, we can look at this verse specifically as we know “the right thing to do” such as the specific occupation or specific mission or specific good deed that we should do.   

This devotion will focus on the second or specific view of this verse for the following reasons.  First, we have already covered through many other verses and daily of devotions the first view of this verse under the topic of Law.  Second, almost everyone who reads these daily devotions have access to the Bible, worship services, and other sources through which they generally know “the right thing to do” and they already know it is sin to not do it.  Accordingly, I present the following Scriptures and statements to address the specific occupation or specific mission or specific good deed we should do.   

“And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few.  From everyone who has been given much, much will be required;  and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”  Luke 12:47-48.

But, there is hope!

“8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.” Psalm 32:8-11.

“9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.

I have planned it, surely I will do it.” Isaiah 46:9-11.

And, there is even hope for us Jonahs who are called to preach to Ninevah, so to speak!

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”  But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.  So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”  Jonah 1:1-3.

Other doctrine trusts in man’s alleged free-will.

But, Reformed Doctrine trusts in God’s sovereignty and God’s Will to accomplish all of His good pleasure.    

Notice the hope provided by our God Who is sovereign and relentless in accomplishing His purpose.  Notice the use of the sovereign word “appointed” four times in the book of Jonah.  

The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.”  Jonah 1:1-4.

“And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.”  Jonah 1:17.

“So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort.  And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant.  But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered.  When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “Death is better to me than life.”  Jonah 4:6-8.

In summary and conclusion, God is at work in us!

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.

“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6.


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