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Daily Devotionals for November 20


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Proverbs: God's Wisdom for Daily Living

Devotional Scripture:

Proverbs 28:17-18 (KJV):
17 A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.
18 Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.

Proverbs 28:17-18 (AMP):
17 If a man willfully sheds the blood of a person (and keeps the guilt of murder upon his conscience), he is fleeing to the pit (the grave) and hastening to his own destruction; let no man stop him!
18 He who walks uprightly shall be safe, but he who willfully goes in double and wrong ways shall fall in one of them.


Thought for the Day

Whoever sheds human blood is on his way to the pit (the grave and hell), for a man will reap what he sows. The Bible tells us that the penalty for murder is death; this verse tells us not to try to stop that process. However, even a murderer can be saved from hell if he accepts what the shed blood of Jesus did for him on the cross and confesses his sin.

Capital punishment is a difficult subject. Some believe that it is just to condemn murderers to death while others think the death penalty is too cruel a punishment for civilized society. Christians are also divided on the issue. Some support the Old Testament law of capital punishment, while others oppose it, basing their stand on the New Testament teaching of forgiveness. Does this mean that the Old Testament and New Testament are in opposition to each other? Since God does not contradict Himself, perhaps a deeper understanding of the Bible as a whole is needed in order to reconcile the truths, since each view contains a measure of truth. Throughout history, various governments have enforced the death penalty for certain crimes such as murder, but it was God Himself who inaugurated capital punishment, before any governments were established. "And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man" (Genesis 9:5-6).

Why did God institute capital punishment? Why would a loving God who is supposed to love all of mankind issue these edicts? To answer this question, we must understand the overall purpose of God. God knew when He created man with a free will that not all people would follow and obey Him. However, He also knew that many would want to love and serve Him. In giving man free will, He also had to establish laws for people to live by. When we look at the Ten Commandments listed in Exodus 20:1-17, we can see that these laws were given for the good of mankind. One of these laws is in verse 13: "Thou shalt not kill." We may wonder if God said "do not kill," why He would then decree that a murderer should be put to death. The reason is that the Hebrew meaning of the word translated as "kill" actually means "murder" or "to slay someone in a violent manner unjustly." So, God is actually saying, "Thou shalt not murder."

God knew before creating all things, that man would sin and that He would need to establish laws to curb that sinful nature. Knowing that most people would not allow His reign in their lives, God instituted civil authorities to maintain order and restrain evil in our societies. Through Israel, God provided us with a set of laws that apply to both our spiritual and natural life. They apply to the spiritual by showing man that the wages of his sin is death and to the natural by providing merciful laws restricting his lust for vengeance. God's justice demands life for life; but because Christ gave His life in our place, the murderer's debt to justice is paid. God's mercy grants him forgiveness if he accepts Christ's sacrifice. God's pardon for sin, however, is not the same as man's pardon. Even if a murderer should truly repent and is forgiven by God, his country may still inflict the death penalty upon him as stated in Romans 13:1-5.

Prayer Devotional for the Day

Dear heavenly Father, the sacrifice of Jesus shedding His blood on the cross so that mankind could be saved is beyond our understanding. It is awesome to think that even a murderer, who comes to You and repents of his sins, can find forgiveness and be made whole. Thank You for forgiving us and fill our hearts with love and forgiveness towards those that have hurt and abused us. May we extend mercy towards others, so that when we need mercy, we will have some in our storehouse. I ask this in the name of our merciful Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.



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