ODJ: Sin that Strangles

February 9, 2018 

READ: Isaiah 64:1-9 

How can [sinners] like us be saved? (v.5).

National Geographic has detailed the unimaginable killing force of pythons. These snakes have been known to kill large creatures: crocodiles, hyenas and sometimes—even humans. According to experts, pythons kill their prey by cutting off the blood flow, a quick though agonising death. “The heart . . . doesn’t have enough strength to push against the pressure,” one vertebrate ecologist said. The deadly snake literally squeezes the life out of its victims.

Scripture describes sin as a powerful force that, in various ways, squeezes the life out of us. The prophet Isaiah, for example, lamented sin’s stranglehold on God’s people. “We are constant sinners,” he said (64:5). No matter how hard we try to rescue ourselves or attempt to cover up sin’s claim on us, “we are all infected and impure with sin” (v.6). Sin is deadly, and it will not easily let us loose.

You would think that when we find ourselves in sin’s life-squeezing grip, we would call out for help. Remarkably, however, “no one calls on [God’s] name or pleads with [God] for mercy” (v.7). This is sin’s great delusion: it keeps us trapped in the lies we weave. We don’t see how deep our trouble goes, and, far worse, we don’t see how near we are to God’s help—if we’d only ask. And so, even as we’re denying the danger, sin clutches harder and harder, squeezing the very life out of us.

Thankfully, God is still “our Father. We are the clay, [He’s] the potter” (v.8). No matter how far we’ve run or how much we’ve resisted Him, God hasn’t forgotten that we’re His much-loved children. His forgiveness always reaches out. God is always ready to destroy sin’s grip and pour life back into our hearts.

—Winn Collier

365-day plan: Exodus 11:1-10, 12:29-36

Review Gen. 3:4-19 and 4:8-12. How did these sins ruin the lives of those who committed them? 
How is sin striving to strangle the life out of you? How has God made it possible for you to be set free from its grip?