The AMI QT Devotionals from June 19-25 are provided by Pastor Joshua Kim of Church of Southland. Joshua, a graduate of Emory University and Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.), serves as the pastor of Access group (singles). He is married to Christina.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them. 7 The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. 8 The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, 9 and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed. 10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. 11 The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter. 12 The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way. 13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”
I have a confession: I’ve been taking this three-week intensive course on Jonathan Edwards (think Great Awakening time, where they spoke English in such a way that even people familiar with Old English wouldn’t have fully understood); lectures Monday through Thursday, 8:30-12:30PM, about 100 pages of reading every night. I promise I’m not sitting here complaining, but with ministry and what not, I got pretty behind on things. And when our midterm paper was due on Monday, I was nowhere close to being ready. So what did I do? I prepared a heartfelt, apologetic speech to ask my professor for an extension. And lo and behold, he granted it—what a nice guy!
I’m not sure where you were the last time you were in school, but in today’s sensibilities, it’s almost expected that these things happen; and it’s almost expected that we can ask and receive an extension (perhaps it’s more of a millennial mindset). It’s almost shocking if an extension is not given. And I wonder if this kind of sensibility seeps into our spirituality as well.
If you remember from yesterday’s passage, we are introduced to this group of seven angels who are given trumpets. Then we see the angel pouring out the fire from the altar onto earth which results in thunder, rumbling, lightning and an earthquake. Now, the Scripture gives no reference to how long the interval between these events and the events of the passage we read today is, but we see that there is a time of preparation before the seven trumpets are blown. And what unfolds is horrific—an eagle that has a birds-eye view of all the events cries out, “Woe, woe, woe!” And this isn’t even the end of it. The eagle directs our attention to the three trumpets that have not been blown yet.
Foretelling of such events that points to the judgment and wrath that will come upon those who are unrepentant are probably parts of Scripture that we are tempted to skip over or not give too much thought. In fact, it is this very instinct that caused people to write off hell as a reality of those who do not repent. However, the Bible is very clear that there will come a judgment day, and some will face the wrath of a perfectly just God. But this also tells us of God’s perfect timing according to His perfect wisdom. And despite those of us who have assurance of salvation in Christ Jesus, passages like this must direct our attention to those around us who do not have the same kind of assurance. Brothers and sisters—there will be a judgment day. But until that happens, may your hearts be drawn to compassion for those who draws compassion from our Heavenly Father.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of salvation, freely given by grace. Thank You for the assurance I have in You. But Father, I recognize that there are many people around me who do not know You as their heavenly Father. I ask that You would break my heart for them. Pour out Your Holy Spirit that I may have eyes to see and ears to hear how You are at work around me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 16
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 25:1-13: Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Questions to Consider
- Compare the virgins who are deemed as foolish and those that are deemed as prudent/wise. What do you think is the biggest difference between those who were foolish and those who were wise?
- What is the inevitable reality of this passage?
- Reflecting on this parable, how does this challenge your perception on life? How does it challenge your perception of those around you who do not know the Lord?
- Jesus compares the two by those who are prepared and those who are not. Despite how we may normally perceive this story, when you look closely at verse 3, it’s not so much that the foolish ran out of oil; they never brought any to begin with. The wise, however, knew exactly what they needed for this journey.
- I think there are several inevitabilities that are at play here: (1) The virgins in the passage all have a lamp and are awaiting the bridegroom. In other words, when we extrapolate the parable, this passage teaches us that everybody is awaiting a savior, whether we recognize it or not. (2) The Bridegroom will come, that is, Jesus will return one day. And (3) there will come a moment where the door will be shut. Therefore, the warning for us is to be on the alert.
- Personal response.
C.S. Lewis, in his sermon “The Weight of Glory,” reveals to the congregation the insurmountable glory that God has poured out upon us, the incredible beauty that we are to possess as His creation. The challenge given by Lewis is to not only see ourselves as these vessels, but to look upon others with the same kind of potential awe. Upon reflection today, how has the Holy Spirit challenged your perspective on those around you, especially those who may not know Christ? Spend some time covering each individual in prayer by name.