Editor’s Note: The AMI Quiet Times for March 10th-18th are provided by P. Yohan Lee of Radiance Christian Church.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Samuel 15:20-21
And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.
I cannot prove this scientifically, but I think “Saul” lives at my house in the form of a five-year old boy. I tell my son, “Saul (not his real name), clean up your room.” When I come back five minutes later, I see him in the middle of his still messy room, playing with legos or whatever toy he is into this month. Again, I tell him, “Saul, I told you to clean up your room!” Saul replies, “I did clean up my room. Look, I put the books away.” Sure, the lad has put the books away, but there are still a ton of legos, action figures, and craft supplies out all over the place.
Here’s the deal: for the life of me, I don’t know if my son really thinks his room is clean and has fulfilled my wishes, or if he is giving me that lame explanation hoping it will simply appease me. Similarly, when I read Saul’s explanation (15:20-21) as to why he did not carry out the Lord’s instruction to totally wipe out the Amalekites (15:1-3), I do not know if Saul really thought he was obeying, or if he was just hoping this lame explanation would appease Samuel and/or God. Here’s the real point: partial obedience is not the same as obedience; in fact, partial obedience is just another form of disobedience.
What are the things in which you know you are only giving partial obedience (or total disobedience)? In my experience, the two most common areas of partial obedience are: forgiving/loving and giving. I know so many people who do not forgive, but carry grudges. In better cases, they are certainly not loving their neighbor, but they live in a state of toleration with estranged brothers/sisters in Christ. Sure, estranged toleration is better than loathing, but it is not love. In terms of giving, many people know they need to give and have a genuine conviction about tithing; but they partially obey, rationalizing that some is better than none. Of course, in your life, there are probably other examples. What are the things you need to fix in obedience (total or genuine) to Christ? Let’s take steps today to live in genuine obedience to God.
Lord, show me areas in my life where I am only living in partial obedience. Give me an opportunity this day to obey you, even in small areas. And give me courage and wherewithal to fix these areas, as well as the power to change.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 9
Lunch Break Study
Read Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
Questions to Consider
- By implication, verse 1 shows the progression of a wicked man. What is it, and have you seen this slide in your life or another’s?
- How does this Psalm describe the righteous person?
- How does this Psalm describe the wicked person?
- The progression goes from active to inactive: The wicked man will first walk with wicked counsel, and then he will stand with sinners; finally, he gets comfortable and sits with scoffers. Most will not fall into great sin in one day, but rather a series of compromises and apathy to God will eventually lead into major trouble.
- The righteous delight in and take to heart God’s word. They will be fruitful (grow) in the faith and ministry. They will be secure because they are firmly rooted in God.
- The wicked are instable (blown away by chaff) and will eventually face the Lord’s judgment.
Did you have an opportunity to obey the Lord today? Did you take that opportunity? Remember the Gospel is not, “Obey and you will be justified” but rather, “Because we are justified, we obey.” Is obedience to God a way you want to live because you are so thankful that He died for you? What is your motivation for living in obedience?