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 Sam. 15:12: And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning. And it was told Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned and passed on and went down to Gilgal.”
Every time I read this passage I think, “What is wrong with Saul? He totally fell off the wagon and is setting up idolatrous images of himself,” similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue (Dan. 3) or the golden calf (Ex. 33). In other words, I start to self-righteously judge Saul, thinking, “I could never do such an idolatrous thing like that.” But as I read this passage more carefully, I realize that the Bible never says that this monument was supposed to function as a center of idolatry, worshiping Saul. It simply says a “monument for himself.” It could have simply been a pile of rocks celebrating his victory over the Amalekites. In that light, I realized that not only do I set up monuments for myself, but our society is preoccupied with self-monuments. Think about it: Why do people write their names in wet concrete? Why do teenagers who are “in love” carve their names together in trees? Why are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. so popular? Why does every architect dream of designing a New York skyscraper? I could go on and on.
Maybe I am being too philosophical, but I think our fascination with building monuments has something to do with man’s inner desire to last forever. We know we are mortal, but we don’t want to be forgotten after we leave this world. This is not all bad either. I believe that our desire to last forever stems from the fact that we are made in the image of God who is, among many other things, eternal. But in the end, I see two shortcomings in Saul in 1 Sam. 15: First, Saul’s desire to build a monument for himself was based on vanity. You see this by the way Samuel rebukes him in 15:17: “Though you were once little in your own eyes…”—implication being that Saul was once humble but became self-centered. Second, Saul wasn’t building an eternal monument. I challenge anyone to find this monument that Saul set up; you won’t, because it’s long been destroyed. Of course, we know that there is a place where we can build up treasures or monuments, if you will, that will last forever (Matt. 6), but in order to set up a storehouse there, we cannot think vainly of ourselves.
This morning ask yourself, am I building up monuments for myself? If so, how long do you want or think these monuments will last? Are there monuments that you could be building that will last forever? Are you willing to give up vain glory to build up these eternal monuments?
Lord, please give me humility of mind and heart, so that I would think of others over myself. Also, please guard my heart and help me to invest in things that will last forever, namely your kingdom and the souls of men.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 10
Lunch Break Study
Read Phil. 2:3-11
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Questions to Consider
- Based on this passage, how would you define humility?
- How did Christ model humility for us?
- How did God respond?
- We see that humility includes thinking of others more significantly than ourselves and considering other’s needs above our own.
- Christ demonstrated humility by taking the form of man and then letting mankind put him on a cross.
- God lifted Christ up. Now, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess the Lord.
How much did you think of yourself today? Did you put the interests and desires of others above yourself? Did you think about God and did you try to invest in heavenly monuments today?