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
I Sam. 15: 24-31: Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may bow before the Lord.”26 And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 As Samuel turned to go away, Saul seized the skirt of his robe, and it tore. 28 And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29 And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.” 30 Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may bow before the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul bowed before the Lord.
About a month ago, my wife asked me my thoughts on the Brian Williams’ scandal, to which I responded with a blank, inquisitive, and ultimately clueless look. My wife then rebuked me, telling me, “You’ve got to look at more than just sports on the Internet.” She then proceeded to fill me in on the details of how Williams claimed to have been in a helicopter that was shot down in Iraq in 2003, but over ten years later it was reported that he was not on that helicopter. He then claimed to be foggy on the details, and how embarrassing this incident was looking for him.
My response after hearing all of this was something to the effect, “Wow, that is unbelievable, but hey, I’ve been there before.” No, I’ve never been to Iraq or got shot down in a helicopter, but I am ashamed to admit that there have been several times in my life where I have lied to save face. What’s worse, even when everyone knew I was lying, I continued to lie because perpetuating the lie felt less embarrassing than revealing the truth at that moment. For example, has your boss ever asked you to do something, but you totally forgot to do it? Then when she asks if you did it, you respond with a false yes. Then when she proceeds by asking how it went, you perpetuate the lie by just making stuff up. Why did you do this? Because at that moment, the truth now entails not only admitting that you forgot in the first place, but that you just lied to her to save face. (For the record, I never lie to my current boss.)
When I look at Saul in 1 Sam. 15, I see this guy who is so concerned about saving face that he will say and do just about anything. When Samuel asks, “Why didn’t you obey the Lord?” Saul responds, “I have obeyed” (v. 20). But as Samuel rebukes him for not fully obeying (vv. 22-23), Saul says that “he feared the people” (v. 24). Finally, when Samuel proclaims that the Lord will replace him as king (vv. 28-29), Saul seems more concerned that Samuel attend the feast to “honor him before the elders” (v. 30). At this point, Saul seems misguided in his priorities, wouldn’t you say? Instead of being right before the Lord, he wants to look good in front of people.
How about you? Do you ever fear the thoughts and judgments of people more than you fear the Lord? Does that fear cause you to act with less than 100% integrity at times? Today, let’s determine to be people who live in fear of the Lord (not fear of man) and act righteously and blamelessly in what we say and do.
Lord, help me to fear You more than I fear people. Give me integrity of word and deed to speak only truths, even if that means embarrassment to me. Thank you that You are the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:16).
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 11
Lunch Break Study
25Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and give no opportunity to the devil. 28Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Questions to Consider
- Concerning words, what are the things Paul tells us not to do?
- Concerning words, what are the things Paul tells us to do?
- Who are some people you could “build up” (v. 29) with your words or deeds?
- Paul tells us to put away falsehood/lies (4:25), corrupting talk (4:29), and slander (4:31). These are the specific verbal sins, but of course, there is more than just verbal sin mentioned.
- Positive words include, speaking the truth (4:25) and building each other up (4:29). And likewise, there are many positive actions and emotions mentioned.
- Personal application, but please try to think of a specific person.
Where you completely honest and forthright today? On the positive side, did you have an opportunity to build someone up? If so, did you take that opportunity? Has Christ sanctified your pattern of speech, thought, and/or personal integrity in the last few years?