Editor’s Note: Today’s QT is written by RCC intern pastor Andrew Kim.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Samuel 22: 6-8:
6 Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.”
“You don’t know what I’m going through… You don’t understand.” I’ve heard those words come out of my mouth and that of others countless times. It seems to be the go-to answer when we, while going through rough and confusing times, don’t want to heed the advice or warnings of those around us unless they are sympathetic to our cause. This frustrating syndrome is aptly referred to as victim mentality.
I still remember having to make a significant personal decision to leave my previous job to a new one; the entire process was very laboring at the least. People gave me advice, but it only seemed to go so far. It felt like no one understood me or knew what I was going through; thus, rather than accepting their help, I found myself becoming defensive.
In today’s text, it appears that King Saul went through the same except his condition, in time, became very toxic. He once had an entire kingdom under his rule; now he couldn’t even rule over his own sanity. He lost control of the people near and far, but more importantly his own mind. Rather than listening to God and properly addressing his lack of trust in Him, he victimized himself to the detriment of everyone around him. Even though David never mentioned nor tried taking the throne, Saul couldn’t help but feel jealous and paranoid. In reality, no one was against him, except himself. He had lost control to the point of even killing God’s priests.
Do you feel like no one understands you? Do you feel that no words can actually give you peace? We can learn from Saul’s account that such sentiment, when left to fester, only leave us feeling further alienated. It may, then, lead to making rash decisions that hurt both you and others around you. That is when we need to look to Christ who empathizes with our weaknesses and calls us to approach Him with confidence (Heb. 4:14-5). Let us remind ourselves that Christ is not only with us, but also for us.
Lord, help me to remember the cross and that you were the ultimate victim for my sins. Your promise to never leave me nor forsake me still stands today. I know that in everything either good or bad, you are working in me even when I cannot see it, for you are always with me. Jesus, help me not to victimize myself but constantly turn to you.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 19
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 8:31-39 (ESV):
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Questions to Consider
- Paul asks, “Who is to condemn?” How can we overcome our victim mentality?
- Paul asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” What are some things in our lives that can separate us from Christ?
- What assurance can we take from this passage?
- Paul asks a rhetorical question implying that nothing in this world can condemn us. Christ became the ultimate victim by taking our sins upon the cross on our behalf so that rather than being condemned, we are now saved. Actually, before God we were never victims but transgressors. Now, having been forgiven by God in Christ, we are more than conquerors, including over our erroneous victim mentality.
- Paul provides a list of things as a warning that will distract us from the inseparable love of Christ. Consider how these items can be relatable in your life (i.e. tribulations can represent hardships or struggles that you may be going through).
- There is nothing in this world that can separate us from His love—not physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental. He continually intercedes for us (v. 34) in our weaknesses.
Take a moment to reflect on your relationship with Christ. What are the areas, times, situations, or even relationships that keep you from His love? How have you felt victimized and then let that spiral into a mess like Saul? Ask God to open your eyes to see His inseparable love and the people whom He has placed in your life to release you.