Editor’s Note: The AMI Quiet Times for March 19-27 are provided by Cami King of Journey Community Church.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Samuel 31:8-13:
8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11 But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.
We find ourselves at the end of our journey with King Saul. It is certainly a tragic end and one marked by missed opportunity. Think about it: Saul was a man anointed with the Spirit of the living God to lead His people, a people given a special relationship with the God himself. Think of the amazing ways God could have worked through Saul in this position. More so than the tragic manner in which Saul died, I’m reminded again of the tragic manner in which he lived, squandering away such an amazing opportunity.
When God called David to become king in place of Saul, he described David as “a man after my own heart.” This is usually understood to mean a man who was like the Lord (in the same way we’d use the phrase “like father like son”). There is certainly validity in this interpretation. But another way to understand this phrase is as “a man after my own choosing” – in other words, someone whom God selected, God’s best for His people, not his people’s best for themselves. It is common knowledge that Saul was named King as a concession to the people of God who insisted on having a King (and prematurely so). And the legacy of Saul is what their own efforts accomplished for them.
I wonder how often we miss God’s best because we’re in too much of a rush to secure what we think is best for ourselves. And we do all of this forgetting that what God can do is far greater than what we could ever imagine. As Paul said, God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” (Eph. 3:20). If God’s best is far better than our wildest dreams (and I have some pretty lofty dreams), doesn’t it seem better to wait out for His best… even if we’re not exactly sure what it is just yet? I sure think so!
Gracious Father, help me to wait for Your best in my life. All my needs and desires will be satisfied in the very best way by You. Heal my short-sightedness and give me Your perspective for my life through Your Word and my daily communion with You.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 29
Lunch Break Study
Read Galatians 6:7-10.
7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Questions to Consider
- In what ways might we mock God in our actions?
- What are some ways you find yourself sowing to the flesh? What are some ways you can sow to the Spirit?
- How does verse 9 encourage you? How does verse 10 challenge you?
- In the context of this passage, if we live for the world and for our flesh but expect that as “Christians” we will reap something other than corruption, we deceive ourselves and mock the Lord. Each of us may do this in varying ways.
- We sow to our flesh when we follow our own way. This can manifest in countless ways in our lives. We sow to the Spirit when we submit ourselves to the Lord and follow Him (obeying the things of God).
- Paul expects that we will get tired from sowing to the Spirit, but encourages us to keep at it because it’s well worth it in the end. Doing good to everyone whenever we have opportunity seems like a tall order, but it should challenge us to make the most of every opportunity in our relationships and sow to the Spirit by doing good.
Are you a man or woman after God’s own heart? Can those around you look at God and then at your life and say, “Like father like son/daughter”? Furthermore, what specific ways has God chosen you to do His work (in your family, workplace, church community, etc.)? Spend some time reflecting on these things and ask the Lord to enable you to do good to all as He leads and to make you more like Jesus.