Editor’s Note: This week, we take a brief break from the study of 2 Samuel. AMI Quiet Times from May 19-22 are written by Jabez Yeo of TRPC, New York. (The Lunch Break study is prepared by Pastor Ryun.)
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Ps. 16:11-11: Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” 3 I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” 4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. 5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay. 11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Changes in our circumstances can often steal our joy. One personal example: I moved to New York City last summer because of work, not necessarily by choice. I was comfortable in my previous city and the sudden change threw off the rhythm I was accustomed to. Thus, I internally complained about whatever I disliked; fixing my eyes on perceived shortcomings instead of on Christ. Needless to say, joy was hard to come by as a result.
In Psalm 16, King David outlines why we can have joy no matter the circumstance. One particular reason is God’s presence. When we turn our ears to God and willingly listen to Him, He will counsel and instruct us, even during unexpected times (v.7). Similarly, when we turn our eyes to God, the author and perfector of our faith (Heb. 12:2), we know that we will not be shaken (v.8). Are we turning our ears and eyes to God today? Even if our circumstances are less than ideal?
Another reason why joy can be our reality is not only God’s presence, but His unwillingness to abandon us. Despite living before Jesus’ time, David rejoiced (v.9) because he knew that God would not abandon him to the realm of the dead (v.10). How much more joyful should we be, knowing fully the privileges of being God’s children. How much more should we rejoice, knowing that nothing will ever separate us from God’s love in Christ! (Rom 8:39).
Lastly, we can have joy because God has made known to us the path of life (v.11). He has not left us alone to fend for ourselves but has provided His Word as the lamp to our feet and the light to our path (Psalm 119:105). And ultimately, we know that Christ will bring about eternal pleasures (v.11), making all things new through His return (Rev 21:5).
Truly, the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Rom. 8:18). Let’s come before the Lord and ask that His joy may be our strength today (Neh. 8:10).
Lord Jesus, You know the circumstance that I am in. Help me to find joy in You in this present situation. Give me strength to turn my ears and eyes to You—even when I don’t want to. Help me remember that You will not abandon me, and that You have made known to me the path of life. May Your joy be my strength from this day forward. In Your Name I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 24
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Cor. 10:12: We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
Gal. 5:26: Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
1 Thess. 5:18: Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Questions to Consider
- What is one thing that we do that can easily diminish our joy and happiness? Why is this not a wise thing to do?
- What is one practical way to regain joy, especially when we are prone to complaining about our life?
- What are you going through right now that is robbing you of your joy in the Lord? Perhaps recognizing the culprit is the first step toward its recovery.
- Even in Paul’s days, people compared themselves with others to feel better about themselves. Today, we do the same by comparing our income, educational status, and/or the value of our house with those around us. This isn’t very wise because there is bound to be someone who has more than you, which then leads to discontentment and lack of joy.
- Instead of looking at all the things that we don’t have and then be discontent, we should focus on the things we do have from God, while remembering that the bad things that have happened here and there could easily have been infinitely more worse, thanks to God’s grace. Such a thankful heart is pivotal to attaining and maintaining a joyous heart.
- Personal response.
On a typical day, we go through many emotions, some happy, some sad and frustrating. How was your day today? Or rather, how do you respond to your day? What do you need to ask the Lord in order to have a more joyous disposition? Ask Him for the right motivation and strength to do better tomorrow.