Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from June 20 to 26 are provided by Kate Moon who serves in E. Asia.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 King 8:6, 9: “The priests then brought the ark of the LORD’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim . . . There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.”
As the wedding season has come upon us, some of us can find ourselves attending several ceremonies, and though each one will bear the unique mark of that particular couple, it is actually the elements that all weddings have in common that seem to make them special: the moment the father presents the bride to the groom, the making of vows, the declaration before friends and family. The celebration of a covenant. One classic element is the exchanging of rings, a visible symbol of the covenant made between man and wife. Their circular shape, the line without beginning or end, represents the unending devotion of the couple to one another, for a lifetime.
When God made a covenant with his people, the Israelites, he, too, gave them a visible symbol of what their relationship to one another was to be. What was the symbol, and what did it represent? Today’s passage records what happened when Solomon finished the temple and ushered in the presence of God by having the ark of his covenant brought into the inner sanctuary. When describing this moment, the author thought it important to remind us that “there was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets” (9). The ark represented the promise of God’s presence with his people, and at the heart of it was his Word. That the two stone tablets were the only thing inside the ark speaks to how important it was to God that his people keep his Word close to their hearts and honor his commands.
As Christians living under the covenant of grace, we can sometimes not honor God’s Words as much as we should. Our reasons may vary—too hard, too costly or too invasive—but the outcome is the same: we dishonor the God whom we say we love. Thus, God reminded the Israelites who often dishonored him by heeding the empty promises of territorial gods, “Those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed” (1 Sam. 2:30).
I have a challenge for you today. Take your Bible to work or school, and then read a chapter (perhaps during lunch break) whether or not people are looking; then do what it says. Read God’s word and uphold his truth with a life of faith and integrity.
Dear Lord, I am yours and you are mine. I belong to you, bought at such a price. Yet living in your grace, sometimes I forget how important it is to you that I make every effort to honor your commands. Would you forgive me, Lord? And let your word be precious to me once again.
Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 8
Lunch Break Study
Read Exodus 32:19, 34:1: “When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain . . . . The LORD said to Moses, ‘Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.’”
Questions to Consider
- What happened to the first copy of the Ten Commandments Moses received from the Lord? Which means which set of stone tablets was actually in the ark?
- When they thought of the stone tablets in the ark, what did God want his people to remember?
- What do you think is the significance of the fact that the second set was just like the first? What do we need to keep in mind about God’s nature today?
- Moses destroyed them when he saw the people worshipping an idol instead of the One who had really delivered them. In the ark was the second set that God gave Moses, after he forgave the Israelites their sin.
- That they had sinned, that from the beginning, he knew they would need his forgiveness, but also that he was a God who would give them a second chance.
- To show his nature, that though he is a God who forgives and gives second chances, his righteous standards do not change. Not only his merciful grace but also his unchanging standards of righteousness.
How was my attitude towards sin today? Was it casual, or did I have a sincere heart before God to obey his commands? Not out of performance-orientation but out of love, honor and respect for him and the relationship I have with him?