June 23, Tuesday

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 8:30:  “Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place.  Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.”

23The occasion is the celebration of the completion of the temple.  The king offers a prayer of dedication, asking God to hear the prayers to be offered in this place.  What would the contents of these prayers be?  Most of us would assume them to be for some kind of help or blessing, in which case the king’s prayer should have gone something like: “Hear from heaven . . . and when you hear, deliver us,” or, “and when you hear, bless our land.”  But King Solomon’s prayer, “and when you hear, forgive,” assumes that the prayers offered at or toward this temple would be pleas for forgiveness.  Though he does go on to pray for deliverance and blessing, he does so asking God for his mercies in the context of his people turning back to Him (vv. 34-40).  On an occasion meant for joyful celebration, why does he choose to focus on forgiveness, bringing up the inevitability of the people sinning against God (v. 46)?

It has been said that the greatest need of mankind is for forgiveness.  That whatever our felt needs are (i.e., security, love, purpose), in reality, the most pressing problem that a human being needs to solve is his or her need for forgiveness from their Father God.  Simon Wiesenthal, a Jewish holocaust survivor who later became a Nazi hunter, told a story of a dying Nazi guard who, for his atrocities against the Jews, desperately pleaded for forgiveness from him; Wiesenthal walked away.  But this universal need for forgiveness was why Jesus Christ came to the world.  Perhaps Solomon, in his God-given gift of wisdom, understood this; and that is why he made a plea for future forgiveness the cornerstone of his first prayer offered at the temple.  Possibly, the king brought up the people’s sin and need for forgiveness on an otherwise celebratory occasion because he “kn[e]w that nothing good lives in [us], that is, in [our] sinful nature” (Rom. 7:18).

Ask yourself these questions: What is the usual content of my prayer?  Do I tend to avoid the unpleasant topic of sin as I focus on “my needs?”  Do I realize that my greatest need is to be in a right relationship with my Father?

Prayer

Father, I want to be in right relationship with You.  Examine my heart and help me to see in what areas of my life I need to sincerely repent and turn back to You.  May a desire to be right with you be the cornerstone of my prayer today – and when you hear, forgive me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 9

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Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 103:1-5, 8-12, 20-22

1 Praise the Lord, my soul;

    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the Lord, my soul,

    and forget not all his benefits—

3 who forgives all your sins

    and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit

    and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things

    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

    slow to anger, abounding in love.

9 He will not always accuse,

    nor will he harbor his anger forever;

10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve

    or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

    so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,

    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,

    you mighty ones who do his bidding,

    who obey his word.

21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,

    you his servants who do his will.

22 Praise the Lord, all his works

    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is it like to experience God’s forgiveness (vv.1-5)?
  2. What is God’s attitude towards those who fear Him when they sin (vv. 8-12)?
  3. What is the resulting state of our hearts once we have received the forgiveness of God (vv. 20-22)? What encouragement do we have today to approach God and deal with our sin?

Notes

  1. We receive healing; He extricates us from the mess we’ve created in our own lives because of our sins; He grants us the things that truly satisfy us; we are restored.
  2. Sin angers Him, but He is gracious and so willing to forgive and remove our sins from us.
  3. Our hearts are filled with praise.  How great the gift of forgiveness is!  If these are the benefits, then why delay dealing with sin?  Why not confess and repent right away?

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 Evening Reflection

What is the state of my heart?  Is it filled with praise because I have experienced his forgiveness?  Is it at peace because I am right with God?  If not yet, then continue to seek the Lord, being confident that He will hear, and when He hears, He forgives.

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