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 Kings 9:3, 6-7a: “I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. . . . But if you or your sons turn away from me . . . and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name.”
Have you ever had the experience of having to reject someone you loved? A friend of mine was once in a relationship with someone she loved very much. They were together for several years and planning to get married when he became mentally ill. It was a kind of paranoia where he was fine with most people but only became extremely suspicious of those who were closest to him, which meant it affected my friend the most. He began to think that she was a spy working for North Korea; things got worse from there, and in the end, she very painfully had to break off her relationship with him, though she still cared for him very much.
Reading about God saying that he would need to reject His people if they turned away from Him, some can misunderstand Him as being fickle or intolerant, while others see it as being a part of the “other side” of God, the “just” (i.e., vs. “loving”) nature of God that we need to accept in order to have a healthy fear of Him and the consequences of our sin. Though the latter is not untrue, our God is not like a two-faced Janus, “just” sometimes and “loving” at others; rather, He is both at the same time.
In verse 3, before He says anything about what Solomon would need to do, God makes a statement of commitment and unilateral promise to associate His Name with the temple forever, saying, “My eyes and my heart will always be there.” This would stay true independent of the choices Solomon would make. So when God later talks about how He would need to reject the temple and His very own people if they rejected Him, we need to remember that when it happened, it would have been a very personal and painful thing for God to do. Because even as He has to reject them, His Name, eyes, and heart are still there with them.
Remember that today, especially if something should happen that may lead to questioning God’s goodness.
Lord, you know what it feels like to have to break a relationship with someone you love. Comfort those who may be going through this very experience today. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 11
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Kings 9:8-9: “And though this temple is now imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 9 “People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD their God . . . that is why the LORD brought all this disaster on them.”
Isaiah 52:14, 53:4-5: “Just as there were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness . . . . 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Questions to Consider
- What parallels are there in these two passages between what Israel would go through under God’s judgment (1 Kings 9:8-9) and what God’s servant would go through (Isaiah 52, 53)?
- What is the difference between Israel and God’s servant (1 Kings 9:9, Isaiah 53:4-5)?
- How does a study of these two passages give us new insight into what it means that God rejected the temple that bore His own Name (1 Kings 9:7a)? What new appreciation of God’s love do we have?
- People would be appalled, seeing their destroyed condition; people would attribute their appalling condition to their being punished by God.
- Israel was being punished for her own sin; God’s servant would bear the punishment on behalf of others’ sin but be misunderstood as if he himself were deserving of the chastisement.
- God’s servant and very Son, Jesus, was the ultimate temple that bore God’s name forever. Jesus took on the rejection that God’s people deserved to reconcile us to God. To save us, God had to reject and break His relationship with someone He loved very much, His very Son.
As we think about how painful broken relationships can be, let it give us a new appreciation of the pain God feels over His broken relationships with us. Let our love for God and desire not to grieve His heart move us to stay right with Him.