Editor’s Note: The AMI devotionals from July 6-12 are provided by Cami King, who serves on the church staff of JCC, Raleigh.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Kings 13:7-10
The king said to the man of God, “Come home with me for a meal, and I will give you a gift.”8 But the man of God answered the king, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here.9 For I was commanded by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.’” 10 So he took another road and did not return by the way he had come to Bethel.
Yesterday we reflected on those times in life when the instructions of the Lord conflict with our own way of doing things. When we find ourselves at the crossroad of God’s ways and our ways, which road will we choose? For most believers, the answer to that question is fairly easy – God’s way. Even though we don’t always follow right away, most of us know in our hearts that God’s ways are best. With this conviction, we are able to take the right turn at this crucial crossroad and follow the Lord’s ways over and against our own.
Unlike King Jeroboam, the prophet (“the man of God”) in this chapter has chosen to walk in obedience to the Lord. Instead of doing things his own way, he has instead followed God’s instructions (and brought God’s message to the king). But isn’t it true that as we walk in obedience to the Lord, we find temptations luring us to do the very thing about which God commanded us not to do? After his journey to meet the king and a successful delivery of the divine message, I’m sure this prophet was both hungry and thirsty. And he was not only given an opportunity to eat and drink at some random person’s home, but in the royal palace, at the table of the king – a feast of all feasts. But God had given instructions to neither eat nor drink. Although we don’t know exactly why God told him this, commentators point out that if onlookers had seen the prophet eating and drinking with the king, they would have likely seen it as the prophet giving the king his stamp of approval. Regardless of the reason why – the command was clear and the prophet had a choice to make.
These are the moments in life when our trust of the Lord is truly tested. Starting the race well is important and taking that initial step of obedience is crucial, but neither is as important as finishing well. You may have heard it said before that partial obedience is disobedience. On the path of following God, we will have to choose obedience again and again in the same area of our life, and often in the face of continual and escalating opposition.
Prayer: Lord, help me to resist the temptation toward partial obedience. Remind me daily through Your Holy Spirit of the things about which You’ve commanded me and help me to choose again and again to say “yes” to You and to Your ways. Give me eyes to see temptation as it comes and the conviction to be faithful no matter what.
Bible Reading for Today: Hosea 2
Lunch Break Study
Deuteronomy 28:1-2: If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:
Luke 11:27-28: As he [Jesus] said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him,“ Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said,“ Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
1 Corinthians 15:58: Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Questions to Consider:
- Notice the two qualifiers (the adverbs) of the two commands given in Deut. 28:1. Why are these qualifiers important?
- How does Jesus’ words encourage you toward obedience to God?
- What, if any, are the obstacles or temptations threatening to “move you” or making it difficult for you to “stand firm” in obedience to God?
- God didn’t call his people to simply obey and follow, but to do so “fully” and “carefully.” This is important because of our tendency toward partial obedience. Following God takes intentionality and commitment on our part.
- The woman in the crowd was expressing her delight and blessing to have Jesus standing before her and doing miracles (casting out demons in the preceding verses). But Jesus said that those who obey God’s words are far more blessed. We should be encouraged because there is great blessing in the path of obedience!
- It is important that we are aware of the things that threaten our full obedience. Whether they are things within us (wrong desires, lies we’ve believed, etc.) or things outside us (pressures from others, difficult circumstances, etc.), we want be aware and to remind ourselves that our labor is not in vain.
Are there areas in your life where you’ve given way to partial obedience? Did you start out well by making choices to follow God, but now find yourself tempted to compromise? Spend some time offering these areas to the Lord. Reflect on the ways God has already called you to obey in these areas of your life (try to be specific) and recommit to following Him. Remember the Holy Spirit within give us the power to not only say “Yes!” to God once, but to choose daily to walk faithfully in obedience to Him and finish the race well.