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 15:1-5, 9-14
Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam the son of Nebat, Abijam began to reign over Judah. 2 He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 3 And he walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father. 4 Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem, 5 because David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite… 9 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa began to reign over Judah,10 and he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 11 And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as David his father had done. 12 He put away the male cult prostitutes out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13 He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron. 14 But the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true to the Lord all his days.
A local pastor told the following story: Ducking into confession with a turkey under his arms, a man said, “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I stole this turkey to feed my family. Would you take it and settle my guilt?” “Certainly not,” said the priest. “As penance, you must return it to the one from whom you stole it.” “I tried,” the man sobbed, “but he refused. Oh, Father, what should I do?” “If what you say is true, then it is all right for you to keep it for your family.” Thanking the priest, the visitor hurried off. When confession was over, the priest returned to his residence. When he walked into the kitchen, he exclaimed, “Where’s my turkey?!”
In our Scripture passage for today, we see two examples of sons who grew up under wicked fathers. One chose to repeat patterns of wickedness and the other did not – he chose instead to be a reformer and leverage his life to accomplish God’s will instead of his own. When I look at the world around me, I see just how easy it is for us to repeat patterns of sin we grew up seeing. Parents make tons of mistakes and children often learn more from the mistakes than the successes. Even further, the Church in America is dealing with a lot of its mistakes at this point in history. Christianity has a reputation of bigotry when dealing with those who are different and a lack of compassion when dealing with those in need. The far political right certainly gives us a bad rap in these areas. But be it our earthly parents or Christians who’ve gone before us, our passage for today reminds us that we can choose. We can repeat the patterns of sins practiced over us or we can choose another way.
And at the end of the day it comes down to desire. How much do we honestly want to follow in the ways of the Lord? It has been said many times that if someone really wants to sin, he’ll find a way to do it. Like in the illustration above, we can maneuver our way out of doing the right thing when we want to. But I think the opposite is true. If we truly desire to honor the Lord, we will find that God provides ways for us, even as broken people with a tarnished history, to do just that. And like King Asa, if we look far back enough into our history or look hard enough at the world around us, we will find examples of believers to follow who walked in the way of righteousness. But ultimately the choice is ours.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for Your eagerness and willingness to lead me in the way of righteousness. I’ve learned a lot of bad habits from those who’ve gone before me, but my sincere desire is to honor You with my life. Please teach me the way I should go. Help me walk in a manner worthy of the calling of Christ in my life.
Bible Reading for Today: Hosea 8