July 29, Wednesday

Editor’s Note:  AMI devotionals from July 27-29 are provided by Ulysses Wang of TRPC.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

2 Kings 2:15-18

The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16 “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.”  “No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.” 17 But they persisted until he was too embarrassed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. 18 When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”

29Have you ever longed to be one of Jesus’ twelve disciples?  To have walked, talked and eaten with Him?  I am sure that most Christians have, and who could blame them?  The idea of seeing Christ in the flesh, witnessing His miracles, hearing all of His teachings firsthand – these are the things that dreams are made of.  I bet that’s similar to how the “company of the prophets” felt after Elijah was taken up to heaven.  Yes, they recognized that “the Spirit of Elijah [was now] resting on Elisha,” but there was something within them that still longed for Elijah – his ministry, his power, and maybe even just for the man himself.  Therefore they insisted on organizing a search party to recover their spiritual icon.  There efforts, however, would be in vain, as God had another plan – His work would be continued and would lack nothing through Elijah’s successor Elisha.

We have much to learn from this story, for it is our story.  Jesus said in John 16:7, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away.”  How in the world could Jesus’ leaving ever be a good thing?  Because, as He continues on, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”  The Advocate is none other than the Holy Spirit.  If Jesus didn’t leave, the Holy Spirit never would have come, and if the Spirit never came, He could not dwell in the hearts of all believers (1 Cor 3:16; Rom 8:11).  But because He came and dwells in our hearts, God’s ministry to this world continues through us, broken vessels though we are, yet filled with the power of God.  In fact, it was not hyperbole when Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).  Just as Elisha’s ministry did indeed reflect the fullness of Elijah’s, so does ours reflect the power of a Christ-inaugurated kingdom.

Because “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3), we do not need to envy the past, but can be excited about what God will do through us in this generation.  God the Spirit walks and talks with us.  Through communion we enjoy table fellowship with Christ.  We have everything we need.  Let’s do this.

Prayer

God, give me the faith to believe that the story continues with me.  Help me to be more aware of Your presence, with me in the Person of God the Spirit, so that I can believe for great things and seek them out.  Fill me with the power of the Spirit to overcome the temptations that may come my way and to enable me to shine Your light wherever I am.  Amen!

Bible Reading for Today: Jonah 2

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Lunch Break Study

Read Acts 6:8-15:

Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke. 11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” 12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” 15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Questions to Consider

  1. How would you describe the manner in which witnesses against Stephen were produced as well as the nature of the accusations?
  2. How might you have felt or reacted if you were in Stephen’s shoes?
  3. According to v.15, how did Stephen react? What can we learn from him?

Notes

  1. The witnesses were “false” and the accusations egregious distortions of Jesus’ teachings, abused to the benefit of Stephan’s accusers.
  2. A sense of anger, indignation, or injustice?
  3. No matter how we are wronged, no matter the injustice we experience, can we face it with “the face of an angel”? This doesn’t necessarily mean succumbing to whatever evil befalls us, but it does mean approaching every situation with love, forgiveness and blamelessness.

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 Evening Reflection

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” – Psalm 4:8

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