August 14, Friday

Editor’s Note:  The AMI QT devotionals from Aug. 9-15 are provided by Cami King, a staff at Journey Community Church (Raleigh).

Devotional Thoughts for Today

2 Kings 7:3-8

 

Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why do we sit here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ then the famine is in the city and we will die there; and if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us go over to the camp of the Arameans. If they spare us, we will live; and if they kill us, we will but die.” 5 They arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Arameans; when they came to the outskirts of the camp of the Arameans, behold, there was no one there. 6 For the Lord had caused the army of the Arameans to hear a sound of chariots and a sound of horses, even the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.” 7 Therefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents and their horses and their donkeys, even the camp just as it was, and fled for their life. 8 When these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they entered one tent and ate and drank, and carried from there silver and gold and clothes, and went and hidthem; and they returned and entered another tent and carried from there also, and went and hid them.

14It takes a special kind of person to keep on fighting with his back against a wall. When I stop to reflect on the lives of the younger and the older folks in my life, one of the greatest differences I see between the generations coming after me and those that came before me is a level of stick-to-itiveness that kept the latter in the fight when all the signs pointed to defeat.

For the men in our story today, life had dealt a pretty awful hand. For starters, they were lepers – terminally ill and perpetually unclean. They were also living in what scholars consider to be one of the darkest times in Israel’s history. As we’ve been reading together through Kings, things just aren’t going so well for God’s people. And to top it all off, they were in the middle of a famine. Verse 4 lists the options of these lepers as: (1) stay and die, (2) enter the city and die, (3) go to the enemies camp and likely die, but maybe not (if they show mercy).  Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

But in response to a less than desirable situation they declare, “Why do we sit here until we die?” In other words – they keep at it, keep pushing, keep hoping. And not just in their hearts – they take practical steps of hope in their difficult situation, leaving room for God to move in ways that only He can.

One of the things I find myself fighting against most these days is the tendency to give up when the going gets tough. Too often we get to a place where things are not how we thought they’d be or how we feel they should be, we are miserable and unhappy, and we find ourselves in what we imagine any rational person would describe as a hopeless situation. It is in these moments that many of us (pardon my vernacular) simply punk out on God. We give up and check out. We pout and sulk and rage and complain. We do anything but hope.

Yet these are precisely the places where God does His best work. These are the times when His glory is most clearly displayed in our lives. If we continue to hope and take steps of faith, we create room for God to do the amazing things that far exceed our imagination, as He makes good on His promised faithfulness to us.

Prayer: Lord, help me to press on when the going gets tough. Give me the stamina of heart to continue to hope when all signs point to a hopeless situation. Help me to position myself to see Your glory displayed in my life in ways that far exceed what I could ask, think, or imagine.

Bible Reading for Today: Galatians 5

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Lunch Break Study

Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom [every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.  20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Why is it important that God strengthens us “according to the riches of His glory”?
  2. How might verse 20 be an encouragement to believers in seemingly hopeless situations?
  3. How can we position ourselves to allow God’s glory to shine in us (the church) when it comes to difficult circumstances?

Notes:

  1. The Christian life requires a lot of strength, but it’s not the kind of strength that we can muster up on our own. It is the kind of supernatural strength that flows directly from the storehouses of heaven, from the very being of God Himself.
  2. There is no such thing as a hopeless situation because God can do more than what we might ask or even think. The only place of hopelessness is apart from Him and His work in the world. Furthermore, God’s power is at work within our very being– so we ourselves are stronger and more resilient than we often think. This should bring us great encouragement.
  3. We can position ourselves to display God’s glory in tough times by standing firm with God – keeping hope alive and pressing on in faithful obedience. In so doing, we make ourselves available vessels to the power of the Holy Spirit and become witnesses to his glory displayed in our lives.

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 Evening Reflection

What if the lepers from our passage for this morning had not gone to the enemy’s camp? What if they’d believed their situation was truly hopeless and thrown in the towel and resigned themselves to just sit there until death came? They would have missed the salvation of the Lord – not only for themselves but also for their entire nation. What are the seemingly hopeless situations in your life? How are you handling them – with hope or with defeat? Who stands to be blessed and experience God’s glory in your life by your willingness to press on when the going gets tough? Spend some time reflecting on these things. Pray and ask the Lord to give you a heart that truly (and practically) hopes in Him – regardless of the circumstance.

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