September 3, Thursday

Editor’s Note: AMI devotionals from August 31-Sept. 4 are written by Pastor Ryun Chang.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

2 King 15:1-5: In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 4 The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.5 The Lord afflicted the king with leprosy until the day he died, and he lived in a separate house. Jotham the king’s son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.

3While reading about Billy Graham’s grandson, a pastor, who recently resigned from his church after admitting an affair, I was reminded of “The Graham rule” in which the famed evangelist had vowed to never meet, eat, or travel with a woman alone. However, this sensible approach for married men—to avoid a potentially compromising situation—often isn’t so sensible to some women seeking to advance in the Christian ministry, because some men won’t meet with them one-on-one to talk about ministry-related projects and businesses.

So what does this have to do with Azariah? First, doesn’t it seem like this narrative is missing something? Why did God afflict a righteous king with leprosy—the most accursed disease–that led to a lengthy solitary confinement? For that, we need to rely on the Chronicler who noted the following about the king, a.k.a., Uzziah: first, “he sought God” (2 Chron. 27:5); second, “he had become very powerful” because his “well-trained army” (11) defeated all enemy nations; and third, through his innovative economic programs, Judah prospered greatly (9-10). So, what came of this? “After Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall” (16), which reached its apex when he “entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense” (16). By that action alone, Uzziah completely dissed God who allowed no one but the priests to enter the temple. And that’s when “the LORD had afflicted him” (20).

All social movements are a mixed bag: some have produced better results than others but none is beyond reproach—and that certainly includes the Women’s Rights movement. It is indeed a bad idea for married men to meet a woman alone, regardless of the gravity of the matter, for nothing positive will come out of this, eventually. So, I say to the naysayers to back off, but do bring a friend.

Men, if you ignore this warning, as if you think you’re stronger than the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, who fell for a woman journalist interviewing him in his office, or a Mexican friend pastor who impregnated a woman he was counseling also in his office, I would say you are prideful—just like Uzziah was when he entered the temple. And remember: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). Meet, yes—but never alone.

Prayer

Lord, please keep me from a prideful heart so that I won’t act like a fool. Fill me with Your Spirit so that I may overcome alluring temptations. In fact, Lord, may you fill me with wisdom so that I may avoid potentially compromising situations where temptations await. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 11

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Lunch Break Study

Read Numbers 12:1-10: Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. 2 And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. 3 Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. 4 And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” And the three of them came out. 5 And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. 6 And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. 7 Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” 9 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed. 10 When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous.

Eph. 4:15, 25: Rather, speaking the truth in love. . . . Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Question to Consider

  1. What made it easier for Aaron and Miriam to become prideful and speak against Moses?
  2. What are some qualities which Moses possessed that are highly valued by the LORD?
  3. Some may use this event to say that no one should say anything against their spiritual leaders. Then what should we do when we don’t agree with our leaders?

Notes

  1. Remembering that Moses was their younger brother, perhaps they momentarily gave into the thought that they were more mature than he. Of course, his marriage to a Gentile woman, which they thought was a mistake, may have made them feel morally superior over Moses, even though God was silent on this matter.
  2. Meekness, faithfulness and a compassionate heart (as Moses earnestly asked God to heal his sister).
  3. Whether we speak to leaders or those who serve under us about anything, including disagreements, we always put off falsehood (being fair and objective) and speak the truth in love (not to hurt or win but to settle for that which honors God and beneficial for everyone involved).

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 Evening Reflection

Every day we are insulted by someone or we insult others—in varying degrees. So in looking back to today, how did you handle these situations? Did you hurl back when you felt insulted or did you enjoy insulting others? Be silent and ask the Lord to speak to you. Allow the Spirit to cleanse you of any bitterness and resentment. Ask God to give you a better day tomorrow.

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