October 5, Monday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals for October 5-11 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang of Symphony Church (Boston).

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Ezra 1:1-4

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: 2 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

6Can God forget His promises?  It must have seemed that way to the people of Judah.

In 587 BC, the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem: They killed the leaders of Judah, plundered the temple before burning it to the ground, destroyed most of the city and its walls, and took the cream of the crop (people-wise) to Babylon.  In one swoop, the Jewish people had lost their homes and the landmarks of their identity—they were displaced, exiled, and broken.  But where was God?  What was He doing?  Surely, this wasn’t how things were supposed to be!

It turns out that God was doing what He said He’d be doing all along.  The prophet Jeremiah had warned that a judgment was coming, but that in seventy years, God would bring his people back to Jerusalem and the temple would be restored (cf. Jer. 25:11; 29:10).  God was doing what He had promised all along!

Our God keeps His promises.  We can easily forget this truth when we are going through our own personal exile or dark night, and the situation seems bleak.  The enemy will often seek to direct our attention to the circumstances rather than to God, whispering, “God has forgotten,” but it is in these times, especially, that we need to hold on to the promises of God.

God is faithful—that’s just who He is.  As Paul reminds us, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself!” (2 Tim 2:13).

Prayer:

Father, help me to remember that You are the God who keeps Your promises.  You will not leave us in exile but will continue to draw us back to You.  Thank you that Your faithfulness isn’t dependent upon my remembering Your promises—You remember them well enough!  In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Daniel 1

QT Page Break3

Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Corinthians 10:6-13

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Who does “they” refer to in verse 6?
  2. Why does Paul list these examples? What are the four examples that Paul cites (verse 7-10)?  Do you recall how God responded to each of these?
  3. How does Paul encourage us? If you are tempted in any of the specific examples of question 2, let us seek God’s way of escape.

Notes:

  1. “They” refers to the people of Israel during the Exodus.
  2. Paul gives us these examples so that we would not “desire evil as they did.” He lists four specific examples of evil: (1) idolatry (v.7); (2) sexual immorality; (3) putting Christ to the test; and (4) grumbling.  In each case, God disciplined His people, but He also provided a way of mercy so that they could continue to journey with Him.
  3. Paul encourages us by reminding us that there is no temptation that we face that others have not faced before us, and most especially, by reminding us that God is faithful! While we can be tempted, God will provide a way of escape for us.  God may discipline us when we succumb to temptation, but He also provides a way of mercy and restoration.

QT Page Break3

Evening Reflection

Jesus is God’s ultimate promised answer to the problem of exile, brokenness and displacement.  On the cross, Jesus took all of our brokenness and restored our relationship with Jesus.  He is faithful, and this faithfulness does not cease just because we can still be tempted today!  Spend some time journaling about examples of God’s faithfulness in your life.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: