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
Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem. 6 And all who were about them aided them with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with beasts, and with costly wares, besides all that was freely offered. 7 Cyrus the king also brought out the vessels of the house of the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods. 8 Cyrus king of Persia brought these out in the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. 9 And this was the number of them: 30 basins of gold, 1,000 basins of silver, 29 censers, 10 30 bowls of gold, 410 bowls of silver, and 1,000 other vessels; 11 all the vessels of gold and of silver were 5,400. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.
It had been almost 50 years since the exile; enough time for two whole generations to be born in foreign lands; enough time that life within the Babylonian empire was all that many Jews knew about. Cyrus’s proclamation must have come like a bolt of lightning for the Jewish people. Jerusalem? Rebuild the temple? Walk hundreds of miles through possibly dangerous territory? Leave the life that they had built? Understandably, not everyone RSVP-ed.
But some rose up—heads of houses, priests, Levites and others “whose spirits God had stirred up.” Not everyone—but enough. The number that God calls is always enough for the task. And for those called to return, God provided what was necessary to finance the trip to their ancestral home, to rebuild the temple, and to replenish the temple with its implements of worship.
When God calls us to a task, He always provides what is necessary for carrying out that task—whether human resources, money, materials or power. As a church planter, I have seen God provide over and over again the past five years. Has your spirit been stirred by God for some great (or small) endeavor? Trust in God to provide!
Father, I thank you for Your gracious and sovereign provision! I thank You that even beyond people, money or materials, You provide me with salvation and grace. I want to trust that You will always be enough. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Daniel 3
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Kings 4:1-7
Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” 2 And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. 4 Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” 5 So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
Questions to Consider:
- What was the widow’s situation? What options were available to her?
- Why do you think Elisha asked the widow what she had in her house?
- What specific steps of faith were required for the widow to experience God’s provision?
- How much did God provide?
- The widow was in debt and owed her sons as slaves to a creditor. At this point, her only option, other than surrendering her sons, was to ask for help.
- I am sure that the widow did not consider her present resources as sufficient in any way to overcome her circumstances. But Elisha directs her attention to what she does Just as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, God can use what we already have.
- The widow had to show faith in a number of ways: (1) she had to decide to obey Elisha’s instructions; (2) she had to instruct her sons to ask her neighbors for many empty vessels (which must have seemed like a strange and potentially humbling request); and (3) she had to pour out the one jar of oil that she had into another vessel (if this didn’t work, presumably some of the oil would be wasted in the transfer).
- The jar of oil did not stop flowing until the last vessel was filled. God provided in exact proportion to the widow’s lived out faith! This was enough to pay off the widow’s debts and enough to live on afterwards.
How has God provided for you? As we journal, let us gladden our hearts by remembering instances of God’s provision for us.