Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from October 12-18 are provided by Cami King of Journey Community Church.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and the prophets of God were with them, supporting them. 3 At the same time Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them and spoke to them thus: “Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?” 4 They also asked them this: “What are the names of the men who are building this building?” 5 But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until the report should reach Darius and then an answer be returned by letter concerning it.
This week we’ve read about the opposition the Jews faced at every step in their efforts to honor God first in the rebuilding of the temple and then in the building of the city walls. Today’s passage takes us back to before the temple was actually completed. The Governor, Tattenai, of the region where Jerusalem was located questioned the Jews on their rebuilding efforts. He wanted to know who gave them permission to rebuild and on whose orders and authorities were they acting. The answer is clear in these verses – God alone had given them the authority and the orders to build His temple and His city. Through His prophets, God called His people to rise up and rebuild what, at that time, lay in desolation.
Today’s passage reminds us of two important things. The first is that as believers, we take our orders from God. Not that we don’t submit to the governing authorities over us (see 1 Peter 2:13-14), but our lives should be guided and directed by the Lord – His will, His efforts, His mission. Too often we settle for orders from lesser authorities. We take our cues from the world when it comes to what kind of life we should have, what kind of work we should do, and how we should spend our time and resources. We allow culture to be our authority, often without even being aware. But as believers, we are called to operate based on a higher authority, and we have to intentionally turn and submit to Him if we desire to do His work.
The second reminder in this passage is that God’s eye is upon His people. When the Israelites were being questioned and when they faced opposition, God was with them and was aware of all their struggles and their needs. And He was not only aware, but He also protected them and aided them in the work He called them to do. When we become God’s possession, we are not only guided through the directives of God, but we are also guarded by His protection and led by His aid into the fullness of what He has for us. In this we should find great encouragement.
Prayer: Almighty God, I submit afresh my life to You this morning, remembering that You alone are Lord. You are the one who guides my life and orders my steps. Help me to submit to You will alone today. May I not be guided simply by the culture around me, but by Your Holy Spirit within me. Thank You for constantly watching over me and aiding me in all You call me to do. May that encourage my heart today. In Jesus’ name.
Bible Reading for Today: Daniel 11
Lunch Break Study
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Questions to Consider:
- Why might the psalmist mention that the Lord is the “maker of heaven and earth” (v. 2) who “does not slumber” in this passage (vv. 3-4)?
- What are some ways that the Lord is our help according to these verses? How does this encourage you today?
- In a time of need, it is important to remember just how powerful God is. He made the heavens and the earth – there is nothing out of His reach, nothing greater than His power. God is the ultimate help and the best possible ally. Not only this, but He is always alert and always aware and always looking out for us. He doesn’t need to close His eyes to rest (and potentially leave us unaided).
- (1) He does not allow our foot to slip – in our pilgrimage through this life, God will keep our feet steady and our way straight; (2) He watches over us – God is intimately involved in the details of our life because He loves us and cares for us; (3) He is our shade at our right hand – He protects us from external dangers by day and by night; (4) He keeps all harm at bay and preserves our life; and (5) He does all these things not only now but forever. Praise be to God!
Psalm 33:18 tells us that, “…the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love…” God’s protection over us and our fear of God go hand in hand. When we revere God for who He is and, in response, surrender our lives and yield ourselves to Him, He becomes our sole protection and aid. In some sense, we get what we hope for (or who we hope in). Are there any areas in your life where you’re forgoing God’s protection and aid because of a refusal to surrender to (or fear) Him? Spend some time being honest with God about those areas, surrendering them to Him and asking the Holy Spirit to help you to truly fear the Lord.