November 16, Monday

Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from Nov. 16-22 are provided by Pastor Jason Sato of Over the-Rhine Church (Cincinnati).

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Nehemiah 10:28-29 (ESV)

The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding, [29] join with their brothers, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law that was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord and his rules and his statutes.         

Heart 4Love can be measured a number of ways–the depth of emotion, the extravagance of gifts, or the romantic eloquence of words, to name a few.  But the biblical measure of love is simpler and more meaningful–commitment.

Prior to our passage, the people of God gather to celebrate the completion of the wall of Jerusalem.  Against all odds, the people of God have returned from exile and rebuilt the wall in the midst of poverty and the active opposition of their local enemies.  The rebuilt wall reminds the people of God’s promise to bring restoration and renewal after the humiliating exile.

Also at this time, the people celebrate the Feast of Booths, one of Israel’s annual feasts.  In the Feast of Booths, the people spend a week living in tents and celebrating God’s faithfulness in the wilderness.  While it may seem odd to commemorate the time Israel spent wandering in the desert with no permanent home, the feast reminds the people that God has loved them and provided for them even in the midst of their constant complaining, doubting, and rebellion.  The feast declares the steadfast love and provision of God.

As the people experience and remember the faithful love of God for them, they are moved to love Him in return, to commit themselves to Him anew.  Like the love of God, the love of the people is not flashy but simple: They commit to walk in God’s law and to observe His commandments.  The greatest desire of their hearts is simply to be faithful to the God who has always been faithful to them.

Prayer

Father, there is no love like Yours.  You have seen me at my worst, but You have never left me nor forsaken me.  You have always kept Your promises.  Though You discipline me, You are quick to restore and encourage me.  Give me more of Your Holy Spirit so that I can love You and walk faithfully in Your ways.

 Bible Reading for Today: Malachi 1

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Lunch Break Study

Read Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV):

 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” [6] So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Question to Consider

  1. When we doubt the faithfulness of God, what sorts of idols are we tempted to turn to?
  2. What produces lasting contentedness?
  3. According to v. 6, what does the promise of God in v. 5 produce in us?

Notes

  1. The passage explicitly references money, but we might turn to a variety of idols when we doubt whether God will take care of us.  We may assume power, worldly pleasure, other people, or a good reputation is what really will satisfy and provide for us.
  2. Only the promises of God can produce lasting contentedness because only the promises of God are certain.
  3. The promise of God’s faithfulness produces a confident boldness. The readers of the book of Hebrews faced persecution, yet they could be confident that no man and no circumstance could harm their eternal life and joy.

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Evening Reflection

Take a moment to reflect.  In what areas of your day-to-day life do you see a pattern of consistent faithfulness to the Lord?  In what areas of your day-to-day life do you see your obedience less consistent and more dependent on your mood for the day?  Praise God for the steadfastness He has produced in your life thus far, and pray for the grace and power of the Holy Spirit in areas of weakness.

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