November 19, Thursday

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 12:44-47 (ESV)

On that day men were appointed over the storerooms, the contributions, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them the portions required by the Law for the priests and for the Levites according to the fields of the towns, for Judah rejoiced over the priests and the Levites who ministered. [45] And they performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did the singers and the gatekeepers, according to the command of David and his son Solomon. [46] For long ago in the days of David and Asaph there were directors of the singers, and there were songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. [47] And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah gave the daily portions for the singers and the gatekeepers; and they set apart that which was for the Levites; and the Levites set apart that which was for the sons of Aaron.

19Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of leading several mission teams to places all over the world. I’ve yet to have team members who were not blessed in some way, and more often than not, the brothers and sisters I served with had powerful encounters with God. Yet, what I have noticed is that a remarkable experience does not always lead to actual life transformation.

In today’s passage, the people of God have just experienced something like a corporate revival. God has met them powerfully, and their first order of business is to…assign people to the temple accounting department?

We don’t often associate life transformation with the creation of institutions or the development of disciplines. Isn’t revival more about spontaneity and powerful experiences? Doesn’t structure quench the Holy Spirit? Perhaps, at times it can, but the people are in fact doing one of the most important things they can. Israel is being spiritually renewed and the people’s greatest desire is that this renewal might continue and be passed on to future generations.

Therefore, faithful men are needed to gather the offerings and tithes that the people give and distribute them appropriately to the Levites. If the Levites are not provided for, priests, singers, and gatekeepers may leave their posts to find other work to feed their families, and there would be no one to continue ministering to God and to His people.

What kinds of habits do you need to establish to continue worshiping God? What kinds of disciplines are necessary for you to participate in passing on true worship to future generations?

Prayer

Oh Lord, I desire more than a fleeting spiritual experience! May I dwell in Your house and daily hear Your voice. Lord, open my eyes to see the simple, daily ways I can be faithful and put You first.

 Bible Reading for Today: Malachi 4

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Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 (ESV):

Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. [2] On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.

Question to Consider

  1. Apostle Paul instructs the Corinthian church to set aside an offering regularly on behalf of the Jerusalem church that is enduring a famine. What does regular giving cultivate?
  2. Why might it be best to do the collections prior to Paul’s arrival?
  3. Often we are more aware of the money we give than what we are invited to contribute toward. In this passage, what was the collection for?

Notes

  1. Regular giving cultivates a lifestyle of generosity, self-denial, and sacrificial love.
  2. Such an arrangement may avoid logistical problems, but it also prevents giving out of guilt, or in this case, giving in order to impress the apostle Paul. God desires deliberate, thoughtful giving.
  3. The collection was for the saints in Jerusalem who were in great need. This collection would also free the leaders and apostles in the Jerusalem church from needing to attend to the physical needs of their people so they could continue to minister the Word of God and spread the gospel throughout the earth.

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Evening Reflection

Reflect on your day. Did a lack of planning or setting aside the appropriate resources (time, money, etc.) hinder your ability to worship God today? What kind of planning might help you in the future?

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