Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from July 11-15 are provided by Tina Hsu, who is currently serving as a preaching-intern in East Asia. Tina is a graduate of Biola University and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for Today
For thus says the Lord, “When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.11 For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.”
In the latest Disney Pixar movie Finding Dory, Dory journeys to find her parents. Due to her memory loss condition as a young fish, she frequently lost sight of her parents and would go off on her own, which is why she became lost and separated from her parents for this long duration. Dory’s search seems like an impossible task given the vast nature of the ocean. Despite her memory loss condition, Dory’s memory of her mom’s favorite item remained: seashells, particularly purple seashells. Swimming towards areas known for seashells became her clue that drew her closer to a reunion with her parents.
In this morning’s passage, God is speaking through the prophet Jeremiah to Judah, the southern tribe of Israel. They had been uprooted from Israel into exile in Babylon, the result of unfaithfulness and turning away from their relationship with God. In Babylon, Judah faces spiritual discouragement and defeat. Though they are God’s chosen people, they neglected the presence and commands of God while living in the Promised Land, and they are now driven away from the blessings of God. Yet, God still draws near to them and comforts them. In exile, God speaks to them and teaches them to remember what He loves: a people who seek Him and pray to Him. He loves a people who seek Him for His sake and for the things on His heart. It is by returning to what God loves that Judah will encounter God’s promise – they will find God again and be brought back to their land where God’s presence and glory dwell.
In our weaknesses, sins, and selfish ambition, we lose our focus and drift far away from God. Is your heart distracted, disillusioned, discouraged, or divided? This morning, remember and return to the place where God loves you to be— the place of prayer and seeking Him. Receive God’s comfort that He will be found by you when you seek Him with all your heart.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You that Your plan for me is that I walk in Your good plans. Help me to remember to seek You earnestly with my whole heart so that I will walk according to Your ways and choose to honor You only. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 105
Lunch Break Study
Read Joel 2:12-14: “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13 and rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. 14 Who knows whether He will not turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him, Even a grain offering and a drink offering For the Lord your God?
Questions to Consider
- What is happening in this passage?
- How does God call His people to respond to Him?
- Knowing God deals with sin because He is a holy God, but He is also gracious, compassionate, and slow to anger, how does His character draw you closer to Him today?
- God is pronouncing the impending judgment that will come upon the people of Judah. God is speaking to the people of Judah before their exile into Babylon. Though judgment is coming, God is urging the people, “Yet even now,” to return to Him.
- God is calling Judah to repent of their sins. Repentance is not a matter of giving or doing something for God. God doesn’t seek after our “garments.” Repentance is a matter of turning our hearts away from sin and towards God.
- Personal Response.
Proverbs 8:17: “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.”
What is one thing you recently diligently searched for? A book, a digital device on sale, a house, relationships? Reflect and ask the Lord to give you a heart that seeks after Him with an even greater diligence.