Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from December 26-January 1 are provided by Pastor Joshua Kim of Church of Southland. Joshua, a graduate of Emory University and Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.), serves as the pastor of Access group (singles). He was recently married to Christina.
Devotional Thought for Today
Jude 12-13, 16
These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever… 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
This passage describes the character of these false teachers who have infiltrated the church: “shepherds feeding themselves,” “following their own sinful desires,” and even “showing favoritism to gain advantage”—revealing how they are driven by self-promotion and benefit. Such people lack substance and are useless to the community. They are ungrateful people, grumbling and not content with what they have been given. The church is called to contend on behalf of the faith against such people.
But in reality, this description can sometimes describe us. How many times have we grumbled because we thought that we deserved something we can’t have? How can we have so much yet feel so discontented about what we don’t have? In fact, there is a picture on the internet that comes around every Thanksgiving that reads:
I think what is incredible about the Scripture here is that it does two things with one passage: In one sense, the passage warns us of why these false teachers must be addressed, revealing the true nature of these bad characters, thus helping the church to recognize them for who they truly are. But at the same time, this passage puts our grumbling, our discontentment, our lack of thanksgiving, our using of other people for our own benefit into perspective. It shows us how these things in our hearts reveal the true evil intent of our character.
Yes, we are called to contend for the faith and to guard and fight for the purity of the church. But we also must take the words of Jesus Christ seriously: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8.7)—it is both/and.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for Your word that is indeed sharper than a double-edged sword. We thank You that through the power of the Holy Spirit, You correct our often skewed perspectives, which ultimately shows our wrong view of You. We want to yield to Your truth carefully so that we do not unnecessarily harm others or harm ourselves in the process. Teach us Your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Kings 19
Lunch Break Study
Read Numbers 16:1-11 (This is one of the accounts that Jude refers to in this passage): Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent[a] 2 and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. 3 They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?” 4 When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. 5 Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him. 6 You, Korah, and all your followers are to do this: Take censers 7 and tomorrow put burning coals and incense in them before the Lord. The man the Lord chooses will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!”8 Moses also said to Korah, “Now listen, you Levites! 9 Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? 10 He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. 11 It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?”
Questions to Consider
- Take a moment to summarize what’s going on in the passage. Why was Korah, Dathan, and Abiram so upset with Moses and Aaron?
- What do we learn about the reality of our grumbling and complaining?
- Take a moment to read verses 31-35. How serious does God take this offense? How is God wanting to address your heart at this moment?
- Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rise up with 250 men amongst the people to rebel against Moses and Aaron. Korah grumbles at the fact that Moses is in a position of power over the congregation. Korah, himself being a Levite, had special duties (see v. 9-10) and yet didn’t see how his own calling was special as well.
- In v. 11, we learn that our complaints and grumblings are ultimately directed towards God who is in control of all things.
- Personal response. Note the severity of God’s response to Korah—meaning, God takes our grumbling and complaining very seriously.
As you have reflected on how often we grumble and are discontented, I pray that it has led you to recognize that we are actually directing these complaints against God. Let us be reminded of all the ways that God has provided for us and has orchestrated our life. What are some of these things that you are grateful for? Take a moment to jot down these things, and pray a prayer of thanksgiving over them.