May 15, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from May 15-21 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang, who heads Symphony Church in Boston.  Barry, a graduate of Stanford University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Sunny (an amazing worship leader, chef and math wizard).  They are the proud parents of Caleb and Micah.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

“Divine Jealousy”

2 Corinthians 11:1-4

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

Early in our marriage, Sunny would sometimes forget to wear her wedding ring.  One time, she was in a grocery store shopping for groceries, when a good looking man approached her saying, “Excuse me, you look like you know how to cook.”  She realized that this was a very sweet but clumsy pick-up line.  As she told me this story afterwards, we laughed about the incident.  I could laugh because Sunny had given me little reason to actually be jealous.  I also sternly told her to wear her wedding ring from that time on!

On the other hand, the Corinthian church was driving Paul crazy.  Paul was the planter of the church in Corinth (see Acts 18).  He was not making an idle boast when he wrote that he “betrothed [them] to one husband.”  His labor led to their relationship with Christ, and now he was horrified to see that they were being led astray, seduced by “super-apostles” (v.5) and “false apostles” (v.13). He calls this emotion a “divine jealousy.”  Paul wasn’t jealous because he was being possessive, but because of his great love for the church in Corinth and his great love for God.

And yet, as much angst as Paul was feeling, how much more does God hate it when we are seduced away from the true abundant life with Him?  Paul didn’t marry the church, he married the church to God!  We are the bride of Christ.  The flip-side of God’s great love for us is our capacity to bring Him pain when we embark upon a path of destruction.  As we look deeper into the heart of the Bridegroom, let us choose to bring Him joy instead!

Prayer:  Lord, forgive us when we bring great pain to You by turning away from Your love and ways.  Help us to have a sense of Your divine jealousy, that it would change our hearts for You and our hearts for one another.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Deuteronomy 4


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Mark 12:28-31:  And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Questions to Consider

  1. According to Jesus, what is the most important commandment?
  2. Why do you think Jesus gave two commandments when asked what is the most important commandment?
  3. What would it look like in your life to love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with your mind and with all your strength?

Notes

  1. We have probably read about the great commandment many times—love God, love people. Yet, this commandment can feel cold and dry when we do not let our love for God and others flow from the knowledge that we are jealously loved by God.
  2. We call this the great commandment, not the great commandments, because truly, we cannot love God without also loving others, and we cannot love others without loving God. These two things are intimately tied together. Our passage from this morning shows the love Paul had for the Corinthians, a love that flowed from his love for God. Likewise, we are called to have a jealous love for others, just as we have for God. Loving God necessitates loving others.
  3. Basically, everything we do and everything within us should be about loving God— all thoughts, actions, emotions, ideas, plans, hopes, and dreams. All these things should be given as love and devotion to God. Remember, God loves us with all He has—even to the point of death on the cross. And now we love Him because He first loved us with a fierce, jealous love (1 John 4:19).

EVENING REFLECTION

Spend some time this evening reflecting on the reality that God is jealous for you. The entire story of the Bible is about God yearning for us to know Him, to remember Him, and to come to Him. If there’s currently anything standing between you and God, lay it down. Come to Him and let His love bring you peace as you go to sleep tonight.

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