The AMI QT devotionals from June 26-July 2 are provided by Cami King. Cami, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, recently completed her M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary. She is currently serving as a staff at Journey Community Church in Raleigh.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
God’s Protection of His Possession
Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2 Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.
A couple weeks ago my pastor told a story about his youngest daughter and her new tricycle. She’s only one year old and not very tall or coordinated, so, yes, she can’t actually ride it. But she loves her trike and has, for some reason, become very territorial about it. So much so that she won’t allow anyone to touch it or go near it, even if it’s to help her by pushing her around so she can have the experience of riding it (seeing as she is not tall enough to reach the petals yet). After hearing him talk about this, I decided to test it out one day in their back yard. I tried pushing her when she was on the tricycle (pitifully immobilized) – she made it clear that she did NOT like that one bit. I tried just standing near her while she was on the tricycle – to which she responded with a death glare that screamed, “You better back it up, sister!” It was all quite amusing to me. I was most impressed by how aware she was of the tricycle at all times – even when she was off playing with something else, whenever I got near that tricycle, she somehow knew and bobbled back over, whining and snatching it away. That tricycle is her prized possession; she loves it and is meticulous about it!
While not quite like a territorial toddler, God is obviously meticulous about his precious possessions, namely His people. In today’s short passage, John is told to measure the Temple of God. Whether this refers to a literal Temple and those who worship God at the time of the vision’s fulfillment, or more symbolically represents the Church, the people of God and the place of their worship are measured in John’s vision as a symbol of God’s protection over, approval of, and attentiveness to them. They are His and He knows them, sees them, favors them, and will not allow one inch of them to fall from His view, even in times of hardship. That’s the kind of God we serve and the kind of care and attentiveness He gives to those He calls His own. So, no matter what happens today, rejoice over knowing that we are highly valued by the mighty God of the universe.
Prayer: Almighty God, in all Your power and majesty, You are still mindful of me and all Your people throughout the generations. Not because we deserve it, but because You have chosen to call us Your own. Help me to remember that this is who You are as I go throughout my day today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Zephaniah 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 12:4-6: “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
Questions to Consider
- What does it mean to fear the Lord?
- Verse 7 may seem to contradict verse 5 as Jesus first commands his listeners to fear God and then tells them not to fear. How do Jesus’ words encourage us to approach the Lord?
- What are some things you fear in your life right now? (e.g. people, circumstances, an uncertain future, deferred dreams, etc.) How do Jesus’ words encourage you?
- Fear has three main aspects: awe, reverence, terror. While some people like to only apply one or two of those aspects of the word fear to God, all are likely in view. When we see ourselves next to God, a natural feeling is terror (we are aware of how utterly vulnerable, small, impure, etc. we are in comparison to Him). This is why people often were terrified during encounters with God or heavenly beings. We should also feel reverence (or respect) for God because He is God and we are not. He is the creator and sustainer of all things. He is worthy of our respect. Lastly, we should feel awe towards God. He is utterly lovely and beautiful. Not only this, but the things He does (especially the things He does for us) are awe-inspiring. “Who am I that You are mindful of me…” Psalm 8:4 is the psalmist’s expression of His awe at the ways of God in his own life. To fear the Lord is to recognize who He is and who we are in relationship to Him. When we have a proper view of God, we can’t help but surrender and follow Him in worship and adoration!
- While we tend to fear men – who are only able to harm us in the short-term (and only as far as they are allowed by the Lord), Jesus tells us to instead fear God who is eternally powerful over all people. But just as we gasp at the terror of the thought of fearing God, He reminds us that God loves us and numbers our hairs (He meticulously cares for us). We are precious to Him. The only one to fear has oriented Himself to us in such a way that we are His precious possession! “What shall we say then? If God is for us, who can be against us!?” (Romans 8:31)
- Spend some time in personal reflection.
Charles Spurgeon writes, “Believer, though all things are apparently against thee, rest assured that God has made a reservation on thy behalf; in the roll of thy griefs there is a saving clause. Somehow he will deliver thee, and somewhere he will provide for thee. The quarter from which thy rescue shall arise may be a very unexpected one, but help will assuredly come in thine extremity, and thou shalt magnify the name of the Lord. If men do not feed thee, ravens shall; and if earth yield not wheat, heaven shall drop with manna. Therefore be of good courage, and rest quietly in the Lord. God can make the sun rise in the west if he pleases, and make the source of distress the channel of delight.”
Spend some time talking to God about any concerns you have today remembering that you are His possession and He calls you His own. Surrender any fears to the only One to be feared, knowing that He is attentive and meticulous in His care for you.