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
The Battle is Fierce, But The Victory Is Sure!
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. 12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life. 15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.
A saying I heard often in my church culture growing up was, “Sometimes you just have to go through!”—meaning, there are times when you have to walk through a tough situation because there is no way around it. You have to go to through the wilderness to get to the Promised Land. It isn’t fun, but it’s a necessary part of the journey. But whenever this saying was offered, there was always an understanding behind it that God is still in control and is working things for good and for His ultimate end.
In today’s passage, we see a scary scene. John gives us a look into the Beast’s (Satan) efforts to thwart the work of the Lord and pursue his own ends (in opposition to the Kingdom of God). It isn’t fun, but it is part of what will come, even as God is working things out for His good purposes. One thing John is told (and that we are told by extension) is that wisdom will be required for God’s people to discern what’s going on in the midst of the Enemy’s schemes (v. 18). That’s an important reminder for us today!
There have been many times throughout the history of God’s work in this world where God’s people had to walk through a dark and confusing time in order to get to the good ends God had in store. All looks lost in the middle, but the end always brings a joy and glory far beyond what could have been imagined. The most notable of these moments, of course, is the cross. Friday night seemed like all was lost (the Enemy himself was even rejoicing), but we know the end of the story. It was just something we had to go through in the war to walk into the victory.
S.M. Lockridge’s Easter sermon is famous for his portrayal of this truth as he recounts the darkness of Friday (the crucifixion) with the hope of Sunday (the resurrection) in view. May this brief excerpt remind us that even when the Enemy is raging war, we know that our victory is sure!
It’s Friday –
He’s hanging on the cross feeling forsaken by his Father.
Left alone and dying.
Can nobody save him?
It’s Friday but Sunday’s comin’.
It’s Friday –
Hope is lost.
Death has won.
Sin has conquered and Satan’s just a laughing’
It’s Friday –
Jesus is buried.
A soldier stands guard and a rock is rolled in its place.
But it’s Friday. It is only Friday.
[AND WE KNOW] Sunday is a comin’!
Prayer: Almighty God, no matter how fierce the battle, help me to remember my victory in You. Help me to stand firm in every battle that comes my way today. Give me wisdom to discern beyond my own understanding. To the glory of Your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Timothy 5