The AMI QT Devotionals for August 14-16 are provided by Joanna Tzen, who graduated from U. Penn and currently works in Philadelphia. Her husband Paul and Joanna attend and serve at Grace Covenant Church.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY
Focusing on the Giver, not the Gifts
One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. “Listen to this dream,” he said. “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!” His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.
Many of us are familiar with the story of Joseph. We know he was his father’s favorite son, was sold into slavery by his brothers, but rose to be a man of power in Egypt. Joseph receives dreams from the Lord in this passage that he would be lifted above his family, clearly showing that he is favored and gifted by the Lord. He shares this with his family without much tact or wisdom, and it’s plain that his character leaves something to be desired.
Have you ever received a dream or a promise from God? Maybe it is the pursuit of a certain career path or getting into a certain school. Maybe it is getting married, having children, or starting a family; maybe it is all of the above. However, when we feel like a dream is delayed, it’s difficult to be faithful in the present and remember the promises of God. That certainly was the case with Abraham, Joseph’s great grandfather, who after waiting ten years for God to make good on His promise to give him a son, came up with his own plan. Pointing to his servant Eliezer, Abraham said to God, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir” (Gn. 15:3). Clearly, the man who will eventually be known as the father of faith had room to grow.
As we consider the story of Joseph over the next couple of days, we’ll see how his character grew in the waiting, marked by many trials and tribulations that no doubt left Joseph disappointed, frustrated and even doubtful. While we may be in our own period of waiting, though not as dramatic as that of Joseph’s, let’s first reflect not upon the promises themselves, but on the God who made them. Thus, in in the process, we can train our eyes to focus on the Giver and not just the things He can give us, which may lead to having too much and disowning God, saying, “Who is the Lord?” (Prov. 30:9). Today, let’s be content, knowing the best of God’s gift has already been granted to us: His Son Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for who You are as a good Father. Knowing this allows me to be faithful in the present and waiting. Thank you that I am given a purpose as a child of God, as was only possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In my current or future seasons of waiting, let me reflect on who You are and Your promises. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Genesis 12:1-3: The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
Questions to Consider
- What is God asking of Abraham? What is His promise?
- Does Abraham heed what God asks in verse 4 and 10 of chapter 12?
- Even though Abraham is lauded as a man of faith later in the Bible, we know he made mistakes. How does that give us hope?
- God is asking Abraham to leave his country and family, and go to the promised land of Canaan. He promises to make Abraham into a great nation and a blessing to others.
- Abraham brings his cousin Lot in verse 4, so he does not heed to leave his family; and he leaves the promised land for Egypt in verse 10, not heeding the Lord’s command to stay in the land.
- We cannot nullify God’s promises through our disobedience. God is patient with us, allowing us to learn to trust Him and obey.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us promises as children of God. You promise that we are co-heirs of Jesus and You will be with us until the end of the age. Remind us that You are true to your word and that You are the Promise Keeper. Amen.