Today’s AMI QT is provided by Cami King of JCC (Raleigh).
Devotional Thoughts for Today
ETERNAL PURPOSE FOR A FINITE LIFE
Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh. 7 Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. 8 So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.
What if you had one week to live? How would you choose to spend your time? How would you choose to spend your money? What would you want to do? How would this news affect your interactions with the people in your life?
[Take a few minutes to think about your honest answer to these questions.]
I imagine that, like me, you’ve encountered this question in some form before. It’s designed to get us thinking about the things that are really important to us, to take stock of our lives. The questioner usually hopes to get us to reevaluate what we’re doing with our time and our treasures, the ways we’re wasting it or mishandling them, all toward the end of living a happier and more fulfilling life. In answering, we become aware of the ways we fail to live our best life (whatever we imagine that means). The focus in all of this is usually ourselves – what we want out of life, what makes us feel happy, what we think will make us fulfilled. Those things aren’t bad. Actually, I’ve found it’s important for me to take stock of what I’m doing with my life because a lack of intentionality can lead to unfaithfulness. No, those things aren’t bad – they just aren’t ultimate.
The fifth chapter of Genesis chronicles a portion of the genealogical line of first people on earth. One common theme repeated in all these verses is the consequences of humanity’s sin – death. As one commentator put it, “The cursed human race continued to multiply, and human beings continued to die.” Passages like this that draw our attention to the finitude of life serve as their own kind of “what if…” question, reminding us that time is limited. But, instead of turning inward and trying to imagine what things will make us happy in life, may we learn from the mistakes of the first people in the chapters of Genesis we’ve been studying together. Instead of turning to ourselves, may we turn to God, be reminded of God’s purposes for our lives, and choose to live accordingly.
Prayer: God you made me and purposed me according to your divine love and power, creativity and wisdom. Help me today to be aware of the ways you’ve formed me and give me the wisdom to live according to Your design. Make me aware of Your purposes for my life and bring my desires and pursuits into alignment with Your perfect will. In Jesus’ name.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 43
Lunch Break Study
Read Psalm 90:1-12: Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. 3 You turn man back into dust and say, “Return, O children of men.” 4 For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night. 5 You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; in the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. 6 In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; toward evening it fades and withers away. 7 For we have been consumed by Your anger and by Your wrath we have been dismayed. 8 You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence. 9 For all our days have declined in Your fury; we have finished our years like a sigh. 10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away. 11 Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You? 12 So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
Questions to Consider
- What do we learn about God in the first half of this passage?
- We do we learn about humanity from this passage?
- In light of these things, what is the psalmist’s request?
- What would it mean for you to number your days and present to God a heart of wisdom?
- We learn that God is eternal. Not only is God powerful, but God has been from the very first and will be ‘til the very end. Moses tries to convey the nature of a God who is eternal, who exists outside the bounds of time.
- We are not eternal. In fact, our lives are very brief and extremely contingent. Not only this, we learn that humanity is sinful and broken. Our lives our difficult and fleeting (vs. 9) because of our sin, because we choose to do things our way and not God’s.
- Moses, who wrote this psalm, is declaring his trust in the Lord throughout this entire psalm. In verse 12, he makes an important request asking God to teach us to be aware of the brevity of our lives and thus walk in wisdom. When we become aware of our finitude, we can turn to the God who is infinite, and choose to live according to God’s wisdom and not our own. The God who can see all and knows all, the one who made us, knows how to lead us in wise living.
- Spend some time in personal reflection.
In a talk some years ago, author and apologist Ravi Zacharias explained the importance for every believer to know their purpose—and not in a universal or generic way, but in a personal and specific one. We start of course with God’s universal purpose for humanity (worship), then move to God’s stated purpose for the Church (witness), and close in on God’s specific purpose for own life. According to Zacharias, this is something each person should clearly and succinctly articulate for themselves (in response, of course, to the leading of the Holy Spirit through Scripture and Godly counsel). This then directs how we choose to leverage our lives. And if we do this right, it will positively influence our personal impact in the world (or God’s impact through us, rather). Zacharias articulated his purpose as follows: “My goal is to satisfy the hunger and longing for those who are seeing the truth.” For those who know Zacharias, it’s easy to see how this stated goal has influenced his impact on the world.
Spend some time thinking about your own purpose. In light of God’s direction in your life thus far – who you are, where you are, what you have, experiences had, opportunities give, access granted, etc. – how would you articulate your life purpose and goal? Spend some time reflecting on this with the Lord. Offer your life anew to God. Enjoy a time of dreaming big dreams with God!