September 21, Thursday

Today’s AMI QT is provided by Cami King of JCC (Raleigh).

Devotional Thoughts for Today

LIFE AMID THE CURSE OF DEATH

Genesis 5:21-24

21  Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah.  22  Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters.  23  So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.  24  Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Unlike the narrative of Cain’s descendants, the story of humanity after Seth tells of a time when people again worshiped God and, as a result, experienced something amazing – life. We don’t learn much about Cain’s family from an historical perspective (we don’t know how long they lived, for example – see Genesis 4). Yet from a literary perspective, what the author chooses to include and chooses to omit is extremely telling. Moses is drawing a contrast between Cain’s descendants, who are barely mentioned, and the descendants of Seth – whose lives are full of many years and many descendants. In other words, the line of Seth is full of life, while the line of Cain is not. Why the difference? “At that time [the time of Seth], people began to worship the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26b)

The shift in humanity’s worship culminates in the life of Enoch who not only worshiped God but also is described as one who “walked with God.” “Walked” is a figure of speech pointing to deep intimacy, fellowship, and obedience. And as a result of walking with God, Enoch was not subject to the curse of the fall – he never died! One commentator explained it well: “Enoch is pictured as one who did not suffer the fate of Adam (‘you shall surely die’) because, unlike the others, he ‘walked with God’… The sense of the author is clear. Enoch is an example of one who found life amid the curse of death [emphasis mine].” In Enoch we see that, “…the pronouncement of death is not the last word that need be said about a person’s life. One can find life if one ‘walks with God.’”

May we choose today to walk with God, in close fellowship through intimacy and obedience, and in so doing may we find life, even in a broken world. While we may not be caught up like Enoch, we will find ourselves caught up in the greatest story ever told. And when our days come to an end, we will take our final breath after having lived life abundantly, just as Jesus promised, knowing that death does not have the final word.

Prayer: Gracious God, help me to walk with You. Teach me what that means in the specifics of my day today. Draw me into deep intimacy with You and give me the courage and trust to obey You. May I experience the life that is found in fellowship with You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 44


Lunch Break Study

John 1:4:  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

John 10:7-18:  So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  8  All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.  9  I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11  “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12  He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  13  He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.  14  I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,  15  even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  16  I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.  17  For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.  18  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

Questions to Consider:

  1. According to these verses (particularly vs. 10), why did Jesus come into the world?
  2. What do you think it means to have abundant life? When you think of God’s reasons for saving you and the purpose he has for your life, do you think of it in these terms (in terms of “abundant life” or “life to the full”)? Explain.
  3. What do we learn about Jesus in these verses? How do these things encourage you to seek intimacy with God?

Notes:

  1. Jesus came into the world so that people would have life to the full measure (or abundantly).
  2. Spend some time in personal reflection. This is not an easy question to answer, but in the simplest of terms, God desires that we have a full and whole life. The best life. Life as God designed it. When many people think of the Christian life, they don’t think of a full and abundant life – they often think of a deprived and difficult life. There are certainly difficulties to the Christian journey, the bible talks about this, but we can’t miss that the gift of God in Christ is abundant life. Those who walk with God through Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit do indeed live life to the full measure.
  3. Jesus is the way we can be saved and find good pasture (or abundant life – peace, joy, wholeness, etc.). He is the one who makes that available to us. He also describes Himself as the Good Shepherd who knows us (isn’t it comforting to be known by God!). He willingly lays down His life so that we can have life. God doesn’t want us miserable – we were already miserable in our sins – God wants us to live life abundantly. All our obedience is toward that end!

Evening Reflection

One of my favorite country worship songs (not that that list is very long), “In the Garden,” recalls time spent in communion with God. The chorus says, “He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.” The beauty of walking with God is knowing that God also walks with us – that even more than we desire to be near to God, God longs to be near to us, to know us and be known by us. And it is in this fellowship with God that we truly find life.

What are some ways you’ve experienced life walking with God? Spend sometime reflecting on those memories. What are some areas in your life where you are not experiencing abundant life? Spend some time offering those areas to the Lord. Ask God to lead you into a greater experience of the abundant life Jesus promised.

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