September 22, Friday

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

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“THE GRIEF OF GOD”

Genesis 5:21-24

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.” (C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed)

After the death of his wife, C.S. Lewis kept a journal chronicling his grief. Those journal entries became a book called A Grief Observed. In this small but impactful volume, readers are granted privileged access to private moments of a faithful saint searching for God in the midst of life’s greatest darkness. In the excerpt above, Lewis describes the experience and sensation of grief in vivid detail. For those of us who’ve faced times of grief, it is not hard to access Lewis’ words.

Take a moment now to remember a time when you experienced grief. How would you describe that experience?

Imagining Lewis’ grief after the death of his wife is not a challenging exercise. What is difficult to imagine (for me at least) is God suffering grief and coping with loss. Yet in Genesis 6, we are told of a time when God experienced deep regret after making humanity because of their wickedness and sin. God grieved. Growing up around the church I’ve heard the phrase, “Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit” (maybe you have too), but seeing God’s grief here in such emotive language is tough.

The sins of humanity—my sins and your sins—utterly break God’s heart. Yet we willingly sin everyday. As people in relationship with God, may we desire to live in a way that delights the heart of God, not break it.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me enough to be brokenhearted over my brokenness. Thank You for caring about the world enough to be grieved over sin. Help me today to be more aware of You, and how the things I do make You feel. Help me to also remember that You didn’t stop at grief, You moved forward to redemption and restoration. May I take hold of that today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 45


Lunch Break Study

Read Genesis 5:21-24: Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”

Ephesians 5:25-31: Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. 26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Questions to Consider:

  1. According to these two passages, what kinds of things grieve God?
  2. As a person who is in a relationship with God, how does being aware of God’s grief over sin affect you?
  3. What are some specific things Paul reminds us to do in Ephesians 5 to keep us from walking in sin? Which things from this list strike you most today as areas where you can walk in greater obedience? (Try to pick one specific area.)

Notes:

  1. Sin grieves the heart of God – evil intent in our hearts and minds and wicked deeds in our daily lives. One important theme in Ephesians 4 is God’s displeasure over our mistreatment of one another. In these verses we are warned not to behave wickedly toward one another and then reminded not to cause God grief.
  2. Spend some time in personal reflection.
  3. Paul tells us (1) stop lying and speak truth, (2) stop sinning in our anger, (3) stop stealing and work and to the community from our work, (4) speak in a manner that is edifying and gives grace to the hearer, (5) get rid of bitterness, (6) get rid of wrath, (7) get rid of anger, (8) get rid of clamoring, (9) don’t slander anyone, (10) get rid of malice, (11) be kind and tender-hearted to others, (12) forgive as we’ve been forgiven.

Evening Reflection

In an article for Christianity today, Pastor Rob Strong reflects the topic, “What brings God joy?”:

“When my wife surprises me with ‘taco night’ at our house, that makes me happy. When I find a few spare dollars in my pocket or time to sit for my favorite movie, that also makes me happy. But joy is different. Joy is deeper than happiness and rises from within the soul rather than from circumstance. It redefines a situation, makes it more meaningful, and you feel it in your bones. When one of my children climbs on my lap and wants to be held, I experience joy. Or when I have a thoughtful conversation with someone who is considering a more meaningful understanding of God, that brings me joy. Or when I can spend time with [my wife] at our favorite restaurant, alone, just connecting. Yes, that brings me incredible joy. Now consider God. What could he possibly want or need that would cause him to pause, take notice, and then smile? What would provoke joy in the Creator’s heart and make him want to shout throughout the heavens?”

The simple answer is you. Among the things that delight the heart of God is His intimacy and fellowship with you. Spend some time alone and connecting with God tonight. This could be through prayer, listening to worship music, reading Scripture, practicing the presence of God, etc. The best way may be to just talk to God about your day, the way you would a friend and enjoy God’s company. Be sure to spend some of the time listening (as God likes to share His heart as well).

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