October 3, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotionals for October 2-8 are provided by Doug Tritton. Doug, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently serving as a staff at Symphony Church (Boston) while pursuing a M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary.  He is married to Cindy and they are proud parents of Audrey.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Precious Life”

Genesis 9:4-7

But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. 6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. 7 And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.”

Shortly after I got my driver’s license, when I was in high school, I drove some of my friends to the Poconos Mountains outside of Philadelphia for a snowboard trip. The drive would take about two hours, and so it was my longest drive without my parents in the car with me. Before setting off, the mom of one of my friends said to me, “Be careful; you have precious cargo in the car.” For some reason, this stuck with me. The life of my friend was very precious to her mother, obviously, but really there is something precious about life in general.

God did not have to create life, yet He did. As His creation, God cares for life; so as stewards of creation, God calls us to care for all life as well. This doesn’t mean we need to become vegnoans, since a previous verse says that we may eat of “every moving thing” (see verse 3). Yet, we should be mindful of the environment and our impact on it. To recklessly destroy God’s creation is an offense to God and an offense to the role He gave us as stewards.

And above all, God sees the life of humans as precious. Even before the Ten Commandments were given, God gives a warning against murder, as we see in today’s passage. Ending a human life completely goes against the cultural, creative mandate that God had given to mankind. So, when Jesus says that even getting angry at someone is murder (see Matthew 5:21-22), we should take that very seriously. God calls us to love, but anything other than loving those around us goes against God’s design for us, His design for His creation. Let us be a people of love, a people who uphold God’s design for humanity. Let us love not only one another, but also this world that God has entrusted to us.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for being a creative God. Thank You that You designed this world and us out of love. And may we continue to show that love to one another and to this world. Help us to care for Your creation just as You do. May we not neglect our role as stewards of creation. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 58


Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 5:21-24: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Questions to Consider

  1. How does Jesus amplify the commandment against murder?
  2. What is Jesus’ prescription for anger?
  3. Who in your life do you need to be reconciled to?

Notes

  1. Jesus took a well-known command, “Do not murder,” and made it go deeper. Many people can say to themselves, “I’m a pretty good person since I haven’t murdered anyone.” Yet, Jesus shows us that this commandment goes beyond action; the command cuts to the heart. We commit murder even by getting angry at someone else.
  2. Forgiveness! Though many will read this passage and think it’s about not being angry, it’s actually about forgiveness. Unforgiveness, in a way, is like murder – it tears people apart. God’s design for humanity is love, a love shown through relationship.
  3. Don’t just gloss over this final question. Think deeply and ask God to help you see to whom in your life you need to be reconciled to. Ask God for His help to bring true reconciliation and forgiveness.

Evening Reflection

Before going to sleep tonight, ask God for forgiveness in the ways you’ve damaged His creation – whether through anger, unforgiveness, or even through damage to the rest of God’s creation. Ask God to give you His heart towards all of creation.

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