The AMI QT Devotionals from October 9-15 are provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego. Peter is a graduate of U.C. Riverside and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.). He and his wife Jessica have three very active children: Nathan, Abigail, and Jason.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Building in Vain”
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
Do you know the nickname of the city where you live? Mine is named, “America’s finest city.” If you don’t know your city’s nickname, perhaps you can find it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_city_nicknames_in_the_United_States.
Many cities in the US are given nicknames that reveal their civic identities. These nicknames can sometimes provide a sense of community for its residents as well as a sense of civic pride. I do sense a bit of pride about my city having its nickname. Does your city’s nickname give you a sense of pride?
Well, the ancient people also wanted a city with a proud nickname. They congregated together and said to themselves, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens.” The ancient people actually believed that heavens were not too far above the earth. They believed that if only they could build a tower to the sky, they would be allowed to climb up and be like gods themselves.
The story of the Tower of Babel is unfortunately another story of man’s rebellion against the Creator. The story shows an obvious difference between the human opinion of self-achievement versus God’s viewpoint of such activities. In God’s perspective, all human cooperation when it is fueled by autonomy and directed towards self-interest is shallow and impotent. (Mathews, NAC: Genesis)
That can also be said of our lives. We might choose to live a life of autonomy from our God aimed at promoting our name, but it is precisely this life that comes to a crashing devastation. Jesus once asked: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Is the life you’ve been given one that is lived in autonomy, or is it lived in an on-going dependence on God? Can a person close to you observe your life and know that you live for God or live for yourself?
If you were a city, what would be your nickname?
Prayer: Lord, I depend on Your Spirit to fill me and guide me today. I ask you even for my “daily bread” knowing that You are my Provider. Help me to live a life that glorifies and magnifies Your name more than any other name on earth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 66
Lunch Break Study
Psalm 127:1-2 (NIV)
Unless the LORD builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Questions to Consider
- Think about the phrase “in vain,” which is repeatedly used in these passages. Why does the psalmist come to this conclusion that unless the Lord is involved, your efforts end “in vain”?
- Substitute the word “house” with “family.” In what ways is the Lord building your family? Or substitute the word “city” with “children.” In what ways do you ask the Lord to stand watch over your children?
- All help, all protection, and all blessing come from God; without Him all labor, care, and trouble are vain.
- In providing care for children as parents, it is easy to assume that we know what’s best or that we are in control. While it is important to care and provide for our children, the Lord directs us to teach His commands to our children as the most important work as parents.
What area of your life still remains autonomous from the Lord? Consider how you can yield that area of your life to the Lord.