October 23, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from October 23-29 are provided by Pastor Charles Choe of Tapestry Church, Los Angeles. Charles, a graduate of UC Riverside and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Grace, and they have three children: Chloe, Noah, and Camden.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Genesis 15:1-6

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

Recently, someone asked me, “Do you like the Gospels or Paul’s epistles more?” Of course, being a pastor, my answer was, “I like them both!” But if I had to choose between the two, although I like the precision of Paul’s propositions, I do love the power of stories in the Gospels. Stories have a way of capturing our imagination, our intuitive way of looking at the world; and that’s what Christianity does for us—it reconfigures our worldview. To live as a Christian means to have transformed perception, until more and more of the story of the Gospel becomes our own.

That’s why I love the book of Genesis. It’s a book of stories. Today, we see Abram, not yet Abraham; he’s not yet the man God wants him to be, but he is becoming one. And as the scene opens, Abram is frustrated; he left his home to follow God because of the promise of becoming a great nation with many sons and daughters (Genesis 12). Abraham believed and heeded God’s call. Now years have passed, and nothing has happened.

That brings us to Genesis 15. Our chapter opens with the words, “Fear not”—which, by the way, is one of the most frequent commands in the Bible, suggesting to us that God knows we are prone to be filled with fear. So He comes to Abram in peace: “Fear not, Abram.” It’s very personal, God calls him by name. “I am your shield, your very great reward.”

God has personally assured him not to fear, yet Abram doesn’t sit quietly; he dares to question God: “What would you give me?” Who talks like this? A child. That’s exactly right. Only a child dares to be so bold. And there is also impatience mingled with boldness that boils into frustration which we see in verse 3: “Behold, you have given me no offspring.” In effect, Abram is saying to God, “You haven’t done what you promised. I’m still childless; where’s this great reward you speak of?”

Now this isn’t what we normally think of when we think of faith. We think of faith as a quiet, passive acceptance. But this is not the faith of Abram. Abram’s faith is more like a hard-fought conviction forged in conversation with God. This is why God doesn’t blast him with, “How dare you question me?” Instead, God calls him outside and tells Abram, “Look towards the heavens and number the stars if you are able, so shall your offspring be.”

I love how God just leads him outside to show him what has always been there— it was there the night before and it’ll be there the next night; and maybe that’s the point, they’ll always be there. It’s as if God was saying, “I am the faithful One. I will deliver on my promise.” Do you have a promise of God that you can claim today? If not, pray and ask God for His blessing over you. If you have one but feel discouraged that it has not come to pass, renew your trust in the faithfulness of God. Don’t place your faith in your own faith, but recognize your faith as the eyes through which you view the character and sufficiency of God Himself.

Prayer: God, help me to see the many ways You are faithful to me today. In every moment of fear, help me to be on my knees so that I can surrender all of my fears and worries to you. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 16


Lunch Break Study

Read Hebrews 6:13-20: For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Questions to Consider

  1. What makes the promises of God a guarantee that it will come to pass?
  2. How are the promises of God anchored into our souls?
  3. How can you drive the promises of God deeper into your soul today?

Notes

  1. Because He swears His promise to Himself, and He is unable to lie.
  2. By the work of Jesus behind the “veil,” the cross.
  3. Personal reflection.

Evening Reflection

“It matters little what form of prayer we adopt or how many words we use. What matters is the faith which lays hold on God, knowing that He knows our needs before we even ask Him. That is what gives Christian prayer its boundless confidence and its joyous certainty.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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