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
So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
In a Saturday Night Live commercial spoof, a woman discusses taking Chantix to end her smoking addiction. While the benefits of the drug may have helped her to quit smoking, the unintended side effects— which is listed between nausea and her desire to kill her own husband— is rather comical. The spoof seems to be saying, “The goal to quit smoking is met, but at what price?”
Sin is not that different from these drug commercials you see on television. The thirty second commercial spends five seconds telling you what benefit this new wonder drug will have for you, and then the next twenty-five seconds explaining all the adverse side effects—including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, heart attack, and even bugs nesting in your ears. The only difference between these commercials and sin is that sin never tells you what the negative side effects are until after you’ve committed the sin. Then it says, “Oh yeah, here’s the fine print I forgot to tell you about. You got what you wanted, but your life is now going to be miserable. Enjoy!”
At first, things seem to work out just fine for Abram and Sarai. It looked as though everything was going according to plan. Hagar conceived their long-awaited child, and now Sarai and Abram had the baby they were so desperate for. But, as with all sin, there were unexpected, negative consequences. Sarai was not any happier than when she was without a child; having exactly what she thought she wanted did nothing for her—it only brought her even more discontent.
And we see this in the way Sarai despises Hagar. Perhaps Sarai is reminded of the feeling of being “cursed” (not to be able to herself bear a child), or maybe Abram had surprised her with affections for Hagar—as it would not be unimaginable for a father and mother of the same child to share. Whatever may have been the case, things became increasingly difficult in Abram’s household. This didn’t feel like a blessing at all, but more like a curse, as envy, anger and mistreatment was the new norm for Sarai and Abram.
This is what sin does to us. It promises so much, but it never tells us about the problems that is sure to follow. Sin will never make us happy. It will only lead to heartache and disappointment. The momentary pleasure is fleeting, but the assurance of God’s presence is satisfying for all times. Let us strive to be holy and without sin. When we fail, let us trust God to forgive us through His Son Jesus Christ.
Prayer: God, help me to take sin seriously. Help me to hate it and not believe in the promises it makes to me. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 15 (skipped on Monday, resume with Acts 20-21 on Saturday)
Lunch Break Study
Read Isaiah 40:28-31: Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Questions to Consider
- When waiting on the Lord, we may grow weary and be tempted to go our own way. Why does Isaiah insist we remain?
- Compared to an older person, youth is seen as a symbol of strength and virility. When we feel weak and unable, what is a clear way of being replenished?
- What mistakes and sins have you committed because you are not waiting on the Lord?
- The Lord, by the strength of His character, will keep us from growing weary and exhausted. We can trust Him for sustaining strength.
- We are replenished in strength by waiting on the Lord.
- Personal reflection.
We began the day thinking about the deceptive nature of sin: it seems and feels so promising at first, but before we know it we find ourselves in “hell” on earth. There are stages to the progression of sin. James put it like this: When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (1:14-15). Before going to sleep tonight, examine yourself whether you are caught in the web of deception of sin. If so, consider what stage you are in based on James’ word; but, regardless of where you are at, know that the best measure is to turn away from it: consider repenting.