October 28, Saturday

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 16:5-11

Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.” 6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. 7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. 9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” 11 The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery.

In one of his books, author Gary Smalley says, “If a couple has been married for more than five years, any persistent disharmony in their marriage is usually attributable to the husband’s lack of understanding and applying genuine love.” He adds, “After five years of marriage if a husband has failed to understand or seek help for the major causes of disharmony, either he doesn’t understand what genuine love is, or has chosen to ignore God’s command to shepherd his family wisely.” In other words, initially, the wife can be responding and acting out of the way she was raised, but after some period of time, she is responding to how her husband treats her.

Abram and Sarai have been married a long time by now. After Hagar conceives, Sarai says, “My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The Lord judge between you and me” (Genesis 16:5). She is essentially saying, “Why did you listen to me? Why didn’t you stop me?” In some respects, she is right. Abram should have known better. He is the leader in the home. He is the one who is hearing from God and following him. He knew deep down that God intended to bear a child through Sarai, not Hagar. But he didn’t stop his wife from making a horrible mistake.

This is strangely reminiscent of Adam and Eve: Eve may have eaten of the forbidden fruit first, but Adam was not helplessly standing by, unable to lead Eve. Likewise, Sarai did tempt Abram to this sin, but it was Abram who failed to lead his wife. Both are at fault, of course, but Abram’s failure to lead his wife prove to be disastrous, one in which humanity would have a difficult time recovering from, even now.

When sin comes knocking on our doors, we are capable of not opening that door. The Holy Spirit who lives in us gives us power to overcome sin. We are told by the apostle Paul, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

And when we give into sin—whether it be lust, anger, or greed—we must not blame the tempter or the situation. Rather, we must own up to the sins we commit. We must stop blaming our bosses, our parents, our colleagues, our spouses, our kids, our roommates, and everyone else for the sins that we commit. Let us own up to our failures and turn them into acts of repentance. The Good News of Jesus Christ is that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This is the path of freedom the Lord intends for us.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for your Son’s blood. By His blood, and not by my deeds or misdeeds, I am made righteous this day! Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 20-21

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