The AMI QT Devotionals from October 30-November 5 are provided by Emerson Lin. Emerson, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, serves as staff at Kairos Christian Church, while studying at Talbot School of Theology. He is married to Annie. They will soon leave for E. Asia to serve as missionaries.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Love is spelled O-B-E-Y”
On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, 25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen; 26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day. 27 And every male in Abraham’s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.
Arabian horses go through rigorous training in the deserts of the Middle East where the trainers require absolute obedience from the horses. As a final test of their obedience, the trainers deprive the horses of water for a week; afterwards, the trainers release the horses so they can run toward the water. However, as they get close to the trough, the trainers blow their whistle. The horses who have been completely trained and who have learned perfect obedience stop in their tracks; in fact, they turn around and gallop to their trainer. Then they stand in front of the trainer, desperate for a drink of water. Once the trainers blow their whistles again, the horses return to the water to drink.
In this passage, God calls Abraham to circumcise every male in his camp. As we learned in a previous devotion, circumcision was a sign of God’s faithfulness to the Abraham’s descendants. While circumcision is a painful process, we see that Abraham was not slow to respond to the Lord. The Scripture uses the phrase “On that very day” twice, to capture Abraham’s radical obedience to God. Through this act of quick obedience, Abraham displays his love for the Lord.
We live in a world where information is power. A person is deemed powerful and intelligent by the amount of information they know. In the same way, we may equate those who have great Bible knowledge as deeply loving the Lord.
However, Scripture defines loving the Lord in a different way. It is not defined by how much a person knows, but by a person’s active obedience to the Word of God. The Bible often correlates loving the Lord with obeying His commandments. In John 14:15, Jesus says to His disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Let’s become believers who quickly obey God’s commands instead of passively waiting. It is through our obedience that we love the Lord!
What are some areas of your life that you can better follow the Lord? What prevents you from actively obeying His commandments? Take some time to reflect on these questions.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for choosing me first before I chose You. As Scriptures equates love with obedience, I want to follow You whole-heartedly. If there is any area of my life that lacks obedience, please help me to change. I want to love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 26
Lunch Break Study
Read Psalm 1: Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
Questions to Consider
- What is required of living the blessed life? (v.1)
- What imagery does the author use to describe a person who meditates on the Word of God? (v.3)
- What imagery does the author use to describe wicked men? (v.4)
- Living a blessed life requires a person to avoid walking in sin as well as delighting in God’s word.
- The author uses an imagery of a tree planted by a stream of water. To make this imagery more powerful, imagine a single, lush tree in the middle of a barren desert. In order to thrive, that tree must be connected to a water source. That is what it’s like to be connected to the Word of God.
- Wicked men are described as chaff that are blown in the wind. In ancient times, farmers would separate chaff and seed by tossing both in the air. Because chaff is light, it is easily blown away by the wind.
“Our obedience is God’s pleasure when it proves that God is our treasure. This is good news, because it means very simply that the command to obey is the command to be happy in God. The commandments of God are only as hard to obey as the promises of God are hard to believe. The Word of God is only as hard to obey as the beauty of God is hard to cherish.”
- John Piper