November 8, Wednesday

The AMI QT Devotionals from November 6-12 are provided by Pastor Paul Liu, who pastors the Grace Covenant Church Singapore. He is a graduate of University of Illinois (BA) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He and his wife Ailsa have three beautiful daughters.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

The Foolishness of Fear

Genesis 19:15-22

15 As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” 18 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. 19 Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die.20 Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” 21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22 Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

As a man, I have to humbly admit that a lot of my own ‘self-talk’ involves these words, ‘Be a man!’ more often than I care to admit. When there’s a decision to be made and I’m feeling torn – ‘Be a man!’ When my feelings are hurt and I’m licking my wounds – ‘Be a man!’ When I have to say something hard but true to someone who I hope doesn’t reject me – ‘Be a man!’ Now, I’m not saying this is only for men. ‘Be a woman!’ is a great line as well! But it does tell us that it takes courage to live with integrity. ‘Be a man’ or ‘Be a woman’ means: Don’t let fear keep you from doing what you know you ought to do. ‘Be a man’ or ‘Be a woman’ means: Don’t put off the necessary for fear of the imaginary. We need courage to live for God – which is what we see in today’s passage.

What’s interesting about this passage is that the urgency with which Lot implores his son-in-laws to flee with him is lost. All of the urgency and all of the initiative is from the two angels of God. They are the ones ‘urging’ Lot to hurry. They are the ones literally grabbing Lot by the hand and dragging him away. They are the ones leading him out of the city to the safety of the hills. Why was Lot dragging his feet? Why was he so slow to save his own life and the lives of his family?

It’s not that Lot rejected the message of the angels. He did accept and believe that God’s judgment was on the way. Yet verse 16 tells us he lingered, and in vv.18-19, he’s bargaining with them because he doesn’t think he can make it to the mountains. What happened to Lot? It could be that he was physically and emotionally exhausted – so the angels cry of ‘Up!’ might really have been ‘Wake up!’ Maybe he had spent hours begging his sons-in-law to come. But more likely, it was because Lot could not bear the thought of leaving the comfortable security he had built for his family in that place. It’s where he had settled down. It’s where his daughters were to be married and start their own families. All of his investments were there. All of his assets were there. What would life look like without all these things?

Fear. Fear made him more concerned about uncertainty than the impending judgment of his town. Fear made his limbs slow to start when fleeing was the only sensible thing. William Thackeray says, ‘Love makes fools of us all’ but actually it’s fear. Don’t let fear keep you from the obedience that will build your life and bless your life!

Prayer: Lord, help me today not to chicken out because of fear. Give me courage to obey You; courage to do what’s right; and courage to serve others. And ultimately, remind me that ‘perfect love drives out fear’ (1 John 4:18). Help me to live in the victory that You won for me Lord Jesus – when you entered the grave and came back in victorious life.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 6


Lunch Break Study

Read Proverbs 3:3-8: Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

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

  1. What attitudes does the Proverbs’ writer recommend we embrace?
  2. What do you think it means to ‘fear the Lord’? How do you do this practically?
  3. Now read Isaiah 40:28-31. How does the fear of God strengthen us?

Note

  1. Steadfast love and faithfulness (v.3); trusting in God (v.5); acknowledging God (v.6); humility (v.7); resisting evil (v.7).
  2. To fear God is to live in light of who He is. To respect Him for His power and authority and grace. Ultimately, to be mindful of who it is that we are following.
  3. Fearing God strengthens us because recognizing God’s strength leads us to consciously and intentionally trust Him more. And those who trust Him ‘renew their strength.’

Evening Reflection

As you reflect on this day, what fears became the drivers of your life? Pray about your fears and ask God to show You how He’s with you as you face your fears. Ask for strength to do what honors God most.

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