November 10, Friday

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 Trail that Sin Leaves Behind You”

Genesis 19:30-38

Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.” 33 So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 34 The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also. Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.” 35 So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 36 Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38 The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.

Shocking! That’s not an unusual response to the content of the Bible, since the Bible is filled with realistic portrayals of sin and tragedy and failure: Abraham, the father of faith, lies through his teeth. Moses, the deliverer of his people, was a murderer. David, the man after God’s own heart, committed adultery, had the woman’s husband killed, and covered up the whole affair. None of it is softened or rationalized away. We’re just shown the ugly truth about sinful people so that we might see how awful sin is and its consequences.

In this passage, fear is—once again—the driving force in the family of Lot. Fear drives the family to go hiding in the hills. We’re not told exactly what they were afraid of, but it’s likely that they were haunted by the trauma of seeing their city destroyed and their wife-mother turned to salt. Ironically, Lot leaves the place of refuge that he begged God for, to go to the place the angels had originally directed him towards. What happens next is awful: the daughters conspire to get their father drunk, sleep with him, and then their offspring would become enemies of God’s people.

One lesson we learn is that sin always leaves behind it a trail of sadness. We dare not suppose that our sin doesn’t matter—even if nobody sees it. Sin always affects us. It destroys intimacy with God and one another. It leaves us less able to share our selves, more prone to self-indulgence, takes away the motivation to serve, and makes us negligent of what matters most. Have you ever followed behind a car with an exhaust problem? The smell is bad. The smoke is thick. In the wake of that vehicle is literal darkness. These are all signs of an internal problem. What lies in your wake? Is the trail behind you one of sin’s scars or God’s healing? What do these signs say about the condition of your heart?

Prayer: Lord, teach me today to take seriously the problem of sin in my life. Show me its negative consequences and help me to stop running away from You and start running to You instead. Lead me in the way of truth today. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 8


Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 51:1-12: Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does David ask God to do about his sin?
  2. How does David take responsibility for his sin?
  3. What is the basis of David’s requests for God’s mercy?
  4. What sin/s do you need to ask God to forgive? Do it right now.

Notes

  1. Notice David’s audacity to ask that God “blot out my transgressions” (v.1,9); “cleanse me from my sin” (v.2); “wash me whiter than snow” (v.7); and “create in me a clean heart”(v.10). He’s asking for a full forgiveness.
  2. First of all, he acknowledges his sin (v.3). No longer is David trying to hide it, make excuses, or ignore it. He also acknowledges the wickedness of his sin (v.4) and that his sin offends God’s holiness. Again, there’s no bargaining or self-justification. David doesn’t make excuses for his bad behavior. He just admits its ugliness and offense before God.
  3. The wonderful power of this prayer is that it teaches us that the basis of our forgiveness is not performance but grace. This is not a formula for how to feel or what to do to earn forgiveness. This is an appeal to God’s character. David says, “Have mercy on me, according to YOUR unfailing love, according to YOUR abundant mercy” (v.1). He’s not trusting himself; he’s trusting in the character of God. In light of the New Testament, we have an even greater confidence, because now we know that it’s on the basis of Jesus’ performance and His sacrifice for sin on the cross that we have God’s forgiveness.
  4. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

In what areas of your life do you see sin’s consequences? Pray that God would redeem these areas of brokenness and pain.

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