The AMI QT Devotionals from November 20-26 are provided by Pastor Joshua Kim of Church of Southland. Joshua, a graduate of Emory University and Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.), serves as the pastor of Access group (singles). He is married to Christina.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Genesis 21.1-5 (NASB)
Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. 2 So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. 3 Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. 4 Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
After my time in the office, I had a dinner meeting with one of our church members. Thirty minute prior to our meeting, I sent him a text message confirming where we will be meeting. No response. I sent another text message making sure I had the time right. No response. A little confused, I kept waiting at the office. After waiting about 1.5 hours, I received a text message: “I’m so sorry PJosh…”
The nature of the “meet up” has changed ever since we’ve become attached to these things called cellphones. Whereas before you would make plans to meet up with someone at a certain location at a certain time, nowadays all these things can change in a matter of a text message and a few emojis (😱😭💼🌙😴). A promise is not what it used to be.
In today’s passage, we see God’s fulfillment of His promise to Abraham and Sarah through the birth of Isaac. We see how different God’s promises are from our promises. There is a weightiness, a breadth to God’s promises that help us to see how God is at work when we carefully consider the accounts of Scripture.
In these first few verses of chapter 21, the writer goes to great lengths to emphasize how exact God’s fulfillment of His promises truly is:
Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.
The author couldn’t make it any clearer: God’s promises are exact. In this case, it’s not just the promise that Abraham and Sarah will have a son. No, the greater reality is that not only God fulfills His promises, but He does it in an exact way, at an exact time, with exact detail, according to a grander plan that goes beyond us. God’s promises are not wishful thinking; it’s not like our, “Oh, I hope I can make it to my meeting today” kind of things. God’s promises are in perfect alignment to His perfect plan for the world.
For all of us who are waiting upon the Lord, my encouragement is that we would be able to catch how, in the waiting, God is working things towards the fulfillment of His promises. Even in the minutest of details, it is being worked together according to His perfect plan. In the waiting, He has not left you. His promise to you is so much more than just the end result.
Prayer: Father, thank You for being the Grand Orchestrator of all things. Not only are You true to Your promises, You are working in the finest of details that lead me to Your promises. Help me to catch the ways in which You are currently at work in my life even when the things promised may be far away. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 20
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 5.1-5 (ESV): Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Questions to Consider
- According to verses 1-2, what is available to us now? What is to come?
- In considering the progression Paul describes in verses 3-4, how are we to understand our current experiences in light of what is to come?
- As we have reflected on the nature of God’s promises, why might there be a seeming “delay” in God’s fulfillment of His promises to You?
- There are two book ends being presented here. The legal status of being justified before the true Judge because of what Christ has done that is available now, and the hope of the glory that is promised to us, as we are glorified with Christ in the last days.
- For those who are in faith, we stand in this middle space between the now and the not yet. It is easy for us to wonder, especially in times of suffering, why Jesus seems to be delayed in His return or why this hope seems so far away. But what verses 3-4 teaches us is that there are things that are at work in us right now that grows hope, joy, character, endurance… all these things that cause us to become more Christ-like. And this is all part of God’s perfect plan and timing.
- Personal reflection. Consider that this may be the case with other promises God makes in your life. He’s not only concerned about the actual fulfillment of the promises, but He wants to bring you closer to His grand plan for your life.
As you end this day, take a moment to consider the things that cause you to be impatient. What’s at the heart of this impatience? How does this reflect your understanding of God? Does this match the God that is revealed in Scripture who fulfilled His promises to a 100 year old man and a 90 year old woman who were waiting for a son? Spend some time worshiping the God who fulfills His promises.