November 29, Wednesday

The AMI QT Devotionals for November 27 to December 3 are written by David Son, who serves as the college pastor at Symphony Church in Boston. David, a graduate of UC Berkeley (B.S.) and Gordon-Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Grace, who teaches at a public school.

 

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Faith for the Next Generation”

Genesis 23:17-20

So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, was made over to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, before all who went in at the gate of his city. After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. The field and the cave that is in it were made over to Abraham as property for a burying place by the Hittites.

Vincent van Gogh is one of the most influential painters in the Western history of art. But during his life, he was never a successful artist and never made it big. His paintings were never highly regarded. He struggled with depression and psychosis. In fact, most people thought of Van Gogh as a miserable failure. It was only until after his tragic death that people began to take note of his mastery in painting. Generations later, Van Gogh’s masterpieces have become some of the most iconic and inspiring works known to man. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of Van Gogh’s life was that he had no idea of the impact he would have on future generations to come.

At first glance, one might make the mistake of likening Abraham’s life to that of Van Gogh’s. After all, Abraham didn’t live the most glamorous life: He lived as a sojourner, a foreigner in the land of Canaan. Furthermore, although he was promised descendants as numerous as the stars, he only really had one heir (Isaac). And although God had promised him a land with vast borders, this little plot of land, the field of Machpelah, was all that he had to his name. In fact, the only manifestations of God’s promises that Abraham ever got to see were his son (Isaac) and this field of Machpelah, where Sarah was buried. You might be thinking, “Abraham gave up everything, and left his home in Ur to end up with only that?!” Yes, but here is where Abraham was completely different from Mr. Van Gogh: Abraham’s faith gave him a vision for the future generations. Regardless of his accomplishments (or lack thereof), Abraham knew that none of his sacrifice or obedience would go to waste because God’s plan was bigger than himself. Abraham wasn’t a failure for not realizing God’s promises in his lifetime; Abraham became the father of faith, because he lived for the next generation.

Are you living for the next generation? Or are you defining the successfulness of God’s plan for you by looking only at your own accomplishments. Spend some time today asking God how He might be using you to build up the next generation, in faith.

Prayer: God, You are a God who is faithful from generation to generation. Help us to have faith beyond ourselves. Help us to walk in obedience, even if it may mean that we don’t get to see the fruit of it immediately, or ever. We believe that You are a sovereign God and we trust in You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 30


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Chronicles 22:6-19: Then he called for Solomon his son and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.’ “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as he has spoken concerning you. Only, may the Lord grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the Lord commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed. With great pains I have provided for the house of the Lord 100,000 talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone, too, I have provided. To these you must add. You have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, and all kinds of craftsmen without number, skilled in working gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Arise and work! The Lord be with you!”

David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, “Is not the Lord your God with you? And has he not given you peace on every side? For he has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the Lord and his people. Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God. Arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God may be brought into a house built for the name of the Lord.”

Questions to Consider

  1. What task is King David handing off to his son, Solomon?
  2. In what ways did David empower the next generation to accomplish this task?
  3. What can we learn from David’s example in this passage?

Notes

  1. It had been David’s personal desire to build a magnificent temple for God. But God indicated that David had shed too much blood, and therefore, the task would be given to David’s son, Solomon. In this passage, David is imparting this task onto his son.
  2. David is very intentional about setting Solomon up for success. He sets aside gold, silver, bronze, iron, timber, and stone. He rallies workmen and leaders and commands them to help his son, Solomon. He encourages them in the Lord, reminding them that God was with them. And finally, he gives them clear instructions to help them begin this task.
  3. David never got to see his dream come true. He never got to see the completion of this glorious temple. Yet, he didn’t despair; he didn’t consider himself a failure. He knew that he was called to be faithful in setting up the next generation for success. Although David had many accomplishments of his own during his lifetime. David’s faith also empowered him to finish strong, doing everything he possibly could to raise up the next generation. In what ways are you raising up those who are younger than you?

Evening Reflection

“The true meaning of life is to plant tree under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” – Nelson Henderson.

I don’t know if Mr. Henderson knew the Lord, but in some ways his quote captures a key aspect of what it means to be a servant of God. When we look at Scripture, many of the great men and women of faith never saw the complete fruition of the promises that God had for them. Abraham only had one child and a small piece of land, David never got to see the Temple of Jerusalem, Moses never entered the Promised Land. Yet each of them lived a fulfilled life because they knew that what they had accomplished was in God’s hands.

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