December 8, Friday

The AMI QT Devotionals from December 4-10 are written by Andy Kim. Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) currently serves as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco. And this past November Andy got married . . . to Jane. Congratulations.

 

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Genesis 26:6-13

So Isaac settled in Gerar. 7 When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. 8 When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife. 9 So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought, ‘Lest I die because of her.’” 10 Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” 11 So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, “Whoever touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.” 12 And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, 13 and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy.

Like father, like son—or in the case of my friend, like father, like daughter. To give context, my friend is a 250-pound man who was known to be like a rock—emotionless and unmovable. That was until his daughter came into the picture and found himself crying. Surprisingly, it was not when she was born, but it was the first time she had done something bad. What made him cry was the fact that he saw his own bad habits in his precious little baby daughter. He couldn’t believe how such an innocent child could follow after his own selfishness.  Even when he was disciplining her, he felt like he was disciplining an innocent baby, a victim of his own selfishness.

Today’s passage shows us another instance of like father, like son. God finally commissions Isaac; and the first thing mentioned about him is his total failure—a  failure familiar to us. In fear for his own life, Isaac gives up his wife to save himself. Even worse, he risked the promised blessing that was supposed to come through her had she been defiled by the Philistines. It was the same selfish and thoughtless heart that Abraham had, but now in his son. But despite Isaac’s selfishness, God still chooses to bless him and remains faithful to the promise made to him. Pastor Jonathan Parnell describes it as the “Providence of God, where He preserves the order of all things and guides them toward His intended end.” In other words, nothing can thwart the fulfillment of God’s purpose in us (Job 42:2).

For many of us it’s difficult to think that despite our failures, God still chooses to work in us. In our performance driven world, a failure either means some sort of punishment or disqualification, because we think God’s blessing is conditional on our performance. However, when my friend witnessed his daughter’s selfishness, it did not change his love or affection for her. He still had to discipline her, but even this was done in love for her betterment. Imagine how much our Father in heaven continues to love and desires to work in us. May we be encouraged this morning that He works relentlessly for the good of those who love Him. Even in His discipline, He does so in love, so that we would ultimately become more like Christ. Take heart, for He will finish the good work that He started in you.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to us. Thank You that there’s nothing we can do to hinder Your plans for us. Help us to remember that You are working for our good and that we can trust in Your providence. Jesus, we thank You for what You did on the cross, for nothing can separate us from the love of the Father.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 40


Lunch Break Study

Read Micah 7:6-9:  For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies are the members of his own household. 7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. 8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. 9 Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD’s wrath, until he pleads my case and upholds my cause. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness.

Questions to Consider

  1. How does Micah respond to the sins of God’s people?
  2. What releases Micah from the bondage of sin?
  3. What can we learn about dealing with sin? How do you usually respond when you have fallen in sin?

Notes

  1. The context of the passage is the people of God have rebelled not only against God, but even against each other (v. 6). First, Micah looks to the Lord and reminds himself that his salvation comes only from the Lord. This gives him the confidence to fight against the enemy’s guilt and shame. Micah puts his hope in the Lord to be delivered from such unrighteousness.
  2. In verse 9, Micah writes, “I will bear the indignation of the Lord”—meaning, there is an acknowledgment of sin against the Lord. However, Micah points out that it is the Lord who pleads our case, and only He is the one to execute judgment. Notice here that God is not only the Judge, but He is also his Advocate. As believers we know this was made possible through Jesus Christ who stands on behalf of us and frees us from all condemnation (Romans 8:34).
  3. Our first response must be to look the Lord, knowing that our salvation was never based on our ability to be righteous. Know that it is God who delivers us from our guilt and shame. Second, let this truth lead us to repentance. Lastly, may we remember that through Christ we are cleansed of all unrighteousness.

Evening Reflection

Spend a few moments meditating on these verses:

I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! – Psalm 57:2-3

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. – Psalm 139:16

The psalmist was convinced that God knew him, every aspect of him—his past, present, and future. May we come to this conclusion for ourselves this evening.

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