December 15, Friday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional is written by Cami King of Journey Community Church.  By the way, this is her 22nd QT blog of the year—Thank you!

 

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“THE INCREDIBLE PROMISES OF AN INCREDIBLE GOD”

Genesis 28:10-15

Meanwhile Jacob left Beer Sheba and set out for Haran. 11 He reached a certain place where he decided to camp because the sun had gone down. He took one of the stones and placed it near his head. Then he fell asleep in that place 12 and had a dream. He saw a stairway erected on the earth with its top reaching to the heavens. The angels of God were going up and coming down it 13 and the Lord stood at its top. He said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of your father Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the ground you are lying on. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west, east, north, and south. All the families of the earth will pronounce blessings on one another using your name and that of your descendants. 15 I am with you! I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you!”

If you rushed through the verses above, take a moment to go back and read them once more (consider reading them aloud). What an amazing promise! We serve an awesome God who makes incredible promises to His people—promises of provision, prosperity, posterity, protection, and presence (His very presence with His people). What more could we ask for?

One commentator explains God’s promise to Jacob in the verses above as follows: “The ladder was a visible symbol of the real and uninterrupted fellowship between God in heaven and His people upon earth. The angels upon it carry up the wants of men to God, and bring down the assistance and protection of God to men. The ladder stood there upon the earth, just where Jacob was lying in solitude, poor, helpless, and forsaken by men. Above in heaven stood Jehovah, and explained in words the symbol which he saw. Proclaiming Himself to Jacob as the God of his fathers, He not only confirmed to him all the promises of the fathers in their fullest extent, but promised him protection on his journey and a safe return to his home. But as the fulfillment of this promise to Jacob was still far off, God added the firm assurance, ‘I will not leave thee till I have done (carried out) what I have told thee.’” (Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament via bible.org)

In some ways, as we will see during our journey together through the Scriptures, Jacob and his immediate descendants tasted fulfillment of this grand promise during their lifetime. But in John 1:51, we learn that the ultimate fulfillment of this promise would come in the person and work of Jesus, when He repaired and restored the relationship between God and humanity once and for all, extending this promise from Jacob and His family to all people’s and all of the world.

Be encouraged today, my sisters and brothers—we serve an incredible God who makes incredible promises. And God is faithful to do what God has said in ways that are exceedingly and abundantly beyond what we are able to ask, think, or imagine.

Prayer: Almighty God of presence and promise, I set aside this moment in my day to acknowledge You and to say thank You. You have made tremendous promises to me, some that seem too good to be true, and You are faithful to fulfill every word. Remind me of those of Your promises that I need to hold on to today. Help me to trust in You with a steadfast heart. Help me to be joyful in hope. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 48


Lunch Break Study

Read Genesis 28:16-22: Then Jacob woke up and thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, but I did not realize it!” 17 He was afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! This is nothing else than the house of God! This is the gate of heaven!” 18 Early in the morning Jacob took the stone he had placed near his head and set it up as a sacred stone. Then he poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, although the former name of the town was Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God is with me and protects me on this journey I am taking and gives me food to eat and clothing to wear, 21 and I return safely to my father’s home, then the Lord will become my God. 22 Then this stone that I have set up as a sacred stone will be the house of God, and I will surely give you back a tenth of everything you give me.”

Questions to Consider:

  1. What does Jacob realize after his encounter with God (see this morning’s passage for reference)? Have you ever come to such a realization?
  2. Are there areas or situations in your life where you don’t perceive God’s presence, nearness, or activity? Pray and ask God to help you see that God is with you.
  3. What does Jacob do after his encounter with God? Why do you think these are important things to do?
  4. God doesn’t always meet us in overt and dramatic ways. But God does meet us in ways that are discernable and gives us promises for our good and God’s glory. What are some of God’s promises that you need to remember today? Spend time searching the Scriptures or recalling from memory some of these promises.

Notes:

  1. Jacob realizes that he was in the presence of God all along even though he didn’t perceive it. Have you ever looked back on a situation and realized God was present with you even though you didn’t perceive it? Spend some time in personal reflection.
  2. Spend some time talking to God about these areas. Jacob was able to declare, even though he was facing a difficult circumstance in his life, that he was standing at the gates of heaven and in the abundance of the presence of God. Ask God to help you see that God is with you.
  3. Jacob worships God where He is, sets up a monument to help Him remember what God has done, and renames the place, in light of what God has done there. Our response to God is as important as any encounter. We can waste an encounter, or we can allow it to lead us to worship. Usually circumstances have to change for us to worship, but God is worthy regardless of the circumstances. We must also find ways to remember how God has been faithful (e.g. journal) so we can return to those things for encouragement along life’s journey. And lastly, we can choose to allow God and how God is moving in our lives to be the most important things about any season. Think about a difficult season in your life: what if instead of it being the year when [fill in the blank with whatever difficult circumstance] happened, it was instead the year when God [fill in the blank with God’s work in spite of, or maybe even though, the circumstances].

Evening Reflection

These all died in faith without receiving the things promised, but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth… 39 And these all were commended for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised. 40 For God had provided something better for us, so that they would be made perfect together with us. (Hebrews 11:13, 39-40)

Advent, the season of about four weeks leading up to Christmas, is a time of preparation. It is a season where the Church remembers in longing and waiting our desperate need for the coming of Christ, because of our brokenness and sin. We remember our former darkness and separation from God. As we’ve reflected on God’s promises today (and as we are currently in the Advent season), it behooves us to also remember that every promise of God uttered in Scripture was followed by a season of waiting—oftentimes very long seasons of waiting—  during which God is at work bringing the promises to pass and God’s people are prepared to receive and enjoy the fulfillment of those promises.  Hebrews 11 (above) contains a long list of people who waited their entire lives to see the fullness of God’s promises come to pass. While hope in God’s promises produces joy, delay in God’s fulfillment can often produce discouragement, weariness, and apathy. But we must not grow weary in hope, because we know that at the right time (Galatians 4:4-5) God will do what has been promised, because God has already demonstrated His faithfulness and trustworthiness.

Are there promises in which you’ve lost hope? Are there areas in your life where you’ve grown weary or discouraged? Offer them to God this evening, asking for a renewed faith and hope.

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