The AMI QT Devotionals from December 25-31 are written by Phillip Chen, college pastor at Church of Southland. Philip, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, is currently studying at Talbot School of Theology. He is married to Esther.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Looking into Deep Wounds”
Genesis 32:6-12 (ESV)
And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” 7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, 8 thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.” 9 And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. 11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. 12 But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’”
In today’s passage, we see that Jacob is preparing for his encounter with Esau. Years have passed since their last meeting, and they are entirely different people at this point; but when Jacob hears that Esau is coming with four hundred men, immediately he assumes the worst. I can’t blame Jacob for feeling that way – after all, the last time Jacob had seen Esau, he had stolen his birthright and blessing from Isaac. So Isaac begins to make preparations, in case Esau is coming to attack him. Jacob then prays to God and asks for His protection. Regardless of the fact that God had promised him the same descendants as Abraham, he is insecure about the fact that Esau is about to come and wipe him and his family out. Jacob is a total mess, and I’m sure we would be too if we were in his place.
It’s interesting that some of our deepest insecurities easily override God’s promises in our lives. We may have encountered God in a powerful way and heard from Him directly. We might have even experienced a partial fulfillment of His promise in our lives – yet there are some insecurities that are buried so deep in our lives that they automatically override what God has done as well. The moment those insecurities or past wounds flare up, we forget entirely all that God has spoken into our lives. All of a sudden, we question whether we heard God correctly or whether He even said anything at all.
Our nature is not so different from Jacob’s – he’d been running away and hiding from his brother all these years. We all tend to run away from our previous wounds: sin, brokenness, insecurities, severed relationships. We would prefer to hide rather than address them, but I suppose what happens to Jacob is what ends up happening to all of us. There comes a point when we realize we can’t run or hide anymore, and we need to address our problems head on. When we finally confront them, we realize that doing so can be for our good and for our benefit.
Prayer: Father God, I confess that there are things that I am running away from. There are certain areas of brokenness that I just don’t want to deal with. There are wounds and hurts to which I may have numbed myself. There is so much buried deep within from which I need healing and restoration. May my spirit be open to your healing and your restoring hand upon my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 11
Lunch Break Study
Read John 21:15-19 (ESV): When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Question to Consider
- Why does Jesus ask Simon Peter three times if he loves him?
- Why would Jesus tell Peter how he is going to die?
- What are some things that God is calling you to confront and how does he want you to confront them?
- Jesus is determined to restore Peter. He questions Peter three times just as Peter denied Jesus three times. He questioned whether Peter truly loves Him just as Peter probably questioned in His own heart whether he truly loved Jesus or not. Jesus wants to restore Peter not only personally, but to the ministry that He has called him to do – to feed his sheep, to be a fisher of men.
- Jesus has a customized plan for each one of us. When Peter asks about whether another disciple will be led to the cross (as he eventually would be), Jesus tells him not to worry about it… because Jesus has a custom-tailored discipleship plan for each individual. God knows exactly what we need and it looks different for each person.
- Remember, God has a customized discipleship plan for each one of us. Respond in a way that is personal for you.
What are some things that you might be running away from? It could be something from this past year, or even something that happened in your childhood. What are things that you are so fearful of? What are previous wounds that you are covering up? Bring these things to the Lord – ask Him to give you the strength to find restoration in these things.