The AMI QT Devotionals from January 1-7 are provided by Pastor Jason Sato of OTR in Cincinnati. Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (B.S.) and Westminster Theological Seminary in California (M.Div.), is married to Jessica, and they have three young children: Jonah, Lily, and Ayla (three months old).
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Genesis 33:12–17 (ESV)
Then Esau said, “Let us journey on our way, and I will go ahead of you.”  But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are frail, and that the nursing flocks and herds are a care to me. If they are driven hard for one day, all the flocks will die.  Let my lord pass on ahead of his servant, and I will lead on slowly, at the pace of the livestock that are ahead of me and at the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.”  So Esau said, “Let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.”  So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir.  But Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built himself a house and made booths for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.  And Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, on his way from Paddan-aram, and he camped before the city.  And from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, he bought for a hundred pieces of money the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent.
Picture a scene with me. You are going on vacation with your family to Disneyland. Your children are thrilled. You’ve mapped out which rides to go on and how to spend the day. The day arrives, and everyone gets out of the car and rushes toward the entrance. But while making your way through Downtown Disney (a collection of stores and restaurants outside of Disneyland), you decide that you might as well just stay there. Downtown Disney is exciting enough so why go to the trouble of walking further?
Of course that would be ridiculous. Your family would protest and leave you in Downtown Disney if necessary. Yet so often we find ourselves distracted, lazy, or tempted to settle in our journey of faith. In our passage this morning, Jacob finds himself at this type of crossroads.
Jacob has finally repented and been restored to his brother Esau. In his joy, Esau invites Jacob to come and live with him. But Esau lives in Seir, the country of Edom, outside the Promised Land (Genesis 32:3).
While tempting, Jacob politely declines and respectfully insists that he must part ways with Esau. Certainly Jacob’s children and flocks are frail, and there may be a need for
Esau to leave some of his people to guide Jacob’s family to Seir, but these are not Jacob’s true concerns. Jacob knows that loving his brother Esau is not the same thing as following him away from God’s promise. Instead, Jacob settles in Succoth and buys property in Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan.
To live with Esau and perhaps even renew their relationship may have been tempting for all the right reasons, but Jacob knows that he must follow God first. Maybe this foreshadows Christ’s call for us to follow him even at the cost of leaving behind our family.
May God grant us a deeper and more sacrificial love for our family and friends and the restoration of broken relationships, yet also the conviction and courage to continue to seek God’s face first, and not grow satisfied with the good people and things of this life.
Prayer: Father, thank You for being the God who redeems and restores. May every miracle and blessing increase my love and longing for You.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 2
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 14:16–24 (ESV): But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many.  And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’  But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’  And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’  And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’  So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’
Question to Consider
- Who was invited to the great banquet?
- Why did some say they were unable to attend the banquet?
- Why was the banquet host angry?
- Everyone! Many people were invited and when they would not come, even the poor, crippled, blind and lame were invited as well.
- They were busy with good things – a field, oxen, and a new marriage.
- Verse 18 says that these good things were excuses to not attend the banquet. There was no real desire to be there and enjoy the fellowship and hospitality of the host.
Reflect upon your day. What blessings has God generously given you? What do these blessings say about God (i.e. is he gracious, faithful, etc.)? Take a moment to praise God for His goodness to you.