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
Love at First Sight
Genesis 34:1–4 (ESV)
Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the women of the land.  And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her.  And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her.  So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this girl for my wife.”
Love at first sight seems like a dream come true. After seeing any Disney movie such as Snow White, Cinderella, or Aladdin, this kind of magical moment appears to be the key to a life of “Happily Ever After.”
Unfortunately for Jacob’s family, love at first sight led to tragedy after tragedy. After Jacob settles his family in the city of Shechem, his daughter Dinah goes to socialize with the women of the land. Shechem, the prince and namesake of the city, sees Dinah, seizes her, and rapes her. All of this is done out of “love.”
Shechem’s love for Dinah is really nothing other than a love for himself. He loves how she looks to him, he loves the feelings she elicits in him, he loves the happy life he envisions for himself. This kind of “love” centers on the one who loves, rather than the one who is loved. It is a self-seeking, false lust.
Witnessing tragedies like these may tempt us to become cynical about love at first sight, but Jesus shows us that it truly can exist. In Luke 10, Jesus tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan sees a traveler lying naked and half dead on the side of the road, and he gives him his love. He binds his wounds, brings him to an inn, and pays for his care. All of this is done out of a godly love.
Throughout this day, we will meet new people – some outwardly lovable and others not, some that appear personable and others not. May we see each one with the eyes and heart of God, and love them with His love.
Prayer: Father, thank You that You see me as I am and offer me a generous and sacrificial love. My heart is small but I desire to be like You. May I love the strangers in my life and those in need who You send my way today.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 5
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 10:30–35 (ESV): Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.  Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
Question to Consider
- Who failed to love the man going to Jericho?
- What prevented them from loving him?
- What did loving the man cost the Samaritan?
- The robbers, the priest and the Levite failed to love the man.
- The robbers failed to love because of their greed. The priest and the Levite failed to love because it was inconvenient. If the man turned out to be dead, they would become unclean.
- Loving the man cost the Samaritan energy, time, oil and wine, and money.
Reflect upon your day. Did God give you the opportunity to meet anyone new? How were they easy to love? How were they difficult to love? Ask God to continue to grow your love for strangers.