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
“The God of Promise”
Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me stink to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.”
Hagiography is a form of biography that exaggerates the greatness of its subject. Ordinary people become saints, and saints become models of perfection. If someone wrote a hagiography about me, I would be 7 feet tall with the courage of Nelson Mandela and the compassion of Mother Theresa (i.e. I would not be myself).
The Bible has no room for hagiography. Jacob is now Israel. He is a changed man. But he is still a sinful man. His daughter has been raped. His sons have slaughtered and ransacked a city. And all he can think of is himself.
Jacob declares that Simeon and Levi have brought trouble “on me” and they made “me stink to the inhabitants of the land.” Jacob laments, “My numbers are few” and if they “attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.” Jacob’s first concern is not love or justice but his own survival.
Jacob is not a psychopath. He truly does know God. But he is like any of us, both a sinner and a saint. Thankfully, God’s blessing does not depend on the faithfulness or holiness of unstable men but on His promise. Not because of Jacob but despite of him, Israel would become a great nation. The Savior of the world would come through his line to bring blessing to all the families of the earth. The number of Israel’s true children would be as great as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashore.
Prayer Father, thank You that I am not the person I used to be. And thank You that there is still as great of grace for me today as there was the first day I met You. Please make me more and more like You. But as I struggle forward, give me faith to trust in Your goodness, Your works, and Your promises not my own. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 8