January 12, Friday

The AMI QT Devotionals for January 8-14 are provided by Tina Hsu. Tina, a graduate of Biola University and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), currently serves as a staff at the Church of Southland, Anaheim, California.

 

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“What Does It Mean to Live a Blessed Life?”

Genesis 36:1-4

Now these are the records of the generations of Esau (that is, Edom). Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite; also Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, the sister of Nebaioth. Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, and Basemath bore Reuel, and Oholibamah bore Jeush and Jalam and Korah. These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

This past summer, I visited the elementary school in the countryside of Taiwan that my great-grandfather planted. The building is now a cafe restaurant but the owners kept the atmosphere and design to look like a school. I also learned he was a pianist by training, and he planted the school initially to provide music lessons for children. I loved learning about my family history and was so blessed to visit the historic place.

Learning about our own family line can be quite interesting, but learning about another person’s can seem quite irrelevant. Genesis 36 can often be overlooked because the whole chapter is a genealogy of Esau, but this genealogy can actually help us think about the meaning of a blessed life. By just scanning the chapter, you can quickly take notice of Esau’s abundance. From an earthly point of view, his life could be one to envy. Though Esau let go of his birthright and blessing, God still faithfully made him into a nation. Esau had wives, sons, daughters, land, and an abundance of livestock. Esau’s nation, Edom, grew to have chiefs and kings before Israel did. Moreover, it seems like Esau’s family didn’t struggle with barrenness, unlike his brother’s favored wife, Rachel, and the patriarch’s wives, Sarah, and Rebekah. Esau’s wives bore five sons and numerous daughters.

Despite his wealth, Esau can be characterized as having lived for what was good and conveniently available in his own eyes. He traded his birthright for a pot of red stew and married Canaanite women, which caused grief for his parents (Gen. 26:35). In a way, Esau is the image of a natural man, who navigates through life with his own strength, independence and resources, contrary to Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham, who often ran into trouble and lack, and fought to hold onto God’s promise.

Though Esau’s life seemed rather smooth and great, he definitely didn’t experience God’s faithfulness, provision, and mercy like Abraham, Isaac, and Israel did. These men experienced numerous setbacks and delayed fruit, but they are considered more blessed in that they have an abundance of God’s provision in their lives.

In light of today’s passage, ask the Lord this morning about what it looks like for you to live a blessed life in Him, and see if there is any root of envy towards others that is crippling your heart.

Prayer: Dear God, I want to live a blessed and abundant life in Jesus Christ. I confess that I get distracted by other people’s possessions and give little thanks to You for what I do have. Give me the courage to trust in Your unlimited resources and Your wisdom, instead of leaning on my self-sufficiency. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Romans 13


Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 73:1-5, 25-28: Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart! But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pains in their death, and their body is fat. They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like mankind. 25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.

Questions to Consider

  1. Who is the psalmist confessing and realizing?
  2. What realization does the psalmist have at the end?
  3. What does it look like to overcome envy and have God as the strength of your heart?

Notes

  1. The psalmist honestly confesses that even though “God is good” to His people, his heart still became envious of those who are not God’s people because they seem to have greater prosperity and less suffering.
  2. The psalmist realizes that the prosperity of those who do not belong to God does not end in anything eternal. At the end, their soul still perishes. For the people of God, their gain is God and eternity in heaven.
  3. Personal reflection.

Evening Reflection

One of the traits of love is that it does not envy. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” Envy actually prevents us from loving God and loving others. Spend some time in prayer to examine your heart and ask God to help you see if envy is something that is preventing you from loving others from a pure heart.

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