February 5, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals for February 5-11 are provided by Doug Tritton. Doug, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently serving as a staff at Symphony Church (Boston), while pursuing a M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary.  He is married to Cindy and they are proud parents of Audrey.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

The Famine was Severe

Genesis 43:1-2

Now the famine was severe in the land. 2 And when they had eaten the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.”

Have you ever felt real hunger? I do not mean 5 PM-coming-from-work hunger or Super-Bowl-is-on-and-I-need-pizza-and-wings hunger—I mean real, painful hunger. Most of us likely have grown up in areas or families where we could eat without too much worry. Maybe there were times of struggle but we never felt lasting, heavy hunger. I imagine this feeling can be quite paralyzing.

02.05.18In our narrative in Genesis, however, we read that “the famine was severe in the land”—meaning that the scenario for Jacob and his sons is life or death, and they need bread, right away. They were in the throes of lasting, heavy hunger. So, imagine yourself in the shoes of Jacob’s sons. You are terribly afraid of Egypt after your first visit there, but you know you need to go back in order to get food. You know that you need to bring Benjamin with you, yet Jacob will likely not allow that. Between the competing demands and the severe hunger, you can probably imagine that this situation would be quite paralyzing for Jacob’s sons.

Have you ever felt paralyzed because of a decision that needed to be made, a decision that may have significant consequences for yourself and those around you? Maybe we have not had life or death scenarios such as what we are reading, but, still, many of us likely have experienced that feeling of being paralyzed while trying to make a decision in the middle of our own “famines,” whether these “famines” were pressures from family or from a boss, low finances, or something else. However, despite the pressure we may feel, the reality is that God is in control. In Genesis, we know that God was in control of the situation and, if you know the end of the story, Joseph recognizes that God had a plan throughout all of Joseph’s life. God was going to turn for good what his brothers meant for evil.

Today, perhaps we are feeling that paralyzing fear of the unknown. Perhaps we are wondering how we can possibly make a certain decision, especially given the “famines” we are experiencing. Let us trust that God is in control even if our situation, though maybe not a famine, is severe. God is greater than our circumstances and His love for us is greater than the “famines” we experience in our lives. Let us take that step of faith and not shrink back in paralyzing fear.

Prayer: Lord, today, help me to trust You. Even in the midst of the “famines” in my life, help me to know that You are still in control and that You are greater. I know that You work all things for good, even when things may not go exactly as I want. Regardless of these circumstances, may I trust You with each step I take. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Numbers 25


Lunch Break Study 

Read Matthew 6:25-34:  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Questions to Consider

  1. What are the two primary things mentioned that gives us anxiety? Do you relate to either of those things?
  2. Who is the One who provides the things we are anxious about?
  3. Ask yourself honestly: what are you seeking in your life – God or something else?

Notes

  1. Jesus mentions that many are anxious about either food or clothing. However, Jesus likely was not simply talking about food and clothing: Food was about finances. You need finances to provide for yourself. Clothing was about reputation and honor. Clothing demonstrated your status and your honor. Birds do not worry about providing for themselves, and lilies do not worry about creating a reputation for themselves. Think of your own life: how often do you worry about finances and your reputation?
  2. Jesus says, “Are you not of more value than the birds of the air, who God feeds? Will God not much more clothe you, just as He clothes the lilies of the field?” God is the One who will provide for us; He is the One who will give us honor. Do you believe that? Or do you still feel you need to provide for yourself and make a name for yourself?
  3. Take time to reflect about this. For many of us, this may not be so blatant. The orientation of our lives may be subtly shifting away from God and towards our fears – our fears of not being provided for and our fears of not having a good name. Let’s surrender these fears to God and orient ourselves back to Him.

Evening Reflection

Take some to reflect on the things in your life that bring you fear and cause you to not trust God. Take some time to ask God to help you with those fears and invite Him to bring you peace.

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