Today’s AMI QT Devotional is written by Joshua Chzen who serves as the college pastor at Kairos Christian Church (San Diego, California). Joshua, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity at Bethel Seminary. He and Sandra were recently married in 2017.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“A Deeper Understanding”
Genesis 49:22-25 (NIV)
“Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.
23 With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. 24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb.
There’s an old Indian fable about a group of blind men who encounter an elephant in their travels. Since the animal is unfamiliar to them, they begin to feel around to try to understand what they face. As each of them touches a different part, every one of the men reaches a different conclusion about the creature in their path. One man touches the elephant’s ear and decides that it must be a large fan. Another wraps his arms around its foot and thinks he’s embracing a tree. The rest of them think they’ve found a spear (its tusk), a snake (its trunk), and a wall (its side). Of course, none of them are correct. This story is commonly used to illustrate issues of perspective in relation to truth; with only a limited perspective to aid their understanding, none of the men really know the truth of what they’ve encountered. (Of course, someone saw the whole thing; otherwise there is no story to tell—sorry relativism.)
We see another illustration of this in Jacob’s relationship with God. Previously, we see him referring to God as “the God of Abraham” or “the God of Isaac” (Gen. 31:53; 32:9). Many years later as he nears death, Jacob gathers his sons and blesses them before he departs. In his blessing for Joseph, we see how much he has grown in his understanding of God. He uses five different names for God – Mighty One of Jacob, Shepherd, Rock of Israel, your father’s God, and Almighty – which reflect his deeper knowledge and experience of the one he worships. In fact, he doesn’t even reference his forefathers Isaac or Abraham; instead, he mentions himself three times as he blesses Joseph. This is not indicative of self-centeredness or vanity, but rather of ownership of his own relationship with the Lord. Jacob understands who God is.
Our understanding of God often follows the same pattern. It can be easy for us to focus only on specific aspects of God and His relationship to us, and in fact it’s probably natural for us to do so. To some, God is first and foremost a father, and loves us as His children. To others, God is the most high and exalted ruler of the universe, and we are His servants. God is the one who comforts and provides; He’s the one who conquers and judges. To base all of our understanding on any single one of these is to give ourselves an incomplete picture of who God is. God is not one of these things, He’s all of them and more. If we desire to wholly know the one who we worship, we need to seek and ask Him to help get us there.
Prayer: Lord, I want to know you more. Through your Word and your Spirit, speak the truth of who you are into my heart. Help me never to stop going deeper in my relationship with You. In Your name, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 13
Lunch Break Study
Read Ephesians 1:15-19 (NIV): For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Questions to Consider
- What kind of attitude does Paul have in his prayers for the Ephesians?
- What does Paul pray for the Ephesians to receive? Why?
- How are we supposed to deepen our knowledge and understanding of God?
- Paul intercedes for the Ephesians with a heart of thanksgiving, understanding that every spiritual blessing has been granted from God through Christ, and the Ephesians now get to share in this blessing through their faith in Him. Paul’s gratitude is apparent and unceasing in his prayers for them.
- Paul prays for the Ephesians to receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in order that they would know God better and that the eyes of their heart would be enlightened. He goes on to ask that they would know God’s hope and glorious inheritance, as well as his incomparably great power. The apostle makes it clear that this sort of wisdom and revelation comes from God.
- If we want to know God more deeply and grow in our understanding of Him, we need to ask for the same wisdom and revelation that comes not from ourselves, but from God alone. This doesn’t mean we passively wait for Him to reveal himself; especially as He grows us in wisdom, this revelation can come through reading and meditating on his Word, crying out in prayer and worship, and living life in a community of discipleship.
Think about an attribute of God that you struggle to understand. It’s easy for us to gloss over things we don’t particularly like or relate to, but spend some time reconciling your idea of God with who the Bible tells us He is. Continue to pray for His wisdom and revelation, as well as a heart of humility in trying to comprehend a God who is ultimately above our comprehension.