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 This Morning
“Where is the Lord?”
Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. 5 Thus says the Lord: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless? 6 They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?’ 7 And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination. 8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit.
My love for bargain hunting was passed down from my mom. When I was in elementary school, she began taking me along on her trips to Ross and TJ Maxx. For the most part, I would stick to her like glue as she dug through rack after rack of clothing. Eventually, we would pass by clearance bins filled with movies, computer games, toys, and other junk. I dug through those like they were treasure pits— so focused that I wouldn’t even realize that my mom had moved on to other sections of the store. Not once would it occur to me to ask where my mom was. More often than not, she would circle back for me before I was done scavenging; but there were a few times I finished, only to look up and realize that my mom wasn’t there. Feelings of mild panic would quickly grow worse as I wandered off into the rest of the store with no clue where to look. Fortunately, she usually managed to find me before I started crying.
God rebukes Israel in this passage for forsaking Him. The charges He lays out against His people are of idolatry—a struggle shown consistently and prominently in the history of Israel. However, it’s interesting to note that their idol worship doesn’t seem to come from a deliberate attempt to spurn God. He points out not once, but twice their failure to look to Him—they had forgotten to ask the simple question, “Where is the Lord?” Israel had forsaken God, not out of their sheer will to leave Him, but out of their lack of will to remember Him. After all God had done, they simply forgot Him amidst everything else they had in front of them.
Today, there are a thousand different things that can command our attention at any given moment. As sinful people, we can’t overestimate our ability to stay focused on heavenly things. It’s too easy for us to assume we’re spending our time well and headed on the right track, when really we’re just pursuing distractions. We don’t want to be the one digging through the clearance bin, only to look up and realize that God is somewhere else. Like the Israelites, it’s usually through our lack of will to remember God—through our passive neglect—that we end up forsaking Him. As He guides us through every context of life, God expects us to follow Him—and this begins by willfully asking the question, “Where is the Lord?”
Prayer: Lord, I know it’s easy for me to forget You. Thank You that even through this, You never leave me nor forsake me. Give me a heart that desires to go where you go, and discerns where You are moving. Help me to go out of my way to seek You out. In Your Name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Hebrews 3
Lunch Break Study
Read Deuteronomy 8:10-14 (NIV): When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Questions to Consider
- Under what circumstances does the author Moses caution against forgetting God?
- What kind of attitude does Moses say will precede forgetting God?
- What are some steps we can take not to forget about God?
- In vv. 12-13, Moses paints a picture of wealth, prosperity, and success. After decades of trials and suffering, the Israelites would have finally reached the Promised Land. Of course, this is the land God has given them, and these things are all attributed to the God who brought them through the trials and into the blessing.
- Moses warns against hearts of pride setting in, after experiencing God’s blessing—the implication is that the Israelites will believe that they have worked for and earned all the things that God had blessed them with. They will forget that God was the one who sustained them and blessed them.
- Failing to observe God’s commands, laws, and decrees leads to forgetting Him. By routinely spending time reading His Word and receiving through prayer and meditation, we can create a baseline for God’s commands to be present in our hearts.
Think about your day—where was God moving? How does He want you to approach tomorrow differently? Spend some time asking Him to show you where He is, and where He wants you to be.