May 11, Friday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided by Pastor David Yoon. David, a graduate of California Baptist University and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is serving at Tapestry LA Church as the college pastor.

 

Devotional Thought for the Day

“Backsliding”

Jeremiah 2:23-25

How can you say, ‘I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals’?  Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done—a restless young camel running here and there, 24 a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust?  None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her. 25 Keep your feet from going unshod and your throat from thirst. But you said, ‘It is hopeless, for I have loved foreigners, and after them I will go.’”

My family had many pets during my childhood years. We had turtles, finches, dogs, hamsters, rabbits and the list goes on. As a child, I was somewhat traumatized when I saw my dog mounting other dogs, or my gerbils chasing and “tagging” each other. If you have ever worked with horses or visited a ranch and seen a stallion in heat, you know exactly what vivid figures God is using to awaken His people to where they are. Animals were given a different kind of sexuality from humans, but it helps us see how we look when we start to lust after everything that comes along or chase any thrill or drive other than God Himself.

Judah had no desire to give up its gods in spite of God’s warnings of the consequences that would come. Among all of Judah’s wrongdoings, their denial of not being unclean or not chasing after Baals is preposterous. Their inability to abandon idols meant denying the freedom that God has given them. Therefore, God tells His people, “This is what you’re like” and uses the imagery of an animal in heat, eager to be satisfied. It must have been a clear message to the people of Judah.

In Jeremiah 2:19 (NIV), it says, “‘Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,’ declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.” Are you backsliding in your life today? Backsliding comes as a gradual process. It may begin with a general feeling of spiritual indifference as we fail to focus on spiritual things but on fleshly desires. It is not over a day or week that our hearts turn into stone, but months and even years that our hearts begin to callous and grow cold to the working of the Holy Spirit. In light of this, reflect on the cross, and be reminded of the love Christ demonstrated for us through His death and resurrection.

Prayer: Father God, I praise You today for Your mercies are new every morning. Help me to see the desires of my heart and give me the strength and courage to fight and turn away from the idols in my heart. My desire is to love and worship You with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. In Jesus’ Name.  Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Hebrews 5 


Lunch Break Study

Read Luke 22:31-34: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

Luke 22:60-62: But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

Questions to Consider

  1. How did Peter’s pride affect his backsliding?
  2. With what expression do you believe Jesus was looking at Peter?
  3. Peter went out and wept bitterly. What might have this meant for Peter?

Notes 

  1. Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”
  2. Jesus prayed for Peter and for his faith to not fail. He tells Peter to strengthen his brothers when he has turned his heart back to Him.
  3. A commentator once wrote, “The tears that Peter cries are the sorrowful, anguished tears of a broken man who has committed a great sin against the Lord, but they are also the tears that mark the beginning of Peter’s journey toward restoration” 

Evening Reflection

Our emotions are an important expression of the desires in our hearts. When we are not aware of our emotions and the desires that underlie them, our idols can gain strength and power in our lives. Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. What is God saying through these feelings? Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to something that God wants you to pay a bit more attention to.

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