Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotional for May 14 – 20 are written by Pastor Ulysses Wang.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
6 The Lord said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? 7 And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it.8 She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. 9 Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. 10 Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the Lord.”
“We are sorry. Initially it was stated that the stories were all lies and the individuals were colluding against Bill… We do not believe the stories were all lies or that all the people were colluding against him… We believe at least some of Bill’s choices were inappropriate.” – Willow Creek Community Church Elders, May 9, 2018
Recently, the evangelical world was rocked with the news that several women came forth with allegations of misconduct against Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, a megachurch in the suburbs of Chicago. If you’ve been in the Christian world for a while you’ve probably heard of Hybels. He is a prolific author, charismatic leader, and through his church and the Willow Creek Association that he founded, he’s touched countless churches and lives. I’ve even flown out to Chicago to attend a conference at his church in the past. He was admired as a pillar in the evangelical community.
Hybels made the news, but truth is, you don’t have to be a megachurch celebrity pastor to fall. Chances are, you probably know someone- maybe even a leader in a local church- who fell into moral failure. What do we do when this happens? There are a few options: (1) Bury our heads in the sand and pretend it didn’t happen, (2) despair, or (3) believe that it could never happen to us. None of these options are good. Today’s passage from Jeremiah presents a fourth choice: Take heed and learn from it. When the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed for her infidelity, Judah was supposed to take notice- but she didn’t. It says that she “saw it” yet “she too went and played the whore.” Israel’s demise should have been a powerful warning to Judah- powerful enough to correct her course- yet she just brushed the whole thing off and ended up worse than her sister.
It has been said that negative circumstances can be a more powerful teacher than positive ones. Whether from a celebrity pastor whose moral failure makes the news or from an acquaintance or friend who walks down the wrong path- we should learn from the experiences of those around us. Ask yourself, “What can I do to make sure that I don’t end up going down the same path? Is there anything in my life that needs to change?” None of us are beyond temptation.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to consider well the end of the paths those around me have taken. If there is anything or anyone that I need to pay more attention to, please get my attention. Grant me not a spirit of judgment upon those who have failed, but rather grant me a heart of fear and humility, that I may walk in holiness before you. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Hebrews 9
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Corinthians 10:6-13: 6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Questions to Consider
- What example do you most need to learn from today?
- Is there any area of your life where you might think you “stand” yet could be in danger of “falling”?
- Since God always provides a “way of escape,” what ways might He have provided for you?
- Idolatry? Sexual immorality? Testing God? Grumbling?
- Remember, “Pride comes before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
- If you want to overcome temptation, God has made it possible for you to. Consider getting help from Christian brothers and sisters around you. Open up and share about your struggles.
What did you observe from those around you today? Take a moment to consider the paths of those around you and let it strengthen your resolve to walk in holiness.