June 8, 2018

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Jeremiah 10:5-7

“Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good. There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you.”

In Your God is too Small, J.B. Philips describes the inadequate conceptions Christians have of God. Here are a few that he mentions: resident policeman—God has simply become a moral conscience that tells us what’s good and bad for us; parental hangover—God is a projection of our relationship with our parents; and grand old man—God is an old man much like our grandpa who is irrelevant and distant to us. Philips notes how these misconceptions unconsciously affect not only the way we see God, but also how we respond to Him. In summary, these misconceptions have made our God too small.

And so what’s at stake here? When our conception of God becomes too small, our naturally prone-to-wander hearts begin to make other gods bigger than they really are. This was the case of the Israelites in our passage today. They began turning to the idols of other nations. Idols, in which Jeremiah compares to that of a scarecrow—lifeless and powerless, always promise more than they can offer. Such lifeless idols produce lifeless faith. Timothy Keller describes idols as “anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.” And to this, Jeremiah points our attention to the true nature of who God is: incomparable, great and mighty, feared among the nations, living and everlasting, the only true God for eternity.

King David probably held the title as the most successful king conquering nation after nation and leading the Israelites into prosperity and power. Yet even in the midst of all these accomplishments, Psalm 27:4 shows that his greatest desire was to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. It was God’s surpassing greatness that captured David’s heart to worship and be a man after God’s own heart. It was what prevented him from turning to such lifeless idols and kept his gazed fixed upon the Lord. Start this morning reflecting on how great our God is. Before our requests for the day or even our confessions, start with adoring Him. There is none like our God!

Prayer: Father, there is none like You. Reveal the idols in my heart; forgive me that I have made them more important than You. More than anything in this world, help me to gaze upon Your beauty. I pray that You would take all of me and use it for Your glory. Amen.

Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 13


Lunch Break Study

Read John 4:21-26 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Questions to Consider:

  1. How does Jesus redefine worship?
  2. What does it mean to worship in spirit and in truth?
  3. How should this change the way we worship Him?

Notes:

  1. Contextually, both the Samaritans and Jews placed a high emphasis on the place of worship: the Jews concluded Jerusalem was the place, while the Samaritans believed the place to be Mount Gerizim. But Jesus redefines worship to be less about the where, but more importantly about the who; in other words, worship is less about the external factors influenced by customs and traditions, but more about the heart.
  2. First, this is the type of worship the Father is looking for. Matt Chandler describes spirit and truth as worship coming from inflamed hearts and informed minds: our minds are informed and set on the revealed Word of God and the Spirit’s presence inflames our hearts. John Piper says this: “The fuel of worship is the grand truth of a gracious and sovereign God; the fire that makes the fuel burn white hot is the quickening of the Holy Spirit; the furnace made alive and warm by the flame of truth is our renewed spirit; and the resulting heat of our affections is worship, pushing its way out in tears, confessions, prayers, praises, acclamations, lifting of hands, bowing low, and obedient lives.”
  3. Personal response. Worship is not a one-time event, but a lifelong journey.

Evening Reflection

Spend a few moments meditating on the following verses:

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” – Isaiah 40:26

Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” – Jeremiah 32:17

“In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.” – Psalm 95:4

“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.” – 1 Chronicles 29:11

When we see something great, we can’t help but be in utter awe of it, whether it’s a person or a part of nature. It affects us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Sometimes, there is even a physical response that occurs. In the same way our worship is always a response to His greatness. As we meditate on these verses, allow worship to flow from our hearts.

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