August 5, Sunday

The AMI QT devotionals for July 30-August 5 are provided by Christine Li. Christine graduated from University of Pennsylvania and currently lives and works in New York City. She attends Remnant Church in Manhattan.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Walking on Hard Paths”

Jeremiah 26:20-23

Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the Lord; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did. 21 When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king was determined to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt. 22 King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Akbor to Egypt, along with some other men. 23 They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.)

A couple years back, I was on a serving team that hoped to establish presence on a new campus. We had a handful of members who attended, but in the end, it seemed (to me) like “negative ministry.” We started with a dozen students in the beginning, but we said goodbye to nearly all of them by the end as some of them chose to go to other churches or move away (some stopped going to church altogether). It was an extremely discouraging experience; for a long time, I would often look back and mourn how pitiful the outcome seemed compared to the time we spent preparing, praying, and reaching out.

Uriah’s story is a strange one compared to Jeremiah’s. He also is commissioned to be a prophet and is given (presumably) the same unpopular message to preach. Unlike Jeremiah, Uriah received no earthly favor, and he was killed for his ministry. He did not know how God used him (and we do not either, from this passage). If we were to measure Uriah’s life by his lack of impact and his ultimate death, it would be tragic and unfortunate. However, God, who knows and permits all things, allowed the course of his life to be shaped this way.

Most (if not all) of us want to be people whose lives have purpose, influence, and outcome. We all mourn when our efforts seem to result in little fruit. Uriah’s entire life is summed up in three verses in someone else’s book. Is it possible that God is still glorified by his life?

In faith, we believe so. We believe that God remembers all work done in His name and that our reward comes at the end. We believe that our victory is never in the duration or effectiveness of our efforts but in the faithfulness He gives us to carry out our mission. In Uriah’s life and ministry, we can come away with the following conclusion: God is always worthy of all we have to give, no conditions. And He is much more interested in our character and trust than our success in the eyes of this world.

If you have been disappointed or discouraged by the path God has set in front of you to walk, take courage today, for He uses every single one of us to display something about Him. These paths are still, mysteriously, perfectly and lovingly tailored for each one of us. As we go to worship, may we surrender our hopes and dreams so that we can be prepared to walk in His ways instead. Let’s ask Him to give us the big picture of His glory and help us find our place in that.

Prayer: Father, You have better outcomes, and Your ideas are always better than my ideas. Help me to measure my life by how faithful I am, not how successful I seem. Teach me to prize character as You do, and help me to trust You in every way. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 6

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