August 7, Tuesday

The AMI QT Devotionals for August 5-11 are provided by Doug Tritton. Doug, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently serving as a staff at Symphony Church (Boston), while pursuing a M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary.  He is married to Cindy and they are proud parents of Audrey.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Yoked Part 2 – The Yoke of the Lord”

Jeremiah 27:3-5

Send word to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the sons of Ammon, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon by the hand of the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. 4 Give them this charge for their masters: ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: This is what you shall say to your masters: 5 “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me.”

Influence fades very quickly. When Fitbits first became popular, I bought one thinking it would revolutionize my exercise habits. My friends and I all competed with each for the most steps and we all were walking more—it seemed the influence of our Fitbits and of each other was helping to keep us all healthier. Yet, after a few weeks, that influence waned and I wore it less and less. Right now, my Fitbit is collecting dust in some drawer in my house, and the Fitbits of many of my friends are suffering a similar fate.

Though this might be a silly example, we can see this in the broader world, too. YouTube stars become famous for a few weeks, only to fade once again into obscurity; movie stars who once were on the A-list are suddenly not getting any more parts; politicians who seemed like the next big thing make a few stumbles and suddenly are forgotten. Influence fades very quickly.

In our passage for today, the nations of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon were kingdoms that probably felt secure. Their kings likely could not imagine losing their influence over their countries. However, God was appointing a time when their influence would fade and be replaced by the Babylonians; and ultimately, we know that Babylon would eventually fade away as well. Yet through the turning tides of influence, God was always the one in control—His influence never fades.

This is why we should desire to yoke ourselves to Him. If we yoke ourselves to the things of this world, we will get motion sickness—that is, we will be pulled this way and that, only to realize we need something new to yoke ourselves to. But our passage tells us that the Lord is the one who created the earth and everything in it. He’s the one in control and thus is the only true constant in this world. When we yoke ourselves to God, we will be steady. His influence never fades. May we continue to remove all yokes that are not God and truly yoke ourselves to Him!

Prayer: Lord, Your yoke never fails! Help me to follow You rather than anything else. I am tired of chasing the various forces of influence that surround me, influences that fade away. Help me to follow Your influence alone, because Your influence will never fade. I need Your help to do this, Lord! Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 8


Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 23:1-3: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does it mean to have the Lord as our Shepherd?
  2. Where does the Lord our Shepherd take us?
  3. How does the Lord restore our souls?

Notes

  1. A shepherd guides his sheep. His desire is to protect his sheep and bring them to the things they need—such as food, water, and shelter. If the Lord is our Shepherd, this means we are letting Him lead us and influence us. It means we are trusting that He knows what is best for us.
  2. He takes us to green pastures and still waters! For real sheep, this meant food, water, and comfort. For us, this means God takes care of us. He takes us to what is best for us. Sometimes we are scared to let Him lead and influence us. We worry that He may send us to places where we do not want to go, but God knows what is best, like a shepherd over his sheep. And when He leads us, we will find comfort! So often we are stressed and anxious about our futures – we feel like we need to be in control. But God as our Shepherd brings us comfort, a comfort that removes all stress and anxiety and brings true peace!
  3. When we find God’s peace and His comfort, our souls will be restored. We will find refreshment over our lives—a refreshment that frees us from the worries and stresses of this world. So much of the stress we experience is due to our need for control. The irony is that the only way to find true peace, to have souls truly restored, is to surrender our control to God—the only One who is truly in control.

Evening Reflection

Ask God to be your yoke. However, His yoke cannot compete against other yokes. As we did yesterday, continue to surrender every influence that is not God and allow His influence to cover over you. Invite God to be the Shepherd of your life.

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