September 18, Tuesday

Charles Graham

The AMI QT Devotionals for September 18-19 are provided by Charles Graham. Charles is a new intern with Kairos, who came aboard in September of 2017. He is currently studying at Talbot School of Theology to prepare himself for a life of service and ministry.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Full Circle: Everything Comes Back to God”

Jeremiah 37:1-10 (NASB)

Zedekiah the son of Josiah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah, reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim. 2 But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the LORD that he spoke through Jeremiah the prophet. 3 King Zedekiah sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the priest, the son of Maaseiah, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “Please pray for us to the LORD our God.” 4 Now Jeremiah was still going in and out among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison. 5 The army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt. And when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem. 6 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet: 7 “Thus says the LORD, God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah who sent you to me to inquire of me, ‘Behold, Pharaoh’s army that came to help you is about to return to Egypt, to its own land. 8 And the Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city. They shall capture it and burn it with fire. 9 Thus says the LORD, Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will surely go away from us,” for they will not go away. 10 For even if you should defeat the whole army of Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.’”

I’ve been privileged to work closely with Pastor Joshua Chzen of Kairos. Once, he challenged us by asking, “How often do we live as if God does not exist?” The absurdity of a godless worldview is so paternally obvious that Pastor Josh did not dwell on it too much; instead, he highlighted how Christians habitually succumb to the pressures of a society that has long forgotten God. As difficult as this was to hear, he rightly pointed out how often we fall short by ignoring the nudging of the Spirit to heed God and His eternal truth.

Full CircleIn today’s passage, Jeremiah recounts how King Zedekiah would not listen to the word of God (v. 2). And it wasn’t until Judah was besieged that the king asked Jeremiah to pray to God on their behalf (v. 3). Essentially, only when Zedekiah’s back was against the wall did he turn to God. Christians are no different. We are constantly buffeted by the push and pull of our secular world; and, too often, the pressures can become so great that we ignore our convictions, effectively living as if God wasn’t here. It is only when all the chips are down, like Zedekiah, that we turn to Him in submission. Everyone and everything will (Rom. 11:36). But, we ought to look to God first, rather than waiting for calamity. I pray we ponder on this together daily, reminding one another of Whom we are committed to.

We can also find comfort in the rest of the passage (Jer. 37:7-11). Here, Jeremiah receives word from God that the kingdom will be destroyed, just as previously proclaimed. God’s word will be done. Though this does not bode well for Zedekiah, the simple notion that God’s word will come to pass is most uplifting.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4 [NASB]).

What could be more heartwarming than to realize what has been promised by God! Remember, regardless of the difficulties of the Christian life, God’s word is true. Everything starts and ends with Him.

This is the full circle.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the truth of Your Word. I am so thankful that I can call You my foundation. Lord, I don’t ever want to live as if You aren’t here. Please remind me every single day of who You are, so I may, in turn, reflect who You are to others in how I live.

Bible Reading for Today: Job 32


Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 11:36 (NASB): “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Questions to Consider

  1. What does this short, yet powerful, passage mean?
  2. What does the meaning of the passage imply?
  3. Reflect your life in light of the message of this terse verse.

Notes

  1. This passage is the declaration that “all things” find their origins in, are maintained by and ultimately return to God. He is the Creator, Sustainer and Judge of everything in existence.
  2. As the Creator of all things, God is the necessary precondition for anything to exist or occur. This includes, but is by no means limited to, the existence of the universe, life, logic, morale experience, etc. Without God at the beginning of everything, the world falls into absurdity.
  3. Personal response

Evening Reflection

In your personal quiet time with God, consider the enormity of His power and reach as He is described in Rom. 11:36. With this in mind, reflect on the idea that, although God has this immense power and influence, He also has the temperament described in Matt. 11:28-30: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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