September 20, Thursday

Today’s AMI Quiet Time is provided by Pastor Peter Yoon who is the Lead Pastor at Kairos Christian Church in San Diego. 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Thank the Lord for Timely Friends”

Jeremiah 38:7-13 (NIV)

But Ebed-Melek, a Cushite, an official in the royal palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. While the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate, 8 Ebed-Melek went out of the palace and said to him, 9 “My lord the king, these men have acted wickedly in all they have done to Jeremiah the prophet. They have thrown him into a cistern, where he will starve to death when there is no longer any bread in the city.” 10 Then the king commanded Ebed-Melek the Cushite, “Take thirty men from here with you and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”11 So Ebed-Melek took the men with him and went to a room under the treasury in the palace. He took some old rags and worn-out clothes from there and let them down with ropes to Jeremiah in the cistern. 12 Ebed-Melek the Cushite said to Jeremiah, “Put these old rags and worn-out clothes under your arms to pad the ropes.” Jeremiah did so, 13 and they pulled him up with the ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard.

Our family recently moved into a new place—but not without some resistance from our children. In our previous home, our children had developed lots of friendships around the neighborhood. They spent hours and hours with friends engaging in all sorts of fun activities, but in moving into a new home, my kids (particularly our 4th grade son, Nathan) knew that they’d have to start anew the daunting task of making new friends. Soon enough, as our boys began to explore the new neighborhood, they met few other boys who were just as interested in sports, video games, …sports, video games…and more sports and video games. =)  That afternoon, Nathan came back home with a big smile on his face and said to me, “Dad, Nick and Tommy are my friends now.” There’s something about good friendships that even children know to value in life.

In this passage, Jeremiah was thrown into a well by the city’s officials. He had been warning of the impending doom of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonian Empire. God had revealed that the only chance for survival was to surrender. The public officials did not want the Jews to listen to Jeremiah’s prophecies, although the words came from God. So they approached King Zedekiah to obtain a permission to put away Jeremiah. The king, perhaps in despair or fear, barely raises any concern and says: “The king can do nothing to oppose you.” And the officials immediately arrest Jeremiah and leave him at the bottom of a well to die of starvation. Jeremiah was in a bleak and hopeless situation.

However, God sends a “friend,” a Cushite, to foil the plans of the officials and rescues Jeremiah from the well (see https://www.gotquestions.org/Cushites.html). The Cushite could have been severely punished by King Zedekiah for going against the wishes of the officials as well as the king’s permission to put away Jeremiah. With courage, the Cushite changes the mind of the king and carries out a rescue plan in lifting Jeremiah out of the well.

At times, God sends a timely friend. This “friend” might not be someone who is popular with the crowds, nor wealthy. This “friend” might even have been overlooked as an insignificant person. Yet, their timely presence and the encouragement he/she brings may perhaps be the difference between despair and hope.

Today, I’d like to encourage you to be that “friend” to others.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the friendships in my own life. But today, lead me in extending Your friendship to those around me in my workplace, school, church, neighborhood, etc. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Job 34


Lunch Break Study 

John 15:12-17 (NIV)  

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Questions to Consider

  1. What qualities does Jesus highlight in defining a friendship?
  2. What separates a mere servant from a friend in God’s Kingdom?
  3. What comparison does Jesus use in describing how we are to love others?

Notes

  1. Jesus highlights the quality of laying down one’s life. He also highlights obedience to the command of loving others.
  2. A servant is outside of God’s business plans, while a friend has been invited into knowing everything that Jesus had learned from the Father.
  3. Jesus says that we are to love others as “I have loved you.” It’s a tall order. However, when the Spirit of Christ dwells in your heart, you are moved to love others as Jesus has loved us.

Evening Reflection

How are you being a friend to those around you these days? In what practical ways can you show your friendship and encouragement to few people in your own life?

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