The AMI QT Devotionals from September 23-27 are provided by Jabez Yeo. Jabez, an alumnus of University of Pennsylvania, recently graduated from Columbia International University with a M.A. in Muslim Studies. He is currently working in NYC and serving at Remnant Church-E. He hopes to become a missionary.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“The Suffering Servant”
Jeremiah 49-50 (This week we are switching the order of the chapters studied.)
“So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. 28 And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.’”
In times of prosperity, it can be easy to ignore certain warnings to one’s peril. Such was the case in the mid-2000s, when almost any American could qualify for a mortgage. Despite warnings from certain regulators and investors, the U.S. government failed to curb the excessive lending. Subsequently, America’s housing market collapsed, bankrupting many lenders and triggering a global financial crisis that lasted for years.
Similarly, around 586 BC, the kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians despite many warnings from the prophet—Jeremiah. While Judah was economically prosperous, there was deep spiritual decline because of the Judeans’ idolatry and disobedience. Undeterred, Jeremiah faithfully delivered God’s word to the unbelieving Judeans (Jer. 7:27-28) and to other nations (Jer. 46-51) amidst intense hardships. Consider the following about Jeremiah:
- He was set apart as a prophet to the nations (Jer. 1:5) but preached for about 40 years without witnessing much spiritual fruit or revival.
- He ministered to the last five kings of Judah but only one (Josiah) sincerely sought after God. The other four were either exiled or did evil (2 Chron. 36).
- He was instructed to remain single and did not have children to carry on his name (Jer. 16:2);
- He endured great physical suffering, including torture (Jer. 20:2), unjust imprisonment (Jer. 37:14-15) and suffocation (Jer. 38:1-13). He was even physically abducted (Jer. 43:1-7).
Throughout this week, we will be reading Jeremiah 49-50, which contains some of Jeremiah’s prophecies to the nations. It may be tough for some of us to believe how prophecies to nations that are non-existent today apply to our personal lives. I myself struggled with writing these devotionals due to my lack of Old Testament knowledge. However, we can take comfort in the fact that these prophecies were given to a man who suffered tremendously for his faith and served as a precursor to the ultimate sufferer, Jesus Christ, the one who gave His life for us and was obedient to death (Phil. 2:5-11). Let us trust that God will speak to us as we read His Word.
Prayer: Father, I thank You that Your Word is applicable to our lives, just as it was to ancient civilizations throughout history. Thank You for believers like Jeremiah, who remind me that faithfulness to You and Your Word is possible even amidst great hardship. Build my life so that my character would be refined and that my faith would prove to be genuine no matter the situation. In Your Name I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Job 39
Lunch Time Study
Read Hebrews 12:1-13: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed
Questions to Consider
- At first glance, reading Hebrews 12:4-13 may seem especially harsh or militaristic. Why is this not so?
- Jeremiah is surely in the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us today (Heb. 12:1). How can we persevere as he did?
- Who are the witnesses in your life (living or dead) that you can gain encouragement from?
- Context is key. We are given these commands because there have been others who exhibited faith even in severe situations (Heb. 11). Furthermore, we are told that these same saints surround us today (Heb. 12:1), and that Christ Himself is at the right hand of God the Father (Heb. 12:2), interceding for us (Rom. 8:34). Thus, we are not running the race of faith alone.
- The author encourages us to fix our eyes on Christ, just as Christ gained encouragement through remembering the joy set before Him during intense suffering (Heb. 12:2). We need to remind ourselves of the gospel each day, no matter what.
- Personal response.
What setbacks did you face today? How did these events remind you about who’s really in control? Pray that God would help you surrender what is necessary so that your faith would be made stronger.