Today’s AMI Devotional is provided by Pastor David Son. He and his team are presently working toward planting a church in Taiwan. Stay up to date with the church plant by following them here: https://www.instagram.com/thrivechurchtaipei/
Devotional Thoughts for Today
The word that Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, when he went with Zedekiah king of Judah to Babylon, in the fourth year of his reign. Seraiah was the quartermaster. Jeremiah wrote in a book all the disaster that should come upon Babylon, all these words that are written concerning Babylon. And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: “When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words, and say, ‘O Lord, you have said concerning this place that you will cut it off, so that nothing shall dwell in it, neither man nor beast, and it shall be desolate forever.’ When you finish reading this book, tie a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates, and say, Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disaster that I am bringing upon her, and they shall become exhausted.’”
Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.
In Japan, in the 1600-1800’s, there was a little-known class of messengers known as Hikyaku. Because of the mountainous terrain of Japan, the quickest way to send messages and/or small parcels across the country was to send it on foot. And so, the Hikyaku were actually an elite group of mountain runners who, according to 19th century records by British diplomats, could run up to 850 miles in 9 days! During the Feudal ages of Japan, the Hikyaku played an important role in carrying critical messages from city to city. It’s easy to see why these running messengers had to be faithful, perseverant, trustworthy, and determined in order to do their job, especially since not every message they carried would necessarily be well-received.
Our passage today comes towards the very end of the book of Jeremiah. And for the past couple chapters, Jeremiah had been declaring all sorts of prophetic words of destruction against the nation of Babylon. Here, we discover that Jeremiah gives a copy of these words to Seraiah (who is being taken to Babylon) and commands him to read it aloud when he gets to Babylon. Can you imagine being in Seraiah’s shoes? How would you feel about being the messenger of this kind of news?
There’s something that the Hikyaku, Seraiah, and we all have in common: we are all messengers of a sort. And like any messenger, our duty is to be faithful, perseverant, trustworthy, and determined, especially since not every part of our message will be well-received.
The message that Seraiah was carrying was essentially the words of God, given through the prophet Jeremiah. And the message was actually good news for those trusted in God. It meant that God was indeed greater than Babylon. It also meant that the prisoners and the oppressed in Babylon would be set free, and that salvation was on its way. But for the fans of Babylon, it was an incredibly offensive piece of news. Nevertheless, Seraiah’s job was to faithfully deliver this message. In a similar way, the message of the gospel is an offense to those who are fans of this world. Yet, to the believers, it is the hope of salvation. How faithful of a messenger are you?
Prayer: Lord, forgive us, remind us, and strengthen us this morning. Forgive us for the times when we have not been faithful messengers of the gospel, opting to fear man rather than obeying You. Remind us that the message that we carry is the greatest news ever, and the harvest of those who need to hear it is plentiful. Strengthen us by your Holy Spirit, that we might have the courage, the wisdom, and the love to be more faithful messengers of this gospel. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Bible Reading for Today: John 6
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5: And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Questions to Consider
- When Paul came to Corinth, in what manner did he proclaim God’s Word?
- Why did Paul decide to do it this way?
- What does this say about the way we ought to share the Gospel?
- According to the passage, when Paul arrived in Corinth, he decided not to rely on lofty (eloquent) speech or wisdom (in the human sense) to share the message of God. Instead, he decided only to rely on power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- To fully answer this question, it’s helpful to read Acts 17 & 18. In the aforementioned chapters, it seems that Paul observed the Greek culture, which highly valued eloquent words of wisdom. But Paul is making a point to the church in Corinth (a Greek city), that the gospel is not really about human wisdom and fancy wordplay, but rather about the power of what Jesus did. And in order to make this point clear, he came to Corinth resolving not to rely on eloquent words when communicating the power of the gospel.
- First off, Paul isn’t condemning education, or eloquent speech. In fact, in Acts 17, just before he arrives in Corinth, he preaches the gospel with great eloquence to the Athenians. What we CAN draw from this passage is that when our words are devoid of the actual gospel message, it doesn’t actually matter how fancy or wise or palatable our message sounds—there is no power. In short, we can apply eloquence where it is appropriate, but we must never leave out the gospel.
Today we talked about being a faithful messenger of the gospel. Spend some time thinking and praying for the people whom God has placed around you. What is one step you can take towards sharing the message of the gospel with them?