January 19, Saturday

The AMI QT Devotionals for January 19-20 are provided by Tina Hsu.  Tina, a graduate of Biola University and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), currently serves as a staff at the Church of Southland, Anaheim, California.

 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“A Listening King”

Exodus 2:23-24

Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

It was my senior year in high school and I was at Starbucks with my dad, conversing about my future career plans. At that time, I had only been a Christian for one year, and every time I talked to my dad, who is an unbeliever, I wanted my faith to show in my interaction with him. I shared honestly with him that I didn’t know what I wanted to pursue in the future, but I would pray to God and find out from Him. He responded by saying that I should be watchful and don’t wait for God, because He may be too busy to listen to me. I didn’t have the quickness to respond to my dad nor anything profound to say to prove him wrong, but I remember riding in the car home that day having an inner confidence that my God could indeed hear all my prayers. It was God who made me a new person when I asked Jesus to enter my life, and as I was living in that newness, I had confidence that He was a trustworthy, listening God.

In his sermon called “The Prayer-Hearing God,” theologian Jonathan Edwards said, “It is the character of the Most High, that he is a God who hears prayer.” In fact, this distinguishes God from false gods as the one true God, for false gods “have mouths, but they cannot speak; they have eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they cannot hear; they have noses, but they cannot smell” (Psalm 115:5-6). God who is enthroned in heaven listened to the groaning of the Israelites in bondage, and acted according to His promise to their forefathers. He does not share the disconnect of most humans who hear, but do not listen.

As central as it is in our faith to listen to the word of God, I believe our view of God and ability to listen to Him begins with experiencing how He, as our heavenly Father, loves us by attentively listening to our prayers. This opens us and sustains our hope and trust in His goodness. He does not listen dismissively, but gives us the gracious gift of being heard. Moreover, He acts upon accepting the prayers of His people. Today, let’s give thanks to God for being a God who speaks, as well as a God who listens. May the Holy Spirit give you confidence to approach Him with your prayers and supplications.

Prayer: Dear Father, thank You that You are the One with prayer-hearing power. I may not always know how to express and articulate my prayers, but Your Spirit enables me to pray, and You are God who listens attentively to my prayers. I know I am welcomed into Your presence, so help me to deepen my trust and confidence in You. In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 21-22

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