The AMI Devotional Blogs from June 3-8 are written by Phillip Chen, college pastor at Church of Southland. Philip, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, completed his Master of Divinity program at Talbot School of Theology this past spring. More importantly, he and his wife Esther recently became brand new parents—congratulations! May God richly bless this family.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“God Keeps His Promises”
Exodus 33:1-3 (NASB)
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Depart, go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up from the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ 2 I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. 3 Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way.”
Have you ever had to work with people who were a pain in the neck? Multiply that a thousand and you have the Israelites. The Israelites were an incredibly hard group of people to lead. In fact, they were called an obstinate people. The definition of obstinate, according to the dictionary, is to be “stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or chosen course of action, despite attempts to persuade one to do so.” God had shown them miracle after miracle, mercy after mercy, direction after direction, and they were still so stubbornly stuck in their rebellious ways.
Before we look down upon the Israelites and their attitude towards God, we need to ask ourselves: Are we that much better? Do we not have our stubborn moments where we refuse to bend to the leading of God, sometimes to the point where something has to break in order for us to start paying attention to Him? Aren’t we also at times so stuck in our ways that we don’t even recognize God’s promptings to change direction? This may be an indictment against Israel, but it definitely speaks to me as well.
But while this passage is intended to show God’s anger against Israel and His plan to send them away without His presence, what I am amazed by is the overwhelming faithfulness of God. He vows to fulfill the promise that wasn’t even directly given to the Israelites. This promise was given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and yet He chooses to honor it, even though the Israelites have broken covenant with God so many times. God has every right to forsake His covenant with His people, but He chooses not to. He will still honor His covenant to bring the Israelites into the Promised Land.
When I first became a believer, I made promises to God that I would love Him forever, that I would always seek His face and desire Him above all things. As I’m older now, I don’t make those promises as quickly. Rather, I ask God for His grace to enable me to honor Him in the way I should. I know that I will break those promises and grieve the heart of God, but I am confident in this: God is faithful and full of mercy. God knew from the beginning that we would not be able to uphold our end of the bargain, and thus He has made a way, through Jesus Christ, to once and for all bring us into the promised land of His presence.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your faithfulness. I know that there are so many times in my life that I act stubbornly and resist Your perfect leadership. I recognize my rebellion and I ask for Your mercy to submit to Your lordship. Help me to trust in Your goodness and trust in Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your patience and Your loving kindness towards me. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 25
Lunch Break Study
Read Numbers 23:19 (NASB): God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Question to Consider
- What does this verse tell us about the character of God?
- Is this particular attribute of God (trustworthiness/faithfulness) something that you believe about God?
- God’s character is different than that of humans. Even though He is often described with human features, He is entirely different than us. This verse tells us that particularly in trustworthiness, God is not to be doubted – what He says will happen will happen and what He does cannot be disputed because He cannot betray His character.
- Personal response.
Are there areas of your life that you are particularly stubborn in? Sometimes those areas are our biggest blind spots. We don’t even think that these areas need change or bend to the will of God. But perhaps God is highlighting something to you through discipline or circumstance. Humble yourself before God and ask Him for His perfect leadership.