Today’s AMI Devotional QT, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang, is an edited version of a blog that was first posted on January 15, 2013.
Devotional Thought for Today
“Being Raw (i.e., Real) with God”
“Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. 9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. 10 All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace.”
Huh? David, you are supposed to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt. 5:44). “Be quiet,” Davie might retort, adding, “If you have a life like mine in which everyone wants to kill me, including my own son and boss, you, too, would say, “Away from me, all my enemies—be ashamed and dismayed.”
This is one reason, of course, why we ought to be careful when attempting to extract theology out of Psalms. What is found here and elsewhere in Psalms (e.g., Ps. 44:23-24: “O Lord[,] why do you sleep”) is raw emotion expressed by otherwise godly people facing insurmountable difficulties at the hands of their adversaries.
Some believers think that we should always be joyous and love everyone! We should but we are not always so! Sometimes, we may find ourselves praying or thinking, “OhLORD, I wish so-and-so would leave my work or church.” Will God say, “Hey, what kind of a Christian are you?” That would make God out to be legalistic and petty; instead, He understands our frailties and allows us, therefore, to vent in His bosom.
Nevertheless, we do need to stay in prayer long enough so that God will change our venting to, “Lord, strengthen me to have the courage to love my enemy and feed him when he is hungry” (Rom. 12:20). That’s ultimately possible for those who believe in Christ because they have benefitted from the atoning sacrifice of the Son whose death reconciled us back to God (2 Cor. 5:18-19).
At any rate, don’t be afraid to be honest with God! Trust the LORD that He is willing to hear your prayer even if it is raw and sounds immature. But, stay in prayer long enough for Him to change you and change your prayer. So, start this day with an intimate conversation with Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for showing me the way to be honest with myself, for You didn’t hide the anguish and sorrow You felt before the cross. Sometimes I act like nothing bothers me even though that’s not true. Help me to be real and seek You always.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 11
Lunch Break Study
Read Micah 3:1-4: “And I said: Hear, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel! Is it not for you to know justice?—2 you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people and their flesh from off their bones, 3 who eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and break their bones in pieces and chop them up like meat in a pot, like flesh in a cauldron. 4 Then they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil.”
Questions to Consider
- Who said all this and to whom was it said?
- Why was this said at all (Mic. 3:1-4, 1:1; Ahaz: 2 Chr. 28:1-4, 22-5)?
- Did God hear David’s prayer offered during the time he pretended to be holy after committing murder and adultery? (2 Sam. 12:1-13). Read what the man healed of blindness said (Jn. 9:31); but is that always right (2 Chr. 33:1-2, 10-13; 1 Ki. 21:25-8)?
- Prophet Micah said this to the leaders and prophets of Judah and Israel.
- Micah prophesized during the wicked reign of Ahaz, of whom, it was said, “In time of trouble, King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the LORD.” Any prayer offered by Ahaz or anyone like him God will not hear! He will hide his face.
- What the man said in Jn. 9:31 (“God does not listen to sinners”) is what Micah asserted, but when the two vilest kings of Israel—Manasseh and Ahab—prayed in their anguish, God heard them! I’m not sure whether God heard David’s prayers while he was being a hypocrite, but I wouldn’t be surprised either way. 4 It means that we cannot have a neat theology here: if God hears a sinner, He does so despite of the sinner, not because of him! It’s his grace! When the Lord hears us as we are walking with Him, that too is His grace, for God doesn’t owe us anything!
Once a father whose son was demonized, upon being told by Jesus, “Everything is possible for him who believes,” said, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mk. 9:23, 24). That’s keeping it real!
How would you describe your day? Were you being “real” today or too busy to even think about things like that? So, how was it? When someone says, “How are you?” are you always fine? Can you say in response, “Not fine; so can you pray for me?”