February 17, Monday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional is prepared by Pastor Ryun Chang who is the AMI’s Teaching Pastor.

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“A Vulnerable God”

Psalms 16:4b

“The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods.”

Unlike how sex outside the marriage is typically portrayed on television shows, no sin devastates a married person more than marital infidelity.  It deeply hurts the person who has been betrayed. 

Ironically, some Old Testament prophets used the imagery of adultery to depict idolatry, or, as the psalmist says, “running after other gods.”  Contrary to some who think that the imagery of Christ as the husband of his church (Eph. 5:23) is a new theological concept, God the Father, in the Old Testament, already depicted Himself as the husband to the Israelites, for Jeremiah 3:14 says, Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband.”  What is so unbelievable about this is how the God of universe made Himself so vulnerable to show that our unfaithfulness hurt Him.  Once, He said to the unfaithful Israel, “You adulterous wife!  You prefer strangers to your own husband” (Ez. 16:32). Through the prophet Hosea whose wife was unfaithful to him, God declared, “I will no longer show love to the house of Israel” (Hosea 1:6a).

In a marriage, when things get in the way of truly loving each other (e.g., rarely spending time together, not resolving previous arguments, hurtful comments, etc.), something unhealthy, even sinful—including adultery—may occur.  It’s no different in our relationships with God.  A prolonged time away from spending time with God (e.g., corporate worship, praying and reading God’s word at home) makes yielding to next temptations that much easier.  And when we keep allowing ourselves to fall into temptations—which constitutes sin and all sins, in some sense, are idolatry (i.e., choosing something or someone other than God)—our sorrows will increase and it grieves God as well (Gn. 6:6). 

Are you presently not walking with God the way you should?  Don’t make additional commitments to God (as in, “Lord, from now on I will daily pray one hour and read five chapters of the Bible), at least not at first. Instead, go somewhere quiet and meditate on a vulnerable God who, after saying, “I will no longer show love,” says in the next breath, “Yet I will show love” (Hosea 1:7).  Of course, God’s promise to renew His love for the wayward Israelites was fulfilled when His Son willingly died on the cross to pay for the penalty of our sins. It is in Christ God’s best for us is clearly articulated.  Yes, it’s truly amazing how the God of this universe would make Himself so vulnerable to express His love for us. 

So, start the renewing of your walk with God with an understanding of the Father’s infinite love for you.  Out of that deeper understanding of God’s love, repent, pray and read His word.

Prayer: God, I confess that I’ve gone after other lovers, maybe for an hour, or sometimes weeks at a time.  Instead of spending time with You in prayer and Your word, I used that time to pursue other things; forgive me. Help me to remember the sacrifice of Your Son, to never take Your love for granted.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 16


Lunch Break Study

Read Colossians 3:5 (ESV): Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Haggai 1:5-11: Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 8 Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. 9 You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Idolatry is defined as greed because that’s why Israel worshiped the rain god Baal and the fertility godAshtoreth.  So why did Israel run after other gods (Joel 2:19)?
  2. What was another cause that led Israel to seek other lovers, that is, more powerful nations2 (2 Chr. 16:1-10)?
  3. What will be the outcome of a life in which God is neglected while pursuing after other things (Hag. 1:5-11; Eccl. 6:2-3)?

Notes

  1. Once the Israelites settled in the Promised Land, they had to till the land to make a living.  In time, they learned from the Canaanites, who were more experienced farmers, that to ensure a good harvest, they needed to placate the local gods who controlled the climate (Baal) and fertility (Ashtoreth, also known as god of love and war).  Even though God promised to satisfy them, the Israelites worshiped other gods because they wanted more than God’s provision, which is greed.
  2. When Israel, while under attack, sought to form alliances with neighboring pagan nations, God considered that as “marital unfaithfulness.”  Just as God wanted Israel to depend on Him for everything at all times, He wants us to lean on Him, in prayer and in doing the right things.
  3. First, the inability to enjoy what we have; second, what we bring home is blown away by unexpected expenses.

Evening Reflection

How the time goes so fast; it’s already time for bed.  How was your relationship with the LORD today? Did you enjoy Him?

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