March 25, Wednesday

The AMI QT Devotional for today is provided by Joe Suh who serves as a pastor intern at the Church of Southland (Anaheim, California).   

 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Hear and Obey!”

Jonah 1:1-3a (NASB)

The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.  

We are truly living in unprecedented, turbulent times.  With Covid-19 effectively changing the way we live our lives, it seems that our true character is being put to the test.  For those who are generally structured and like a daily routine, the government mandate for “Safer at Home” has brought about many challenges.  For those with school aged children, we now truly understand the difficulty in teaching our kids. I have found new respect for fulltime stay-at-home parents and for our schoolteachers!

However, amid the stress and anxiety, what is God calling us to do?  More importantly, when we hear God, can we also obey? I know many of us ask God to speak to us for direction for our lives.  However, it is important to note that just as much as we desire to hear God’s voice, there is another step that comes along with it.  The more important thing is to obey what we hear.  

As we look at today’s passage, we see very clearly that God was speaking to Jonah.  Not only did God speak, He gave Jonah very specific instructions. However, Jonah did not do what God asked; in fact, Jonah did the complete opposite.  Nineveh was east of him and he chose to go west, to Tarshish.  

By why did Jonah disobey?  As you read through Jonah, you come to see Jonah’s reasoning and motives. In short, Jonah did not agree with God’s request.  He did not see any good reasons to go to Nineveh and share the word of God with the Ninevites. To him, they were not worthy of God’s grace and mercy.  Really, Jonah had doubts about God’s judgment and discernment.

My guess is all of us have had experiences like this.  In the most difficult of life situations we question why God is putting us through it.  Even now, with a global pandemic there are those who are questioning God as to why. The reason is, because when we do not see the entire picture, we question God and start to doubt His goodness.  We only see what is in front of us and do not understand the bigger picture to come. This leads to a question of whether God knows what is best or do we know is best? The answer is obvious, but still our hearts lead us astray.  

Friends, as the world around us changes and our way of life is adjusted to something none of us ever expected, let us not let fear rule over us.  We have to remember that our God is good and His plans are what are best for us. God is calling for all us to lean on our faith in Him. Just because we do not fully understand, we cannot doubt who He is…our loving Father who knows what is best for us.  

Prayer: Heavenly Father in the face of uncertain times we look to You to lead and guide us.  May Your word be a lamp unto our feet. I pray that as Your people we will not ever doubt who You are and we can rest in You at all times.  I pray that You would be comfort and peace to those whose hearts are filled with fear and unrest. May Your mighty hand cover all of us during this time.  In Jesus Name, Amen!

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 58


Lunch Break Study

Read Philippians 1:21-26:  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is Paul’s dilemma?  What is he trying to convey to the Philippian Church? (vv. 21-23)
  2. How does Paul resolve the tension between the two choices? (v. 24)
  3. What is Paul’s choice and why? (vv. 25-26)

Notes

  1. Paul is trying to resolve the tension between his necessity and his desire.  Paul explains to the Philippians that his life is all about Jesus and the spreading of the gospel (necessity).  However, in death he would receive the ultimate reward. He was assured of his eternity in Heaven so he knew that his death would be gain (desire).
  2. Paul found great joy in spreading the gospel.  Since his conversion it was his life’s work to live out the calling he received.  He heard from Jesus and he obeyed. There was no question in him to ever doubt what he was called to do.  So, even though his desire was to walk into eternity, he knew what he had to do.
  3. Paul chose to remain and continue to preach the Good News to all who could hear.  There is joy in it and there was still work to be done.

Evening Reflection

Spend some time this evening reflecting on what God is calling you to do during this time.  Are you able to hear His voice? Are you able to live it out? Take some time to pray to ask God for clarity and discernment.

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