April 13, Monday

NEW Today’s AMI QT Devotional is written by Pastor David Son who pastors the Thrive Church in Taipei.  He is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley (BA) and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.). Stay up to date with the church plant by following them here: https://www.instagram.com/thrivechurchtaipei/

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Shame and Blame”

Genesis 3:8-13

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

s-l-8ZnjpohnfoY-unsplashReading through the news, I couldn’t help but notice different nations’ reactions to the coronavirus pandemic in their own country. In a recent article I read, there was speculation that the Japanese government has been covering up the number of COVID-19 cases, reporting lower numbers than were actually known. Although the cover-up didn’t help alleviate the situation, I can understand how Japan may have wanted to save face and appear more put-together, especially in light of the coming Tokyo Olympics. On the other side of the world, as the case count continues to swell in America, many Americans have resorted to playing the blame game, pointing the condemning finger at China, and/or other Asians.

A crisis always reveals the ugliness of our hearts. We shouldn’t be surprised at either of these reactions to the virus… nor should we consider ourselves above those who have reacted in these ways. The truth is, when things go wrong it’s human nature to either hide or cast the blame. This was true from the very beginning. After committing the first sin, Adam and Eve initially tried to hide. When they were eventually discovered, they immediately placed blame away from themselves. Isn’t this how many of us often deal with our own sin?

I, too, lived in hiding for nearly a decade, as I was battling addiction to pornography. Even now, I am inclined to hide my flaws because of fear of being put to shame. But the good news is that we don’t have to hide anymore! Nor do we have to accuse others for our own shortcomings! Psalm 51 says, “a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” This is great news! King David knew this very well. He didn’t pretend to be perfect, nor did he cast blame on others for his own faults. Instead, he brought his broken self to God, confessed, and repented. Did doing this solve all of David’s problems? Not necessarily (David had one of the most messed up families of all time). But it did do one thing for sure: it brought him into an intimate relationship with God.

No one is sure when or how this pandemic will end. Much like our struggle against sin, it seems like there will be lingering consequences. The question I have for us this morning is: how will we respond to crises in our lives? Will we hide? Or cast the blame? Or own up to our own flaws and seek the mercy of God. The good news is that He will never turn away a humbled heart. May we humbly seek Him now, more than ever before.

Prayer: Father, humble our hearts during a time of crisis. May we not be quick to blame, nor hide away in fear. Rather, may we trust in your goodness and faithfulness. May we trust You to be You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 14


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Samuel 15:22-23: And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you (Saul) have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Why did God reject Saul as king?
  2. According to this passage, what does God delight in, more than sacrifices?
  3. What does this mean for us?

Notes

  1. God rejected Saul because he disobeyed God’s direct orders. Instead of destroying everything in his victory against the Amalekites, he allowed the people to plunder the livestock and spoils of war. When confronted with his sin, Saul refused to repent, and instead cast the blame on the people. When that didn’t work, Saul admitted to his sin, but asked Samuel to appear before him in front of the people, in order to save face. Overall, this was a man who was more concerned with pleasing people than obeying God.
  2. God delights in obedience, more so than offerings and sacrifices. To be clear, offerings and sacrifices were part of God’s instructions to the Israelites on how to worship. So, offerings and sacrifices are actually good things. But the point is that God would RATHER have us simply obey him, than go through all the proper worship procedures without a willingness to obey him in our lives.
  3. This means that there is something that God desires, even more than our singing, prayers, and tithing… it’s obedience! Have you been living in obedience to God?

Evening Reflection

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This evening, let’s spend some time praying for our nation’s response to this present crisis. On both a physical AND spiritual level, let’s pray for an attitude of humility. And let’s pray that God would pour out His mercy upon us all.

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