NEW Today’s AMI QT Devotional is provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Always Perfecting Timing”
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law . . .”
“But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.’”
One thing we must get used to—the earlier, the better: God’s timing and ours are not usually synchronized. That is to say, God always moves according to His “internal clock”, and no one can rush or delay Him (unless, of course, God sovereignly allows it—see Joshua 10:12-14).
Consider the case of an old couple—Zechariah and Elizabeth (“they were both well along in years”—Lk. 1:7)—who had been praying for a child for an awfully long time. They were godly people whom Luke describes as “upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandment and regulations blamelessly” (Lk. 1:6). Nevertheless, being childless led the old couple to suffer “disgrace among the people” (Lk. 1:25).
In a perfect world made according to our thoughts and ways, which, of course, are different from God’s thoughts and ways (Is. 55:8-9), you would expect the LORD to gift this godly couple with a child. No, that didn’t happen for a long time, not until Zechariah was so old that, when an angel told him about the impending pregnancy of his wife, he said, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years” (Lk. 1:18).
So, why did God choose that moment to grant this couple’s wish? Well, their son—to be known, one day, as John the Baptizer—was going to be the last prophet of the Old Testament period whose role was to “prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him” (Lk. 3:4). So, the divine mind determined that John would precede the birth of Jesus in line with John’s role as the trailblazer for Christ. Subsequently, the birth of John had to occur precisely “when the set time had fully come [for] God [to] sen[d] his Son.” No sooner and no later!
Are you experiencing the anguish Zechariah and Elizabeth felt over uncontested prayers? It’s tough, right? Nevertheless, God is good, and His wisdom is infinitely greater than ours; at the end we are the ones who will be blessed by delayed answer to prayer. In the meantime, I recommend this old Maranatha song to you: “In his time, in his time. He makes all things beautiful. In his time. Lord please show me everyday. As you’re teaching me your way. That you do just what you say. In your time . . .” Let us “extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on [our] lips” (Ps. 34:1).
Prayer: Lord, I praise You this morning. Truth be told, I don’t have the strength to be patient as I wait for You to answer my prayers. So, please help me to be patient and praise You in the meantime. Help me to serve You faithfully as I wait for the arrival of Your time. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 43
Lunch Break Study*
Read Philippians 2:12-13: Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Questions to Consider
- In what way can verse 12 (“…work out your salvation with fear and trembling”) cause a bit of angst among Christians?
- How can we reconcile the apparent theological problem in verse 12?
- What is your understanding of the phrase “fear and trembling”?
- The statement seems to suggest that salvation can be obtained through good works.
- Salvation through faith in Christ alone, is a theological doctrine that the apostle Paul himself, under the Spirit’s leading, developed throughout his epistles (cf. Eph. 2:8-9). Therefore, Paul is not suggesting here that we are to earn our salvation through our good works which pertains to our justification. Paul, here, is mindful of sanctification, a process of transformation that ought to take place after we are justified in Christ.
- “Fear and trembling” isn’t so much this awful dread that God will zap them if they mess up; but rather, given the majesty of Christ portrayed in the preceding verses (vv.9-11), the idea appears to be that of reverent awe and wonder.
A day can go by so quickly. Before turning in for the night, consider these questions:
What are some personal or work issues that are causing you to lose sleep at night, or at least make you feel stressed? Did anything happen today that caused you to stress out even more? What have you done about them? Have you earnestly sought after God regarding these issues? If not, do you know why you haven’t? Do you have trust issue with God? Write out a prayer to Him honestly telling the Lord how you feel. Pray about your condition.
*First posted on September 14, 2013, it was prepared by Pastor David Alas.