UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), is an updated version of his blog first posted on February 25, 2013.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! 47 He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, 48 who saves me from my enemies . . . 49 Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O Lord; I will sing praises to your name. 50 He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.”
Noting the adverb “therefore” at the beginning of verse 49, a cynical person may read this as, “I’ll praise God as long as I win.” That is, in fact, how Jacob prayed soon after leaving home abruptly. Genesis 29:20-21 reads, “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God.’” In other words, if there is nothing to eat and no new clothes to wear, then, LORD shall not be my God.”
Returning to today’s Psalm, surely, David won his share of battles, from slaying Goliath to defeating the Philistines. Praising God after a great victory, of course, was easy, but what about when David lost, for instance, to his own son Absalom, who, after dethroning and disgracing his father, plotted to kill him (2 Sam. 16:21-22, 17:11-13). Did his praise turn into grumbling? During the good times as well as in his worst moments, he kept praising God, even writing a psalm: “You are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head” (Ps. 3:3).
In the end, praising God should not hinge upon whether we were victorious, for victories come and go, but on His goodness; this was ultimately expressed in sending His Son Jesus to redeem us from the wages of sin. That is why we praise and worship Him; everything else is just a bonus.
Got problems? Do not focus on them; instead, turn your eyes on God and what He did for us through His son Jesus Christ!
Prayer: Dear God, I recognize that You have given me many victories in terms of countless answered prayers and blessings. However, I realize today that my thankfulness towards you is based more upon these things than on what You did for me through Your Son Jesus. While I’m still thankful for all these wonderful extras, I praise You because of Your Son who died to save me! Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Chronicles 4
Lunch Break Study
Read Exodus 12:24-28: You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. 25 And when you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. 26 And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
Questions to Consider
- Under what circumstances did the Israelites worship, fear, and trust God here? (Ex. 12:24-28;14:26-31)?
- Now, read what they did shortly thereafter (Ex. 15:22-5, 16:1-3, 17:1-3)? What was the basis of Israel’s “love” for God?
- How can we avoid loving God based on circumstances, i.e., loving Him only when they are good (Phil. 4:11-2; 1 Tim. 6:6-8)?
- The Israelites worshiped the LORD when God spared them of the deadly plague that killed every first-born in Egypt. Later, they were in awe after seeing the great power of God displayed when He parted the Red Sea. Subsequently, “they put their trust in God”.
- Amazingly, that trust lasted only briefly; as soon as they got thirsty or hungry, they complained to God, which eventually led to them to conclude, “Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Ex. 14:3). The basis of their love for God was, “What have you done for me lately?”
- One sure way to avoid loving God based upon circumstances in our materialistic society, is learning to be content with what we have. Paul put the content-level at its bear minimum: “If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” If this is not internalized, we will worship, praise, and trust God only when things are going our way.
Were the circumstances of today favorable to you or not so much? Did they affect your attitude toward God? Review your day:
Did anything happened at your work, home, or church that made you grumpy at God? Be honest about it.
In light of the morning devotion and afternoon study, what thought should guide us during our bad times so that we can continue to praise God? Before turning in for the night, dwell on that thought for a moment and praise the LORD.