August 28, Friday

NEW Today’s AMI QT Devotional is written by “NP”, a local staff serving at an AMI church in E. Asia.  A recent graduate of Columbia International University (M.Div.), he was just licensed by AMI. Congratulations!

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“A Little Yeast Works Through the Whole Batch of Dough”

Judges 1:27-35

But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land.28When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely.29Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them.30Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, who remained among them; but they did subject them to forced labor.31Nor did Asher drive out those living in Acco or Sidon or Ahlab or Aczib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob,32and because of this the people of Asher lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land.33Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them.34The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain.35And the Amorites were determined also to hold out in Mount Heres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, but when the power of the house of Joseph increased, they too were pressed into forced labor.

jason-leung-ZQ5YP_rdZ74-unsplashRecently, my mother was cheated out of some money. She signed up for a tour group, which was very cheap and provided good hotel accommodations and food. In the process of traveling, the guide took her to a shopping mall which sold some luxury goods at a discounted price, so she quickly bought the luxury goods. However, when she got home, she found out that she bought fake goods. When I heard my mother complain to me, I realized how easy it was for us to be deceived when we relax our awareness.

Before the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, God clearly told them to kill all the Canaanites. The message behind this command is this: “You will be easily seduced. If you live with the Canaanites, you will soon be lured away by foreign idols.” Yet it is recorded in this passage that the Israelites did not drive out the Canaanite natives, not because they were too powerful, but because the Israelites felt it was more “convenient” to keep them. We see that the Canaanites who were left behind became slaves of the Israelites. Maybe these Israelites thought, why drive them out? It’s better to keep them so we can enjoy their servitude.

But we know that with the death of Joshua’s generation, the Israelites began to be influenced by the Canaanites, leading them to deviate from the Lord. As a result, this led to the whole nation of Israel to become slaves. How ironic it was that these Israelites felt that they had enslaved the Canaanites, but they themselves were enslaved by the Canaanites.

So how far are we from being enslaved by sin? Do we sometimes feel that we are smarter than God, feeling like God puts too many restrictions upon us? Why should we drive these “Canaanites” away? And why do we have to be restricted in our behavior? Can’t we be more tactful? Why can’t Christians do this or that? Isn’t it the case in the world? Should we make good use of something “convenient”? Or does it leave us in the lurch? These are the problems that we need to think about, and we need to take them seriously.

Let’s spend some time in prayer today, asking God to give us a humble and obedient heart and wisdom to let us know how to behave.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, help me keep a humble heart in front of you, and let me understand Your mind. I know that Your intention is to bless me, not to restrain me. I thank You for giving me the wisdom to know how to act in front of You so that my life can be full of your blessing. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Chronicles 21


Lunch Break Study 

Read 1 Corinthians 5:1-8: 1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife.2And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?3Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,5hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.6Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?7Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.8Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

Questions to Consider 

  1. What happened in the Corinthian church? What is Paul’s advice on this matter?
  2. Why does Paul suggest that? What is the meaning of the analogy between yeast and dough?
  3. Paul called us to get rid of the old yeast and become a new batch. Is there anything in your life that needs to be removed to make you a new batch? Take some time to think and pray.

Notes

  1. There was a person in the church who had intimate relations with his stepmother, and Paul suggested that such a person should be expelled from the church.
  2. Paul is saying that when sin is not dealt with in the church, it will start to affect the whole church, just as yeast makes itself through the dough.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

Sometimes we overestimate our own ability, thinking that doing something once or twice will not affect us, and that we will not cross the boundary. God reminds us not to underestimate the influence of sin, but to humble ourselves in front of God, to examine our hearts, so that we can have a pure and flawless heart in God’s sight.

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