UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by then (2013) staff of Remnant Westside Church in Manhattan, was first posted on September 5, 2013. It has been updated.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Things We Value in Life”
Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! 10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!
What are the things we value in life? If anything, losses of many kinds suffered by countless people during this ongoing COVID season have been a wakeup call to us—to consider our life’s priorities. I think this Psalm can help us to reevaluate.
The psalmist concludes this Psalm by confronting what we value and how we view our lives. As he has been pining for the presence of the Lord that would be found in Zion, the psalmist declares that being someone of a lowly station in God’s presence is far more desirable than to live among wicked people. He knows that the favor and honor of the Lord is far greater than anything else that can be gained.
This prosperity that the psalmist cries out for is directly related to our relationship with the “anointed one,” who is usually referred to as the king of Israel; when he prospers, all of Israel prospers. Ultimately, as the OT is the shadow of the things to come in the New (Heb. 10:1), this Psalm is foreshadowing the coming of Christ the King. By asking for God to “behold our shield” and “look on the face of your anointed,” the psalmist is asking for His favor upon the king. Yet, by stating that the Lord God is the “sun and shield,” there is acknowledgement that YHWH (i.e., kyrios, that is, Lord, which is applied to Christ in the NT) takes precedence above all else.
So what are the things we value in life? Do we value worldly blessings over the favor and honor of the Lord? Do we trust in our own strength to gain the desires of our heart, or do we trust that God will bless us and not withhold good things? This morning, let us re-evaluate what is desirable and what is not.
Let us believe the truth that a day at the courts of God, in His presence, is better than a thousand elsewhere. Pray that the Holy Spirit would convict you that God’s presence should take precedence over every other desire.
Prayer: Dear God, help me to open wide my spiritual eyes to see that You are eternal and permanent while everything I am working for in the moment will ebb away with the passing of time. Lord, strengthen my will to hold tightly to my hope in You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 4
Lunch Break Study
Read Philippians 1:9-11: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
Background tidbit: The city of Philippi was named after Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. The importance of the city is due in part to its location, which is right off of the Ignatian Way (a major road in the Roman highway system).
Questions to Consider
- How does the apostle Paul show his love for the Philippians?
- Why does Paul pray for the Philippians the way he does here?
- What do you think is meant by the phrase, “The day of Christ”?
- It is interesting that the apostle Paul’s deep love for the people of Philippi shows in his passionate intercession for them, for he prays that their love grows with knowledge and discernment.
- Paul prays for the Philippians so that they can know the things of God and continue to grow in their relationships with Him, which is marked by the fruit that Jesus bears in their lives. Basically, Paul wants them to have a greater capacity to adore and worship God!
- “The day of Christ” is mentioned for the second time in v. 11 (the first time in v.6), referring to the second coming of Christ when He returns in glory to raise His people from the dead and bring them into the eternal Kingdom.
Psalm 105:4: “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually.”
Prayer: Lord, I will magnify Your strength instead of my weakness and vulnerability, for I acknowledge that You are the One who gives me strength. I will cultivate a trusting heart, fully anticipating Your goodness, mercy, and strength at every turn. As a little child rejoices, I will allow and encourage myself to delight in who You are as my mighty, powerful, and strong God. Lord, be my joy and my song, for in your presence there is strength. Tonight, I thank You for giving me the privilege to stare into Your beautiful face of strength. Amen.