UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Matt Ro who formerly pastored Journey Church in Atlanta, was originally posted on May 24, 2013. Matt is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BS) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The God of a plentiful Harvest”
Psalm 64:1, 9-13 (ESV)
Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed . . . 9 You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. 10 You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. 11 You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. 12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, 13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.
Most of us did not grow up on farms, which means we are at a disadvantage when reading psalms that are based on the cycle of farm life. Sometimes it’s hard to grasp the full picture.
In todays’ psalm, by using harvest imagery, the psalmist describes the God of the harvest who gives us bountifully. Derek Kidner, in his commentary writes, “The climax of this psalm, a stanza as fresh and irrepressible as the fertility it describes, puts every harvest hymn to shame as plodding and contrived. Here we almost feel the splash of showers and sense the springing growth about us.”
Verses 9-13 speak of how God is the God of a plentiful harvest. It tells us that God is gracious to His people. The first thing we see is that God cares for the land by watering it (vv. 9-10), providing an abundance of water that makes the crops grow. It is not the farmer who produces growth, but it is God. In the parable of the rich fool, it says that “the land of a rich man produced plentifully” (Lk. 12:16). And that is grounds for praising the Lord who richly provides for us.
The last line of the psalm (v. 13) reminds us of Luke 19:40 where Jesus says, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” The point is that if inanimate objects praise God for His works, we who are recipients of His grace should too!
Our God gives good gifts to His people abundantly! In light of that, let’s start this day by thanking God for His wonderful provisions for us day in and day out.
Prayer: Father, all year around, you bless us richly. We give to You our emotions of gratitude. Whether we are asleep or awake, Your mercy waits upon us. We praise You this morning and magnify Your name from whose bounty all goodness flows. We yield our gifts to Your cause. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ecclesiastes 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Ephesians 5:15-20 (ESV): Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .
Questions to Consider
- What steps do I need to take to ensure that I draw from God’s wisdom as I seize opportunities in life (vv. 15-17)?
- What does v. 18 teach us about the contrast between two extreme approaches to life?
- How do we react to the severe demands and pressures of life? Are we learning to acknowledge the Spirit of Christ within us, and to be overflowing with His Presence?
- We need to walk in God’s wisdom for our lives to truly count. In the Bible, King Solomon is considered to be the wisest man that ever lived. But his wisdom did not come by accident, for at the start of his reign as king, God promised him, “I will give you a wise and discerning heart” (1 Kings 3:12). This same wisdom is available, from the God of all wisdom, to us believers. Today, let us determine in our hearts to ask God for the wisdom we need as we proceed in all the areas of our lives, not just the areas we consider as important. Let us draw the wisdom that is available from God’s abundant resources. When we walk in God’s wisdom, we are “as wise, making the best use of the time” (Ephesians 5:16).
- Paul puts two things in contrast, one against the other. First, he says don’t get drunk with wine. This suggests that there are things in life that create pressures and demands upon us, so much so that we feel the need for some stimulation; something that we turn to in order to receive strength or to aid our confidence. But Paul says not to be excessive in wine or any other synthetic things because it so easily leads to lack of control. The word here translated “debauchery” is the Greek word for “without any limits” or “with reckless abandonment.” It refers to escapism and the tendency to throw all restraints overboard and live without control. But in contrast to that, he says to satisfy that need for something to stimulate and strengthen you by being filled with the Spirit. There is no need to feel ashamed over the sense of need since we were not made to be self-sufficient, independent creatures. Because you feel like you need something to help you, to strengthen you, to make you feel adequate to face life, you do not be troubled by that. You do need something, but let it be the right thing: Be filled with the Spirit.
- Personal response
Let me share some further thoughts from this afternoon’s study.
The moment you become a Christian, you receive the Spirit, but we constantly need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The filling of the Spirit is receiving from Him the resources we need in the situation we are in, an inner supply of strength if you will.
Too often, we miss this. We think that Christianity means coming to church, getting a blessing, then going away to live in the warmth of that blessing until it runs out, and then we come back to church to get filled again. That is not God’s desire. Jesus told us that the person who drinks of Him, “out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water” (Jn. 7:38b). By that, he meant the Spirit would strengthen us from within and that we have access to that supply.
Prayer: Father, I pray that You will teach me to draw upon the well of wisdom and power within. Help me to know that You are prepared and ready to live Your life through me in every situation and thus manifest Your grace. Amen.