UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Matt Ro who formerly pastored Journey Church in Atlanta, was originally posted on May 28, 2013. Matt is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BS) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The God Who Hears”
Psalm 59:1-5 (ESV)
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me; 2 deliver me from those who work evil, and save me from bloodthirsty men. 3 For behold, they lie in wait for my life; fierce men stir up strife against me. For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord, 4 for no fault of mine, they run and make ready. Awake, come to meet me, and see! 5You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse yourself to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil.
Has the New Year gotten off to a disappointing start? In fact, has it been nothing short of disaster with situations in your life quickly turning sour and people around you acting very badly? Welcome to real life—something King David, who penned today’s psalm, knew all too well.
Psalm 59 is another psalm that has a historical setting from David’s life as it looks back to his first troubles with King Saul. Now, because some psalms seem like quaint poetry containing noble thoughts, we may lose a feel for their urgency. But in this psalm David’s urgency is vividly seen in vv. 1-2 with the use of words such as deliver, protect, and save. It is in prayer that we present our urgency and reason to God. David gives three 3 reasons why God should hear his prayer:
The first reason is that David was facing danger (v.3). God is omniscient yet wants us to call things to his attention.
The second reason has to do with David’s innocence (vv. 3-4). In David’s blamelessness (“no transgression or sin of mine,” “for no fault of mine”), he protests his innocence before Saul as an appeal to God with confidence. If we are innocent of wrong-doing, then we can have a similar confidence as we pray.
The third and the most important reason: The character of God (v. 5). “LORD God of hosts, God of Israel” contains a mouthful of names. Yahweh, the great personal name of God revealed to Moses on Sinai means, “I am who I am.” Elohim Sabaoth, “the God of hosts,” refers to both the armies of Israel and to the heavenly hosts. Elohi Israel, “the God of Israel,” refers to the God who has entered into a covenant relationship with Israel. All in all, we learn from David that we can remember God’s power by employing the various names of God.
Prayer: Father, I will hold on to Your name and character at all times. Thank You that You hear my prayers. I call upon Your name this morning with great urgency for You know my every need. It is in You that I will trust. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 13
Lunch Break Study
Read Ephesians 4:7-10 (ESV): But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Questions to Consider
- How is the church expected to demonstrate the power of God and thus influence society?
- What happens to the physical body when cells revolt?
- Application: Do you know what your gift is? Have you asked yourself: “What is the gift(s) that God has given to me since I am a Christian? What is the general area of ministry that he wants me to serve in? The impact on the church and the joy you experience is directly tied to those questions.
- Paul says that the power of the church lies in all Christians discovering and exercising their spiritual gifts. These gifts are given to us when we become a member of the body of Christ. We need to recover the strength God intended the church to exert in society. This happens as each individual exercises one’s spiritual gifts. That is also how a physical body functions: Cells do what they were designed to do. And the functioning of each cell helps the body to operate effectively.
- The body does not operate when the cells revolt. Did you ever experience a rebellion of the muscle cells of your stomach? We call it indigestion! It means that the body is sick, and it is not operating the way it was intended to. This also is a problem in the churches today. Many churches, having forgotten that it is a body, have tried to operate as another human organization; therefore, it has no more power than any other human organization at work in the world. But Paul reminds us that the secret of the operation of the church is that each Christian has a gift working together as a body.
- Personal response
How do you see your role and responsibility within your local church? Are there ways that you can use your gifts to better the body Christ? Take some time to journal what passions/gifts you have and how they could be utilized within the church.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the spiritual gifts You have given me. Let me not only discover them but to use them to better Your body and glorify Your Son in the power of the Spirit. Amen.