REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on February 12, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
Malachi 2:2-3 (ESV)
“If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it. So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts.”
What devotional thought can come from, “Spread dung on your faces?”
What a way to start the morning!
Remember what Peter did immediately after his reinstatement after denying Jesus three times?
Curious about John’s fate, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Not too pleased, “Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?’” Totally misreading this, Peter began to spread a “rumor . . . that this disciple would not die” (Jn. 21:20-3). What Peter mistook for a factual statement was a hyperbolic expression that aimed to capture the intense emotion through exaggeration. It’s like saying, “I’m so hungry I am going to die.”
“Spread dung on your faces” certainly is a hyperbole, but what does that expression represent? Is it God’s intense indignation against Israel for her contempt for God? That’s part of it, but this hyperbole goes beyond merely expressing his anger; God actually “already cursed them.” Called the curse of the Law, Deuteronomy 28:15-68 begins with, “If you do not obey the LORD your God . . . all these curses will come upon you. . . .”
So where is the good news in this? Though, as violators of God’s Law, we deserve to be cursed, we need not worry because “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). The next time you read about the Roman soldiers spitting on Christ (Matt. 27:30), consider this phrase “spread dung on your faces” as a hyperbole of that.
But then no hyperbole exists that can exaggerate what happened on the Cross where Jesus allowed himself to be cursed. Why? “So that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ” (Gal. 3:14). What blessing? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Rom. 4:3). In Christ, we are no longer cursed but blessed because we have become righteous (as if we’ve never sinned). What grace and privilege! What a way to start the morning!
Today, if you sense that your friend isn’t really walking with the Lord, or that a co-worker doesn’t know the Lord, begin to pray for her so that the “curse” can be lifted up in Christ.
Prayer: Father, I say the word “Holy,” without really feeling it because I am so used to things that are unholy in my life: my entertainment, my habits and my desires. While I may not fully understand your holiness, I know that you are holier than what I can ever imagine. Therefore, Lord, it must be so hard to deal with our unholiness. Forgive us! Don’t reject us. Thank you that in Christ, we have been accepted. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 14
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Cor. 5:21: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
1 Pet. 2:24a (ESV): “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. . . .”
Rom. 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Questions to Consider
- What is the ultimate consequence of God’s curses placed on those who break His Law?
- How is Christ able to lift the curse from those who have been cursed?
- What is the final result of having the curse lifted from us?
- Paul states that the wages of sin is death, which refers to spiritual death—a state of being eternally separated from God. That cannot be annulled in the court of the law (both human and heavenly) but must be paid by the perpetrator or his qualified substitute.
- Christ, who had no sin, therefore was under no curse, assumed our sin, and then paid for its penalty by bearing it in his body on the Cross. It’s like the co-signer of a loan who pays for it because the one who actually borrowed it declared bankruptcy.
- As a result, we have become the righteousness of God (i.e., obtaining absolute holiness, as if we have never sinned); now we can live to righteousness [i.e., enabled, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us, to do the things that please God (Rom. 8:9)]; and have eternal life (i.e., among other things, absence of sin and death).
Let’s assume that you didn’t have a good day; things just didn’t go your way today. Now, reflect on why this day can still be good and wonderful. Turn your eyes on Jesus and look upon his lovely face.