REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on February 18, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.”
In the story of Hosea, an 8th century B.C. prophet in Israel, and his adulterous wife Gomer, their children, who were named, “Not my people” (Lo–Ammi) and “Not my loved one” (Lo–Ruhamah), represented God’s indignation against a nation too busy chasing after idols. So furious was God that He later declared through Jeremiah (7:16), “Do not pray for this people . . . for I will not listen to you.”
Some 300 years later, the Israelites appeared to have changed since they offered sacrifices to God. But, by keeping the best for themselves while offering animals that had no value to them, God was insulted. To the list of “I no longer love you” and “I no longer listen to your prayer,” the Lord added, “I no longer accept your offering.” Since God’s holiness is beyond our imagination, none should be shocked by God’s displeasure expressed in this manner; however, if our probing stops here, we’ll get the wrong picture.
In the case of Hosea, notice what God had him do while Gomer, having run away, was working as a prostitute under her pimp. Hosea (2:8) wrote, “She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold—which they used for Baal.” Evidently, Hosea, still concerned about Gomer, went to her to give food and items showing affection. Apparently, the pimp intercepted them, presumably promising Hosea to give them to his wife. Gomer got some, being told that it was from the pimp; most of it, however, was used to worship Baal.
Its meaning? In God’s rejection of His wayward people, as well as their prayers and offerings, He continued to provide for their needs, for “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45).
What does this all imply? The time of discipline will be followed by a time of restoration: “I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God’” (Hos. 2:23). So, if you haven’t spent much time with Him lately, do so today. If you’ve been away from God, come back. Today.
Prayer: “Lord, I know I have been closer to you in the past than now. I recall the time when you found me, how joyous and thrilling it was. I am sorry that I let too many things of this world to get in the way of truly loving and honoring you. Forgive me. Help me to do better. I need you, Lord. Thank You. Amen.”
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 30
Lunch Break Study
During Paul’s second missionary journey (49-52), the apostle was in Lystra, speaking to pagans there.
Read Acts 14:16-7: “In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”
Hebrews 12:5b- 6, 10-1: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. . . . Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Matt. 7:24, 6: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. . . . But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”
Questions to Consider
- How does Paul express God’s love for these pagans who worshiped Greek gods? What does it mean that God sent Paul there to preach the gospel to them?
- Ultimately, why does God punish or discipline His children?
- What is the best way to avert God’s discipline of us?
- Even though these pagans neither acknowledged nor worshiped God, the Lord was still concerned that they had plenty to eat. He is not a petty deity but the God of the universe who is kind to all that He has made. But, of course, God wants more for them; thus, Paul was sent there to share the gospel so that they might be saved.
- When and if we respond to God’s discipline with a good attitude, we will come out more humble and pliable to Him. Subsequently, we will be able to lead more of a righteous and peaceful life (sinning less while producing good fruits more frequently). In short, it is for our own good.
- Whatever God tells us, through convictions we get while reading the Scripture, praying or hearing sermons, put it into practice right away. If we respond to God as soon as He tells us something, then that is one less reason for God to discipline or punish us.
As you go over today, in what ways did God demonstrate His love for you? Were you also able to express this love to others around you? Reflect on God’s goodness. Pray for a softer heart.