REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional, provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, was first posted on April 8, 2015. Peter is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Lord, Awaken My Calloused Heart”
1 Samuel 22:17-19
Then the king ordered the guards at his side: “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me.” But the king’s officials were unwilling to raise a hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 The king then ordered Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests.” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19 He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep.
This particular passage depicts a horrific and tragic event in Israel’s history. Saul, whom God selected to lead His chosen nation, has now become so engulfed in his rage, jealousy, and violence that he resorts to brutally—murdering 85 men who served the Lord. And if that wasn’t awful enough, Saul proceeds to make a blood bath in the town of Nob, killing all who were alive.
Such brutal edicts may have been perceived somewhat differently back then from the way we might understand them today. Nevertheless, we can readily see that there was something wrong and insidious about this order from Saul, for even the king’s guards had enough sensibility (and probably the fear of God) to refuse the order of slaying the priests. The price of the guards’ disobedience was probably very costly. It was indeed a day of mourning for Nob, David, and Israel.
For many of us living in the States, even if we are a casual viewer of today’s news, we see and hear of the real and deadly persecution (and at times, execution) of Christians living in certain areas of the world. For instance, just before Easter Weekend, militant terrorists opened fire at Garissa University College in Kenya claiming 147 lives—many of whom were Christians who had gathered for morning prayer.
Even upon such tragic news, many of us are too busy, too removed, or even too calloused to allow our hearts to be filled with compassion and concern. While our indifference pales in comparison to the wickedness of these terrorists, we become indirectly complicit in their crime against humanity by doing nothing. Let’s ask God to give us a heart that He has so that we, even for a brief pause, may consider, pray, and to intercede for many of our brothers and sisters who are risking their lives for the Gospel.
Prayer: Lord, I pray for the brothers and sisters who are facing immense persecution in the world today. Protect them. Comfort them. And amid persecutions, be near to them, giving them the strength each day to “rejoice as they participate in the sufferings of Christ” (1 Peter 4:13). In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 13
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Peter 4:12-16: Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
Questions to Consider
- How does Peter encourage the believers to respond to suffering and persecution?
- What is the outcome for those who undergo suffering because of Christ?
- Have you endured through some tough sufferings because of Jesus? If so, how did you respond? Have you been “blessed” through the ordeal?
- Peter tells the believers not to be surprised; rather, to actually rejoice when facing suffering and persecution and to “praise God” for bearing His name in the midst of suffering.
- When suffering for Christ, one is actually “blessed” as the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon that person. Therefore, in this place of blessing, one is capable of praising God in the midst of pain and sorrow.
- Personal response
Spend some time praying for others tonight, especially those around you who might be going through pain and suffering. Pray again for the Universal Church where many brothers and sisters are facing death because of their faith in Jesus Christ.