July 30, Friday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor David Kwon who heads Journey Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, was first posted on November 29, 2013.  He is a graduate of Drexel University (BS) and Columbia International University (M.Div.).

Devotional Thought for This Morning 

“What God’s Steadfast Love Really Looks Like”

Psalm 118:1-16 (NIV) 

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 4 Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. 6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. 10 All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 12 They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. 14 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly, 16 the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!” 

In Psalm 118, the psalmist praises God for his “steadfast love” that has rescued and delivered him from various times of difficulty. The word translated as “steadfast love” (also as “loving kindness,” “mercy,” or “loyal love”) is the Hebrew word transliterated hesed. This is a very special word used to describe God’s unending covenantal love of His people and His commitment to fulfilling His promises to them.

Whether we deserve it or not, whether we’ve been faithful or not, God has committed Himself to His people (first through Old Testament covenants and ultimately through Christ’s blood). He has made promises (because He loves us) obligating Himself to care for us and bring forth His glory through us. This is immensely good news! 

Like the psalmist, we should praise God for His hesed, that is, His unending, unfading, unchanging love and kindness toward us. No matter what we do or what happens around us, once we enter into relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ, we know we have His loyal love for all eternity. 

Prayer: Thank You God for Your steadfast love for me even though I am so undeserving of such great affection.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 9


Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 23:1-6: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He takes me to lush pastures, he leads me to refreshing water. 3 He restores my strength. He leads me down the right paths for the sake of his reputation.4 Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff reassure me. 5 You prepare a feast before me in plain sight of my enemies. You refresh my head with oil; my cup is completely full. 6 Surely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days, and I will live in the Lord’s house for the rest of my life.

Questions to Consider

  1. How does David describe his relationship with God?
  2. How does David’s experience as a shepherd affect his understanding of God?
  3. Take some time to meditate on Psalm 23 today. In what ways has God’s  steadfast love (hesed) followed you in your life? In what ways have you experienced God’s faithfulness pursuing you (whether you desired it or not)? Then, spend some time thanking God for His covenantal love. 

Note

  1. In Psalm 23, David describes His relationship with God as that of a sheep to his shepherd. 
  2. He closes the psalm by saying that God’s steadfast love (also translated “mercy” or “faithfulness”) follows him all his days. In David’s experience, God’s loyal, covenantal love was not a passive emotion, but an active pursuit. God was so faithful to David that he believed God’s love was following or pursing him wherever he went. It’s comforting to have this understanding of the love of God. It’s important that we know that God is actively loving us (be it through blessing or discipline) and will always do so. 
  3. While Psalm 23 is a familiar passage that some may be able to recite from memory, it’s important that we allow David’s reality of God’s shepherding to become ours as well. I’ve used a less familiar translation to help you read and experience this psalm afresh. 

Evening Reflection

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Psalm 20:7 NIV)

It’s easy to trust in what we can see. For those living in the Old Testament, chariots and horses signified power, wealth, and protection. But God is the only one in whom we should put our trust. He is the only one whose promises are truly reliable. What are your chariots and horses? What are the things in which you place your trust over God? Surrender those things to Him and declare that He is the one you trust. 

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