UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 25, 2013
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“When It Comes to God’s Answer to Our Petitions, One Size Doesn’t Fit All”
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.11 Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.12 For he who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.
Is this psalm too good to be true? Certainly not. For instance, God immediately responded to the prayer of a terminally ill king (Hezekiah) who had just prayed, “I am troubled; O Lord, come to my aid!” (Is. 38:14b). Immediately after the conclusion of this prayer, “Isaiah . . . said, ‘Prepare a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil, and [you] will recover’.” (21).
Nevertheless, God doesn’t always rescue us in the way that we prefer! He may wait a while before helping us, like Jesus who waited until Lazarus actually died. (The Lord had his reasons.) And at times, God uses our trouble to rescue us from a more serious problem. Once, a child was kicked hard in the stomach by a bully, and his dad, while taking him to hospital, wondered where God was. During the examination, an ailment was discovered in the area where the kick landed that needed an urgent treatment. And sometimes, His comfort is entirely inward—His abiding presence through the Holy Spirit. This means the troubling situation remains unaltered.
The last thing we want is a nice formula. Are you in trouble? Look to His abiding presence even as we hope for a quick delivery. Pray!
Prayer: Dear God, I admit that at times, I have questioned Your goodness because You seemed distant from my problems. I do not want to see You merely as my problem-solver. You’re my LORD regardless of whether my troubles still afflict me. I thank You for your abiding presence. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 2
Lunch Break Study
Read Daniel 3:18: “Even if he doesn’t, we want you to know, O king, that we’ll not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Questions to Consider
1. Who said this and to whom was it said (Dan. 3:1-6, 13-8)?
2. What does their terse response to the king reveal about the basis of their faith (2 Cor. 5:6-9; Phil. 1:21-3)?
3. Their story ended happily (Dan. 3:24-7) but the same can’t be said about Paul whose imprisonment in Roman ended in execution. Did God not intervene (2 Tim. 4:16-8)? If He did, then in what sense?
1. The three young exiles from Israel—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—declared that to the most powerful man alive at the time: King Nebuchadnezzar of Neo-Babylonian Empire.
2. It clearly showed that they were moving by faith, not by sight, since their faith in God was not predicated upon His physical deliverance of them. I think such faith stems from, first, a strong desire to uphold God’s honor; second, trusting that something better (like being at home with the Lord) awaits after death.
3. In Paul’s case, all he got from the LORD was His inward presence (“The LORD stood at my side and gave me strength”) and that was enough! Since Paul already had accepted his imminent death (2 Tim. 4:6), being rescued from “every evil attack” meant that God will rebuff the devil’s accusation against Paul (Rev. 12:10) and gladly receive him into heaven, rather than be released from the dungeon. There is no trick to having this kind of faith: Paul practiced for many years a lifestyle of total dependency on God (Phil. 4:1-13).
Another busy day? Did you experience God’s tangible presence today? If the truth be told, because we have not cultivated sensing God’s inward presence, we miss out on his comfort. To hear Him, we need to hide his word in our mind, and learn to stay still before Him, so that God can impress upon our mind the words that we need to hear. How have you been doing in these areas? Before going to bed, stay still for a moment and allow the LORD to speak to you, through a thought, verse, or even a picture! If your life has been somewhat difficult, please receive His comfort through the inward presence of God.