REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on April 20, 2015, is provided by Pastor Jason Sato who, along with his wife Jessica and three young children, serves in Japan as an AMI missionary. Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (BS) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.), recently planted an English-speaking church in Tokyo.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
2 Samuel 1:23-25 (ESV)
“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles; they were stronger than lions.  You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.  How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle!”
When a murderous dictator dies, what might be said in his obituary? What words might be used by an actual victim of his violence, whose very life was threatened multiple times? We probably wouldn’t hear words like “beloved” or “lovely,” yet this is how David describes Saul as he laments his death.
For years, David lived on the run, fearing for his life even though he had been chosen by the Lord as Israel’s next king. David had shown only faithfulness and mercy to Saul, yet time and time again, Saul sought his life. But rather than rejoice in his newfound safety or his impending coronation, David mourns over his enemy’s death and calls the daughters of Israel to weep over Saul.
David not only mourns his enemy, he exalts him. We are far more likely to remember the faults or the wounds caused by people around us than their good qualities. Yet David can describe Saul as swift, strong and mighty. He remembers Saul as the king who brought riches to Israel.
When I’m hurt by another person, it’s not that I wish any kind of violence against him. But if I’m honest, I would be disappointed if he completely got away with what he’s done. Many thoughts would run through my mind: “How would he learn his lesson?”; “Wouldn’t it be an injustice if there were no consequences for sin?”; “What if he sins against more people?”
David has no such thoughts for he is that rare man who is not driven by vengeance, self-righteousness, or even his own well-being. After many years of following the Lord and finding Him trustworthy, David is free to be moved by love. He is free from the need to be judge, and he can even mourn the suffering of his enemy.
The example of David challenges us to pursue mercy for those who don’t deserve it, just as the Son of God pursued mercy for us at the cost of His life.
Prayer: Father, we live in a world in which we sin against others and others sin against us. Give us grace to forgive freely and to bless those who have hurt us. May we trust you to be the righteous Judge that we might concern ourselves with acting always for the good of those around us, even our enemies? Help us to reflect your Son in this way. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: John 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 23:37-39 (ESV): O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!  See, your house is left to you desolate.  For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Question to Consider
1. What kind of people is Jesus speaking about?
2. How does Jesus describe Himself in relation to them?
3. Jesus is filled with compassion and even sorrow. According to verse 38, what contributes to this heart Jesus has for them.
1. People who reject God and murder those sent by Him. Jerusalem is the capital city so these are Israelites, people who should have been very familiar with God’s goodness.
2. Jesus describes Himself as a mother hen. Despite their rebellion, Jesus has a great deal of compassion and affection for the people of Jerusalem.
3. In v. 38, Jesus considers the coming judgment. In light of it, He looks upon the people who would later reject and murder Him with compassion.
Take a moment to think about your day. Did you have any opportunities to extend blessings to those who mistreat you? Are you harboring any bitterness from an offense that occurred? Take some time to bring these things before the Lord and pray that God would extend mercy and blessing to those who you struggle to love.April 21, Tuesday