REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on October 8, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“What a Good Son Looks Like in Real Life”
Ephesians 6:1-2 (NIV)
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth.”
A Korean pastor who recently immigrated chose “Jonathan” as his American name, saying, it’s because “the Bible doesn’t mention any of his faults.” Perhaps he was impressed by Jonathan, who, as the successor to the throne of King Saul, selflessly acquiesced his kingship to David (1 Sam. 23:17). But those who are into nitpicking may find Jonathan at fault for standing up to his father, who couldn’t understand why he was so willing to let David be the king. So Saul reminded him, saying, “As long as [he] lives . . ., neither you nor your kingdom will be established . . ., he must die!” (I Sam. 20:31).
What should a good son do? I remember a pastor, while teaching on obedience, said, “God won’t hold a son responsible for obeying his father who ordered him to rob a bank.” Undoubtedly, this person would object to Jonathan who responded, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” (v.32). An infuriated Saul, then, “hurled his spear at him to kill him” (v.33). Jonathan, after leaving the “table in fierce anger,” was “grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David” (v.34).
A cursory reading of the Bible is enough to realize the importance of obedience, but there is an important distinction between obedience to God and obedience to someone who is not God. Since God is never wrong, when He commands us to do something, our response must always be a full compliance. But when our rightful authorities command us to do something, there may be times when we should not obey them, since they are fallible humans. Saul’s desire to kill David was against God’s will, thus, Jonathan didn’t obey his father.
This type of issues arises in Christian families as well, and sometimes, it breaks up relationships. What really heartens me about Jonathan occurs at the very end of his life: Despite being upset at Saul, his last hour was spent fighting along with his father against the enemy, and even dying with him (31:2).
In life, we have our differences in the family, but don’ let it destroy relationships. Maybe you need to reconcile with someone in the family. Do it today.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 21
Lunch Break Study
Read Acts 5:1-5, 7-10a: But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. . . . 7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last . . .
Matt. 10:37 (ESV): “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Questions to Consider
1. Why did God punish this couple?
2. Assumably, the idea to cheat and lie to God came from the husband. What should Sapphira have done? How should she have handled the situation?
3. In light of this, how should we interpret Matt. 10:37? What would you have done?
1. This couple wasn’t necessarily punished for keeping a portion of the money they had received for selling their property. But the couple was punished because they pretended to have given all the money to church, which is what they said they would, when, in fact, they didn’t.
2. The answer to “what” is much easier to answer than “how.” It’s obvious that she shouldn’t have agreed to lie to God. As to “how” she should have handled this, it is always good to reason things out before turning it into an “either/or” or “do this or else” type of proposition.
3. I think what Matt. 10:37 teaches is this: Living by God’s truth and obedience to Him always takes precedence over any familial obligations. One difficulty is discerning which issue is black-and-white and which is not. The matter involving Ananias and Sapphira was a black- and- white situation.
What decisions did you face today? Did you face a situation that called for you to compromise your
principles? Thank the Lord for making a good decision; ask for forgiveness if you caved in.