REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Yohan Lee, a friend of AMI, who in the past has served as a staff at several AMI churches, is an updated version of his blog first posted on March 13, 2015. He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Cairn University (MA).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“A Wistful Look at Life by a Middle-Aged Man”
1 Samuel 17:38-40
Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39 and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.
I probably overestimate my courage and commitment to the Lord, but in my younger years, I am convinced that if given the opportunity, I would have gone anywhere for Christ, gone through any type of suffering, even died for Him. Hey, as a cheap, fresh-out-of-college bachelor, my living conditions approached prison-like anyway (dirty, overcrowded, rodent-infested, no food anywhere, etc.)
Something dramatically happened to me between then and now. Now, I am obviously older and certainly more rooted; I have a wife and kids, and I live in a beautiful city, which will one day be the future home of Starfleet Academy. Now, if God asked me to give up seat warmers in my minivan, or cable television, or move to the suburbs, there would be a struggle in my heart to obey. On a more serious note, if I felt the call to serve God in the developing world, my thoughts would immediately jump to the safety and the well-being of my wife and young children.
What happened to me? Did I get soft? Yes, no doubt about it. Is it also true that my life got more complicated and the stakes got higher? Sure. But here is the biggest difference, I like my life now more than I did back then. I like being a dad, a husband, a pastor, where I live, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I liked life in my 20’s, but it doesn’t compare to what I have now.
I think the Bible sets up the David and Goliath narrative to imply that Saul should have fought Goliath, not David. Logically, the only person who would have had a chance against a giant would have been the guy who stood a head taller than everyone else in Israel (1 Sam. 9:2); in fact, David even goes out and fights in Saul’s armor! But before we are quick to label Saul a coward, think about all he had to lose, and ask yourself if you would have fought the nine-foot Goliath.
What stops you from taking risks for the Kingdom? Do you think about all you have to lose? Do you like the life you’ve built up or are building up for yourself? I’m not saying it’s wrong to enjoy life, but at the end of the day, would you rather be a lowly shepherd with God or a king without him?
Prayer: Lord, give me the courage to hold loosely to the things that I have so that I may cling tightly to You. Thank you for the life and existence that I have, but never let these things become an idol for me or a reason to not pursue Your Kingdom. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isiah 29
Lunch Break Study
Read Joshua 1:6-9: Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Right after Moses dies, God commissions Joshua to take his place and to conquer the land God is about to give the Israelites, but before letting him go, he gives the above instructions.
Questions to Consider
- What do you think Joshua had to fear?
- Why do you think the Lord chooses this place to insert instructions to keep the law in Joshua’s mind and heart?
- How does the Lord finally encourage Joshua? (v. 9).
- Joshua succeeded Moses, the founder of Judaism. He is also charged, after 40 years of wandering the desert, to conquer enemy land–pretty intimidating charge.
- Israel’s success, in fact, its existence is owed to God and God alone. God did not want His people to forget who they were, from where they came, and their charge to be a holy people, during this crowning moment. Also, focusing on God tends to help us forget less fearful things.
- The last encouragement is God’s promise of His presence.
What are the things that you fear to lose? Do you fear life without the Lord’s presence and power more? Does the Lord’s presence bring you the daily encouragement it is supposed to bring?