REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional Thought, first posted on June 4, 2015, is provided by Pastor Yohan Lee, a friend of AMI, who in the past has served as a staff at several AMI churches. He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Cairn University (MA).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“A Rock and a Hard Place”
2 Samuel 24:13-14
13 So Gad went to David and said to him, “Shall there come on you three years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me.” 14 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”
My wife, being in pediatric healthcare, used to treat a pretty rare condition called hyperinsulinism, which is basically the opposite of diabetes—too much insulin is produced and the body is left without sugars. In some cases, children with HI will have large portions of their pancreases removed (where insulin is produced). An unfortunate byproduct of this operation is that patients inevitably become diabetics because the remainder of their pancreases cannot produce enough insulin. The alternative to this surgery is to constantly monitor the patient (8-10 times a day) and have the child be hooked up to a sugar-water IV, which severely impacts the quality of life.
Talk about being caught between “a rock and a hard place.” One has to feel for the parents who have to opt for or against this surgery, because it seems like a no-win situation: give my child diabetes or hook him up to an IV until he’s six. I am told that in medicine these types of difficult decisions come up almost daily.
In today’s passage, David is presented with a difficult situation: three years of famine, three months of persecution, or three days of plague. Granted, all of these represent punishment for something he did wrong, but it was up to David to choose. In the end, he opts for the plague, for in David’s mind, because the plague will come directly from the hand of the Lord, it represents the best chance to receive mercy from the Lord. What challenges me in this passage is David’s ability to hope in the mercy and goodness of the Lord in times where no “good” option presents itself. This is a trait that we must develop within ourselves because many times, life does not present us with good vs. bad choices.
So, whatever situation you may be facing today, “have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7 RSV).
Prayer: Lord, please give me the faith to believe that You are still able to show Your mercy despite difficult circumstances. Help me to remember that You are sovereign, and that You are working even in seemingly impossible situations. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 43
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 8:18-30: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Questions to Consider
1. How are the redemption of creation and our redemption related?
2. What do we learn about the work of the Spirit from this passage?
3. The doctrines of predestination and perseverance of the saints generate a lot of talk within the church, but how does Paul use these ideas as a source of comfort (vv. 28-30)?
1. In verse 23, we see that the Spirit within each believer groans for the redemption of our bodies; similarly, creation is also under the curse (v. 21) and longs for our redemption (v. 19). God’s children are truly esteemed in creation.
2. The Spirit intercedes on our behalf (groans for us, v. 26); but it is also the Spirit within us that will carry out the work of our salvation.
3. For whatever angst the ideas of predestination and the inability to lose one’s salvation may cause, Paul’s point in introducing these doctrines (vv. 28-30) is to bring comfort to the suffering church. Paul is essentially saying, “Look, I know you are suffering for your faith now, but remember that God finishes what He starts; and He started a work in you.”
Does the sovereignty of God impact your life and give you peace and freedom? Or do you fret about everything, as if life or death depend on you making the right choices? Do you believe that God works for the good of those who love Him, even in difficult situations?