REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional Thought, first posted on August 21, 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
“Obeying God is Hard”
2 Kings 9:24-26
And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength, and shot Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow pierced his heart, and he sank in his chariot. 25 Jehu said to Bidkar his aide, “Take him up and throw him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. For remember, when you and I rode side by side behind Ahab his father, how the Lord made this pronouncement against him:26 ‘As surely as I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons—declares the Lord—I will repay you on this plot of ground.’ Now therefore take him up and throw him on the plot of ground, in accordance with the word of the Lord.”
The one phrase that stuck out at me in today’s passage is when Jehu says to his assistant Bidkar in v. 25, “For remember, when you and I rode side by side behind Ahab his father…” I wonder how Jehu felt about overthrowing Joram, Ahab’s son. Put it this way: imagine if you rode behind the king for many years, being his faithful army commander, supporting him in many battles, then leading a rebellion against his son. How would you have felt? I know that Jehu was no choir boy, but even he had to feel some remorse over what the Lord had called him to do. The truth is, obeying the Lord is sometimes hard, and it can drive a wedge between you and your loved ones.
A few years back, we were on the topic of sharing our faith in a Bible study group. One of the sisters said that she will never share the gospel to a close friend since when she tried it in high school, it ended up straining their relationship. I was a little taken aback because I had been going to church with her for over a decade, and I assumed that sharing the gospel was vital to her. Yet I know that this type of stuff happens all the time when it comes to following God—your friend one day can become your enemy the next all because of your faith.
In Matthew 10:34-35, Jesus says, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother…” In the end, Jesus never said that following Him would bring popularity and peace; sometimes, following Him will cost your relationships. The question we need to ask ourselves today and every day is, “How worthy is He?” Is He worth fracturing our relationships if need be? Is He worth your reputation if you have to stand up for Christ against popular opinion? Is He worth your job if you have to do the right thing? Is He worth your life?
Prayer: Lord, help me to know that You are worthy of it all. There is no relationship more important than my relationship with You. Help me to choose You— no matter the cost or heartache. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Zephaniah 2
Lunch Break Study
Read Matt 10:34-39: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.37 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. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Questions to Consider
1. What is the Lord’s point in this passage? Does He literally want us to be at odds with our parents or those in our household?
2. What are the relationships you have that compete with your devotion to the Lord?
3. What does it mean for you to lose your life and take up your cross?
1. Jesus was being very matter of fact. I don’t think His intention is for us to hate our parents; however, sometimes following Christ will bring divisions in the family. We see this happening to many non-Christian families when a family member converts to Christ. Following Christ can be a great divide.
2. This is a personal question; however, I have met a lot of parents whose love for their kids is borderline idolatry (or straight idolatry). I have also seen children who obey and love parents more than God.
3. Personal application question.
Who are the idols in your life? How can we release these people to the Lord? Are there relationships which you feel like you might have to strain in order for that person to know Christ or grow in Him? What does it mean for you to love God first and foremost?