UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 29, 2013.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“God and Progressive District Attorneys: Similarity and Difference”
Psalm 10:1-4 (NIV)
Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. 3 He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. 4 In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
Thanks to our ubiquitous gadgets, we are kept abreast of all the latest news that make us squirm. These days it seems as though mass shooting is a weekly occurrence. The 8th century BC prophet Habakkuk, no stranger to looking at unmitigated injustice, wondered, “How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Why do you tolerate wrong?” (Hab. 1:1, 3b). Ironically, that’s what we say these days upon seeing lenient district attorneys in big cities being more sympathetic to criminals than their victims (e.g., Los Angeles, Manhattan, San Francisco, etc.)
There is, of course, no simple answer to this age-old question of why evil seemingly go unpunished but this much we know: Sooner or later, the God of justice, unlike progressive district attorneys, will settle the score. You can count on that, as God told Habakkuk, “I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people … [T]hey sweep past like the wind and go on …” (Hab. 1:6, 11).
Meanwhile, we look to Christ to inspire us to live on the side of justice regardless of whether that benefits us now. Even if we don’t fully understand what God is doing right now, we shall worship Him! The question is whether there is a room for Him in your crowded heart? Not just any space but a spot right in the middle!
Prayer: Dear God, I often wonder where You are in the midst of injustice and violence. It’s so easy to worship You when all my questions are answered, but as soon as something defies my human logic, I begin doubting You. LORD, forgive me and strengthen me to trust You more. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 3
Lunch Break Study
Read Lk. 13:1-5 (NIV): Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Question to Consider
- Why do think these people came to Jesus to tell him about what Pilate did?
- What do you suppose Jesus meant by his response to them?
- Does wickedness around us affect our own sense of righteousness? If yes, can that affect our spiritual lives (Lk. 18:9-12)?
- When we hear of calamities that fell on some people, we do wonder, however briefly, whether their sins have come back to haunt them. I think these Jews also wondered whether the victims of Pilate and the accident in Galilee got what they deserved.
- Jesus didn’t address that matter directly, for he was more concerned that those who told him this news wouldn’t assume that they were more righteous than those whom Pilate killed or the 18 people who died accidently. Once that was clarified did Jesus say that everyone deserves to perish due to their sins. If they are still alive, it’s by God’s mercy.
- Under such circumstances, I think it’s quite natural for humans to assume that they are more righteous (i.e., morally and ethically) than what they really are. As the cultural standard for decency gets diluted, more people are erroneously led to believe that they are really decent! This affects our spiritual life because we see no reason to repent. That’s why the biblical standard, which is both transcendent and universal, must be upheld.
Matt. 7:3-5: Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Are you overly judgmental of others, demanding apologies over minute matters while rarely seeing anything about you to apologize to others? These signs may point to someone who thinks more highly than he or she ought (Rom. 12:3). Examine your heart in view of this.