July 8, Friday

UPDATEDToday’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on June 29, 2015.

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“What Our Spending Really Suggests”

1 King 11:1-4

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. 3 He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. 4 For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

How many pairs of shoes do you need to keep your feet warm?  Imelda Marcos, the wife of the former president of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos (and also the mother of the just sworn in Philippine president), once owned 2,700 pairs!  How many championship rings do you need to adorn your fingers? Michael Jordan was quite content with three, after which he left the glory of NBA to toil in the minor league baseball. When that pursuit didn’t work out, he “unretired” to win three more rings.

Moving along, how many wives do you need to satisfy you? King Solomon, a man known for possessing keen wisdom, ended up with 700 wives and 300 concubines!  Somehow, a man who once asked God for “a discerning heart to . . . distinguish between right and wrong” (1 Ki. 3:9) became the mother of all fools!  Look, the writer of 1 Kings is being gracious to Solomon by saying, “Now King Solomon loved many foreign women”. It was more like lusting after an army of women. 

And the reason “his heart was not wholly true to the Lord” wasn’t so much because his wives introduced Solomon to foreign gods, which certainly exacerbated his prior spiritual condition. Rather, the moment the king looked elsewhere to fill the desire of his heart, he began a long slide towards becoming a cheating spouse to God (Jer. 3:14; Ez. 16:32). Yes, Solomon was miles away from what Augustine eventually discovered after his own escapade with a bevy of women: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

Evidently, Solomon did come back to his senses in his old age, realizing the futility of his life pursuits. While writing, “[God] has set . . . eternity in the hearts of men” (Eccles. 3:11), perhaps the king said to himself, “I had been a fool for trying to fill my yearning for God with accumulation of knowledge, wealth and women” (Eccles. 2:4-9).

One concept that eluded Solomon in antiquity and continues to elude Americans in the 21st century, who typically spend 110% of their income, is the idea of “enough.” I have a feeling that the current inflation does not change such spending habits. Underneath of what appears to be a mere financial foolishness is found a profound disconnection between God and us. Put it differently, the way we spend money suggests a spiritual problem; somehow God is not enough!     

While God does “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Tim. 617), we must never replace God with many wonderful things given to us by Him.  If and when that happens, we begin the spiritual slide towards one day becoming a cheating spouse to Christ.  Say “enough” when you have more than enough, and then focus on being “rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (1 Tim. 6:18).  

Maybe your present struggle is over money, lust, or power. If so, then, start talking to God about this today.

Prayer: Lord, I praise and exalt You this morning, for You are the most important Entity in my life.  Help me this day to put You first before all things.  Give me the heart and the character to do what is right before your eyes—no matter the cost—in my family, career or finances.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 5


Lunch Break Study 

Read Joshua 24:15: And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Song of Songs 2:15: Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.

Eph. 4:27: Do not give the devil a foothold.

Question to Consider

1. What is one lesson you can learn from the life of King Solomon from the standpoint that this wise man led a very unwise life for the better part of his adult life? 

2. What does living a wise life ultimately come down to, seeing that God’s wisdom doesn’t automatically makes us live wisely?

3. What should we remember when we notice that we are beginning to lust after things?  

Notes

1. Just having a lot of wisdom or knowledge doesn’t automatically make us live wisely or maturely.  In other words, there is more to living wisely than just having wisdom.

2. What Joshua said to his people before his passing is as true then as it is today:  When we are tempted to give into our lust—over another material thing or accomplishment that we don’t need or sexual temptation—we should CHOOSE God!

3. Giving into a small temptation here and there will add up, ultimately ruining the whole garden or life.  And that’s how the enemy works: he will begin with a toehold and end up with a body slam. For example, the 30 pounds we gained over a period of 6 months didn’t suddenly happen, but it began by gaining one pound at a time.


Evening Reflection

Looking back, what were some temptations that you faced today?  Why were you so tempted?  How did you handle them?  If you fell into one, confess your sin and ask God for power to choose that which is wise.  Remember, God does not leave us to fend off these luring temptations alone.  Apostle Paul states, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it(1 Cor. 10:13).  Take the “way of escape” that He provides!

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