REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Andrew Kim, was originally posted on June 23, 2016. Andrew is presently pastoring Alive Church in Montreal. He and his wife Jessie are the proud parents of two young boys.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Bono & Peterson Talking About Their Fondness for the Psalms”
Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof. You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? You make mankind like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler. He brings all of them up with a hook; he drags them out with his net; he gathers them in his dragnet; so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore, he sacrifices to his net and makes offerings to his dragnet; for by them he lives in luxury, and his food is rich. Is he then to keep on emptying his net and mercilessly killing nations forever?
Recently, U2 lead singer Bono met with theologian Eugene Peterson to discuss the Psalms and their significance. Both possessed a fondness for the Psalms. They marveled at its beauty and composition. However, what captured their hearts was its brutally honest nature. The psalmists never shied away from expressing exactly what was on their hearts, whether it was great joy, paralyzing confusion, or profound sorrow. There was no attempt to wear a mask before God, only a genuine vulnerability that laid it all out. And this is one reason why we sense that the psalmists’ relationship with God was marked by a real sense of intimacy and authenticity. It was not about appearing spiritual by praying the right words but about honestly inviting God into one’s interior life.
Just as the psalmists expressed their genuine concerns, Habakkuk voices his disbelief at God’s divine plan. Instead of hiding his confusion, he boldly complains: How could God use the evil Chaldeans to enact justice? Is He then to keep on emptying his net and mercilessly killing nations forever? It was his firm conviction that this was not a suitable plan and he let God know it. Just like the psalms, there is a brutal honesty that pervades the complaints of the prophet. The fact that he would dare complain to God speaks to the implied sense of safety he felt, and that his relationship was not merely one of slave and master but something deeper that allowed space for honesty. It was a real relationship.
Many of us struggle with being honest before God, because we are afraid of being wrong or punished. In turn, it’s become more about performing and acting as spiritual as possible in an effort to remain in His favor. Even our times of prayer have become religious obligations, where we try to pray the right words instead of expressing what’s actually on our hearts. However, what God desires from us is our hearts in its raw and unfiltered form. He desires honesty and vulnerability. He desires to hear about your complaints, frustrations, and joys. Of course, we do this with reverence and a healthy sense of fear, but it is only when we reveal our true selves that we allow Him to transform us from the inside out. Spend some time today praying and sharing with God. He desires to hear from His children!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, how majestic is your holy and loving name. I praise you and worship you. May my life manifest your grace and mercy in this world devoid of meaning and purpose apart from you. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 2 Chronicles 15
Lunch Break Study
Read Psalm 13:1-6: A Psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Questions to Consider
- Why is the psalmist frustrated?
- What is the psalmist’s mood in the beginning of the psalm and how does it change at the end?
- What would it look like for you to be more honest before God?
- The psalmist is frustrated because his enemies are triumphing over him, and God seems to be silent. He wants God to help him but seems like God is slow to act.
- He is frustrated and bitter in the beginning, but he ends with a statement of praise and trust in God.
“He sees the inside of all; and what men are there, that they are to him. He sees not as we see, but ponders the hidden man of the heart. No humble, broken, contrite soul, shall lose one sigh or groan after him, and communion with him; no pant of love or desire is hid from him….” –John Owen.