REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on May 7, 2015.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“How the Heart Gets Hardened”
2 Sam. 12:1-6 (ESV)
And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
What was once unthinkable has become a norm and we think everything is okay. No, I’m not talking about same-sex marriage or transgenderism, but our hearts in general and David’s heart in particular.
The prophet Nathan, having been told by God to confront David, knew better than to openly rebuke the king lest he might lose his head. Even the valiant prophet Samuel was concerned that King Saul might kill him (1 Sam. 16:2) if the latter found out that he was searching for the next king. So Nathan came up with a clever story of a rich man forcibly taking the only lamb belonging to a poor man, and then feeding that to his guest. Burning with anger, David’s reaction—“The man who did this deserves to die”—was worthy of an Emmy, except this time he wasn’t acting. He was being genuine only because nine months of seeming tranquility had numbed his guilt and made him feel as though he really was the caring king who looked after a poor widow (i.e., Bathsheba). Perhaps David was patting himself on the back for being such a swell guy. How David’s heart had hardened!
But the holy God is neither blind nor stupid. Nathan’s tactful approach, no doubt prompted by the Spirit, made David his own accuser: “You are the man!” said the prophet, adding, “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?” (v. 7). This turn of event suggests that hidden and unrepented sin desensitizes the guilt, and soon we feel well enough to judge others for the same sin we have committed. Enjoy that while it lasts because that song and dance will soon end because, in time, “your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23); after that, there is only shame and misery. But here is the good news: Any time is always a good time to repent of our sins through Christ and get right with God, for He immediately grants forgiveness and new strength to make things right.
Hopefully, you aren’t anywhere near where David ended up descending; regardless, always confess your sins to God and ask Him to give you the strength to avoid the path toward where what was once unthinkable may become a norm to our own demise.
Prayer: Father in heaven, if truth be told, it is increasingly difficult to remain holy in this world. It seems like the guys who cut corners and are mean to people are the ones getting better grades or jobs—and have more clout and money! Remind me daily, O Lord, that my home is not this world, but that I am here to serve You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: John 21
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Jn. 1:9-10 (ESV): If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 Jn. 2:1: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
1 Jn. 3:6: No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
Phil. 2:13: …for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Question to Consider
1. What does the apostle John assume about our penchant for sinning as believers?
2. We are told to confess when we sin, what should be involved in our confession? What is repentance?
3. We have the Lord’s promise to help us, but what does that help really look like? How are we being helped to avoid falling into a sin trap that WILL cost all that is important to us?
1. The apostle John was neither an idealist nor a romanticist; rather, he was a realist. This man who, in his younger days, was called “A son of thunder” for his hot temper, understood sin. He knew we weren’t going to bat 1.000, but he also expected the believers to avoid habitual and intentional sins.
2. Confession involves the following: “I am sorry for what I did” (penitence); then to “I regret what I did” (remorse); and finally, “I’ll turn back from what I did” (repentance). Anything less than this is not genuine; it’s a foolish game we play with God.
3. The first line of God’s help is his church—not just showing up on Sunday morning for an hour of service but getting help from decent, compassionate, and gifted people who are there to encourage, teach, and even rebuke you so that you will live for God’s pleasure. Don’t battle sin alone! It’s a lot more powerful than we may think.
As you look back to this day in all seriousness, did you tell any fibs? Did you make up stuff to avoid a moment of embarrassment? I join you in confessing that these things come to too easy and far too frequently. Before we make another vow to God, why don’t we just go to Him and ask for His mercy?