REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 22, 2016.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“God Gave You the Gift of ________”
Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” 8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
Whenever the late evangelist Chun Suk Lee, a physically imposing man, spoke, people listened; I certainly did in 1982 when he said to me, “God gave you the gift of language.” I had no clue what he meant.
We love Acts 2 because the 120 “were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues” (4). But what is often ignored is connecting this event with the entirety of what Jesus said ten days earlier. Of course, it’s easy to see why we become enamored with the first part of Acts 1:8: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” But some quickly associate this power with the ability to claim health and wealth from God. Had they read the rest, they would’ve realized that the power was given so that we can testify of Christ “to the ends of the earth” (i.e., all nations).
Nations or tribes (etnos) were birthed on the day when God confused the language of men. What was a common speech up to that point, which unified men in defiance against God (the tower of Babel), became so diverse that men, now unable to understand each other, “scattered over all the earth.”
However, at Pentecost, God, after gathering all nations (symbolically) scattered in confusion, began implementing the long awaited program of making them one again, not through a common speech but through the Holy Spirit, as Paul says, “We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks” (1 Cor. 12:13). Understanding and wonder replaced confusion and bewilderment as if God were saying, “I’ll redeem the nations that bear my curse.”
While I was becoming fluent in Spanish in Mexico where I served as a missionary, I wondered whether this was what Evangelist Lee meant. Perhaps. But the language that we need to gain fluency is the gospel that bears witness of Christ who was “slain, and with [his] blood . . . purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9), so that they may be one worshiping body before God (7:9). That is why we do missions. Now get busy!
Prayer: Lord, you are the God of redemption and for that I am infinitely grateful. Like useless and rusty junk, we could’ve easily been discarded for our sins, but You saw fit to send your Son to take our place to redeem us. Now that I realize that You want to redeem the nations, may I be a mission-minded Christian. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Exodus 40
Lunch Break Study
Read Jonas 4:5-11
Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” 10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
Question to Consider
- In what sense does this dialogue between God and Jonah reveal God’s heart? Keep in mind that these Ninevites (i.e., Assyrians) were cruel and ruthless people.
- What did God want to show Jonah through the object lesson of a leafy plant that died over night?
- There is no question that AMI takes missions seriously. In light of the morning QT and the Jonah narrative, what should be our motive for doing mission?
- Jonah hated these Ninevites for what they had done against Israel and they no doubt deserved it. However, here we see an amazing concern God has for these pagan Gentiles: “Should I not have concern for . . . more than a 120,000 people” who are spiritually blind? Those who say that God championed only the Jews in the Old Testament obviously never read Jonah.
- God showed Jonah three things: first, he cared more for silly plants than people; two, he cared more for his own comfort than eternal damnation that the Ninveites were about to suffer; third, God was using Jonah in spite of his immaturity and selfishness, not because of his greatness.
- We do missions to redeem the nations: first, we are to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19), i.e., people who don’t look like us; second, so that all nations are represented when the redeemed are gathered to worship God at the “wedding supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9, 19:9).
Before wrapping up this day, let’s pray for missionaries. Of course, AMI has its own missionaries: Kate, Paul, Nate, John, Esther, Kelly, Billy, Sung, Christina and Eun Mi in E. Asia. Also, don’t forget our interns sent from respective AMI churches. I am sure you know other, non-AMI missionaries. I do too and I pray for them regularly just as I pray for ours. Pray for open doors, wisdom, health and protection.