June 10, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals for June 10-11 are provided by Charles Graham.  Charles, a student at Talbot School of Theology, attends Kairos Christian Church in San Diego.

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The High Priest’s New Clothes Part 1: The Ephod and Breast Plate”

Exodus 28:6-14

“And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and of fine twined linen, skillfully worked. 7 It shall have two shoulder pieces attached to its two edges, so that it may be joined together. 8 And the skillfully woven band on it shall be made like it and be of one piece with it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. 9 You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, 10 six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11 As a jeweler engraves signets, so shall you engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall enclose them in settings of gold filigree. 12 And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders for remembrance. 13 You shall make settings of gold filigree, 14 and two chains of pure gold, twisted like cords; and you shall attach the corded chains to the settings.

In spending time in the New Testament, I came across a passage that fascinated me deeply in the Gospel of John: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life;

and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39) [ESV].

In the first century, to refer to the Scriptures would be to refer to the Old Testament. If the books of the Tanakh (i.e., Law, Prophets, Writings) testify of our Lord, then they ought to be studied and enjoyed with every bit of fervor as the New Testament, right? Thus, studying Exodus 28 was an opportunity to have some fun looking for Jesus in the Old Testament. Here’s some of what I found.

In the latter half of Exodus, God instructs the Israelites to function as His representatives on Earth. This includes protocols for worship and the priesthood, down to the clothing of the high priest (Aaron, brother of Moses). Exodus 28 covers the details of Aaron’s attire, seemingly painting a picture of the coming Jesus in the process. Painstakingly made, the priestly garments are “… for glory and for beauty,” (Exod. 28:2 ESV). Aaron’s coat, undergarments and turban are all white, signifying purity. The ephod is made of gold and woven skillfully with blue, purple and scarlet yarns matching the inside of the tabernacle (Exod. 26). On its shoulder pieces, the ephod has two onyx stones engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel. The breast piece is made in the style of the ephod, with the same blue, purple and scarlet yarns. On its front, the breast piece contains four rows of stones, each engraved with the name of the sons of Israel (Exod. 28:15-21).

Now, Aaron, as the high priest, is tasked with bearing the tribes of Israel on his shoulders and his heart (Exod. 28:12, 29). Apparently, only once a year Aaron would shed the breast piece and the ephod, and that was on the Day of Atonement. On this day, Aaron was simply to wear the all-white coat, turban and undergarments; this is to say, he was to shed his glorious clothes, and enter the tabernacle dressed humbly and pure.

Interestingly, Jesus is called our High Priest numerous times in the Book of Hebrews. To perform His work of atonement, Jesus entered creation without extravagant garments, temporarily setting aside His glory and standing pure within Himself. However, rather than bearing the weight of just Israel on His shoulders and heart, Jesus bore the weight of all His people when completing His work. Could it be the Aaronic priesthood and its garments were a glimpse of the true High Priest to come? If all of creation speaks to God’s invisible attributes (Rom. 1:20), then is it possible Jesus can be found in much more of our lives than what we currently perceive? I challenge us all to look, and then worship Him and serve Him.

Prayer: Father, Your Word speaks of Your works and wonders from beginning to end; thank You for leaving us pictures of Your Son to look forward to as we spend time in Scripture. Holy Spirit, as You dwell within us, I pray You would open our eyes wider, giving us daily reminders of the Son, His work and the cost of our atonement. Thank You, for everything. In Christ, amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 2 Samuel 2


Lunch Break Study

Read Hebrews 4:14-16:  Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of nee

Questions to consider

  1. What are some differences between Jesus and the Aaronic priests?
  2. What makes Jesus a better High Priest for us?
  3. Think about the last time you were comforted and encouraged by our high priest.

Notes

  1. While the Aaronic priests needed priestly attire to outwardly display themselves as God’s priests on Earth, under the garments stood, still, a sinful man. By contrast, Jesus’ outward appearance was humble, being that of a simple carpenter. Jesus carried the necessary glory and purity to serve as God’s Priest on Earth within Himself.
  2. I think Hebrews 4:15 hits this one on the head: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (ESV). We do not serve a God who arbitrarily makes rules for us to follow and punishes those who cannot keep to them. Rather, our God leads by example, having been tempted in the same way as we are, yet walked among us without sin. What’s more, our God provided Himself as the final sacrifice for His people to draw near to Him.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

Clearly there are parallels between the garments of the Aaronic priesthood and the true High Priest, Jesus. Sometimes people refer to the parts of the Old Testament where specifications of the tabernacle are described, or the Law is given to the people, as the “dry” sections of the Bible because the narrative of the story is somewhat paused. Professor Dave Talley (Talbot) once remarked, “…it seems everyone likes watching the dominoes fall, but not so much watching the dominoes get set up,” while commenting on the Old Testament. I had never thought of it that way.  So, if we love Jesus, then we should love the whole Old Testament as well, dry stretches and all, because Christ is all over it.

June 9, Sunday

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Residual Glory”

Exodus 34:29-30 (ESV)

It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. 30 So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.

There’s something about the holiness of God that strikes fear in people, and we can’t quite grasp the magnitude of God’s holiness. Holiness, for our purposes, can be described as “set apart, or other-worldly.” A while ago, there used to be a popular phrase “Jesus is my homeboy.” Although Jesus is certainly our friend and we can approach Him freely because of His invitation to do so, we must realize that the holiness of God is still something to behold. There is something “other-worldly” about God that we cannot comprehend.

In Daniel 8:17, when an archangel Gabriel approaches Daniel, the holiness of the angel—not even the holiness of Jesus—causes him to fall prostrate on the floor. When Isaiah sees a vision of the Lord, he immediately says, “Woe is me, for I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” In Revelation 1, when John sees a vision of Jesus, he falls at His feet like a dead man. God’s holiness strikes fear in people.

When Moses came down from speaking with God, his face lit up because of the holiness of God. I think if I were there with Aaron and the others, I would be freaked out too, especially because of what happened just before Moses went back up the mountain. So if you don’t remember, Moses was meeting with God on the mountain for quite some time, and the people asked Aaron to make a god for them, in which he crafts a golden calf. Moses is furious and instructs the sons of Levi to slaughter those that had committed this atrocious act of worshipping this golden calf, and three thousand of them were slaughtered that day. But I think the fear of the people goes beyond this fear of punishment—there is a certain fear when we come face to face with the holiness of God when we ourselves are muddled with sin and darkness. It’s a natural reaction.

I’m reminded of the story of Jesus and Peter (Luke 5). Jesus performs this incredible miracle that leaves Peter speechless. All Peter can say is this: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” It’s not the miracle that scares Peter; it’s the holiness of Jesus that frightens him. He recognizes his sinfulness in the face of the holiness of Jesus. But this is what Jesus says to Peter: “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” I think we have to hold this tension in the right manner. The holiness of God should strike a reverent fear in our life, so that we know that the grace of God is not to be taken lightly and nonchalantly. We know the punishment that was coming for us that was graciously taken by our Lord Jesus Christ. We must work out our salvation with this fear and trembling. However, we also don’t have to be afraid to enter into the presence of God. Because of the blood of Jesus, we have full access to our Father in Heaven and the fullness of His glory. Perhaps this is the radical middle of our approach to God – full of reverent fear, but unafraid to run into the arms of our Holy Father.

We are privileged to live in such a time like this. We have seen the full glory and holiness of God the Father through His son Jesus Christ. Our face too should shine with the residual glory of God, so to speak. May our lives be an awesome testimony to those around us – that it would strike an awe and wonder to the world we live in, bringing more and more to the saving knowledge of the good news of Christ.

Prayer: Father God, what a privilege to live in a time like this. What a privilege it is to know that You have come to make Yourself known to us in Your glory and splendor. May I live my life with this fear and trembling as I continue to be shaped by Your holiness, but may I also live with the confidence that I can run into Your loving arms. May the glory that resides in me cause my face to shine in the dark places of this world. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: 2 Samuel 1

June 8, Saturday

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“God Is a Jealous God”

Exodus 34:11-17 (NASB)

“Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. 12 Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. 13 But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 —for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God— 15 otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods. 17 You shall make for yourself no molten gods.”

We typically think of the word “jealous” with a negative connotation, because after all, didn’t God say, “You shall not covet?”—meaning, you shall not be jealous of your neighbor, but be content with what you have. Don’t you find it strange then that God refers to Himself as a Jealous God? Yet there is a difference between a righteous jealousy and an unrighteous jealousy. Righteous jealousy is one that is jealous for what actually belongs to you; whereas, unrighteous jealousy is one that is jealous (or envious) of what does not belong to you. For example, if I were jealous of my friend who just bought a brand new car, that would be an unrighteous jealousy. And unrighteous jealousy breeds discontentment—and discontentment can spiral into all kinds of problems.   

An example of righteous jealousy that I read says this: If another man comes up to my wife and flirts with her, I would clearly be jealous. I would be righteous in my jealousy because my wife and I are committed to one another. She belongs to me and I belong to her. Can you imagine if I were completely okay with it and just let it happen without stepping in? It would actually be a bit absurd if I were not jealous at all.

God is jealous for the people of Israel because He calls them His people—meaning, they have entered into a covenant relationship with Him. As much as His people belong to Him, He is committing Himself to them and saying that He belongs to them. We see this theme throughout the Bible – God’s jealousy for His people. God doesn’t want His people entering into covenants with other gods. He warns them again and again not to whore after other gods in the land that they are about to enter, but this is exactly what Israel does.

When you look at the history of Israel, it’s actually pretty sad. God spends the majority of the exodus years trying to convince His people of His love for them and make them into a holy nation.  But shortly after they enter the Promised Land, they turn quickly to idols; and for hundreds of years they do exactly what God tells them not to do. In fact, if you look at the history of Israel, only small portions of their existence as a nation are spent on being faithful unto God. For the most part, they are unfaithful, constantly giving themselves to idol worship. It culminates with Solomon building a temple for the LORD, but immediately filling this temple with idols from all ends of the earth for political expediency.

Though many of us may no longer have idols made out of wood or stone, we have many idols of the heart that we need to address. There are many altars and sacred pillars in our lives that God is instructing us to smash and destroy. Could it be that as you are moving forward in life, there are dangerous idols that must be destroyed so that you could remain faithful unto God? Maybe you are graduating college, and the idols of money and recognition are at the doorstep. Or you are about to get married, and the idols of your spouse and future children are ones that God wants you to give to Him. Maybe you are considering transitions in life and the idol of “your plans” is what God wants you to release to Him. Whatever may be an idol of your heart, remember that God is jealous—He’s jealous because He loves you with a passion and you belong to Him. He asks you to destroy these idols before they destroy you. Let’s never forget that our God is a jealous God, who is rightly jealous for us!

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your love for me, and that You are jealous for me and for my heart. As much as I want to love You with all of my heart, it is difficult, because there are so many temptations and possible idols every corner I turn. But Lord, help me to destroy these snares, so that I may rightly love You as you have passionately love me. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 30-31

June 7, Friday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Character of God”

Exodus 34:6-7 (NASB)

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”

God’s loving kindness and mercy and compassion is on display here. If you recall where we are in this story, Moses has returned to Mount Sinai to renew the covenant on behalf of Israel. Israel had broken their covenant with the Lord by worshipping a golden calf, for which three thousand are killed that day. Where is the mercy of God? Where is the compassionate and gracious God who is slow to anger? First of all, we need to understand that God has already been incredibly slow to anger toward the Israelites. Even though God has shown Himself again and again by rescuing His people out of Egypt through signs and wonders and pledged Himself to them, they committed spiritual adultery by worshiping a golden calf, a god made from their own hands.

Secondly, it’s important to understand what God is saying here, because it can be easy to see His statements as contradictory when read the wrong way. Yes, He does show loving kindness, forgiveness, and grace, but only for those that will repent and turn back to Him. In Exodus 32, Moses cries out “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me!” The sons of Levi gather to him and they are spared from the wrath of God. This is a picture of God’s call to us – whoever is for the LORD, must return to Him and receive His forgiveness, His compassion, His loving kindness. However, God will not leave the guilty unpunished, and He will punish the sins of those that remain unrepentant, even to the third and fourth generation. Does this sound familiar? The first time God makes a covenant with the people of God (in Exodus 20), He tells them not to make any idols, because God is a jealous God who visits the iniquity of the fathers on their children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Him.

As much as God is Love, Mercy, Compassion, Forgiveness, God is Just. His justice and wrath will come upon those who hate Him, and it makes sense for Him to do so. Because God is love, He must hate sin, and He must punish and wipe away that sin. May this be a reminder for us – to hate sin as our God hates sin, and to turn to Him, knowing that when we do, He will shower his forgiveness and mercy upon us. Do not take His grace and mercy as a license for sin and rebellion. Rather, love Him because of His incredible love for you.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for your love and compassion. Thank you for your forgiveness and mercy. Soften my heart so that I may walk in the path of your forgiveness–that I may know the fullness of your love and compassion and be a recipient of your blessing. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.          

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 29


Lunch Break Study

Read Hebrews 12:7-11 (ESV): Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Question to Consider

  1. What does this passage list as the importance of discipline?
  2. What is the fruit of discipline?
  3. What are ways you are currently experiencing the discipline of God?

Notes

  1. Discipline is for all who are considered children of God. When discipline occurs, it reminds the one that is being disciplined that they are His legitimate children. Sometimes, we don’t care for the discipline, nor do we understand the reason, but we submit to the Father who disciplines for our good.  
  2. Discipline produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Those that have been disciplined and have experienced the fruit of discipline are not as allergic to the thought of further discipline, for they know that there is more fruit to come out of the discipline.
  3. Personal Response.

Evening Reflection

Sometimes the discipline of God can feel like the judgment of God coming down on us. However, we know that as children of God, we have been shown mercy and compassion. Even though we mess up and turn away from Him, we know that He disciplines us so that we will be restored to Him. However, as we learn today, the judgment of God will come upon those who continually choose to turn away from Him and reject His forgiveness and mercy.

June 6, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Glory of God”

Exodus 33:21-23 (NASB)

Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”

Glory is something that is very difficult to describe. Whenever I play basketball with people who are older and out of shape, we like to talk fondly about their “glory days” when we used to be able to run around, dunk and do all sorts of things that we can no longer do. But now, we need to stretch just to make sure we don’t pull a muscle. When we think of our “glory days,” we think of the peak of our human existence, when we felt like we were on the top of the world. Depending on how old you are, you will typically see yourself as either approaching the apex of your life or coming down from the apex of your life. Whether it be our physical attributes, our beauty, our careers, our energy level, we know that there is a peak in our existence that doesn’t last forever – which is why those that have passed it always refer back to the “glory days.” We have trouble defining glory because it is so hard to grasp – human glory is fleeting.

But the glory of God is different in that it is constant throughout the ages. There is no waning of His glory. It is not defined by time or space. So how do we define the glory of God? In many different passages, it says that “the whole earth is full of his glory.” Perhaps a synonym to that would be beauty. The whole earth is full of his beauty. I think of my days in San Diego when I used to sit on the Cliffs in La Jolla and look at the vastness of the ocean, thinking of the greatness of God and the beauty that fills the whole earth. Creation is full of the glory of God – and we know that feeling when we encounter something that takes our breath away.

In this passage, it tells us that the glory of God was too much for Moses to comprehend. Moses found favor in the sight of God and God honors his request to see the glory of God. But the caveat is this: Moses can only see the backside of God because seeing God face to face would be too much for Moses. For Moses, there was absolutely no reference point as to what the fullness of the glory of God would look like, and it seems to be impossible to comprehend for any human being.

John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” As much as Moses longed to see the glory of God, he was not able to behold it. But we live in a time where we have not only seen the glory of God through Jesus Christ, we have the glorious Holy Spirit living within us. How does it make you feel to know that by knowing Jesus, you have known the glory of God that was too much for Moses to comprehend? May we not take for granted this glory that has been revealed to us. As you start your day, let me encourage you to pause and take a moment to reflect upon the glory of God that has been revealed to you – and let that prepare you for the day to come.

Prayer: Father God, everywhere I look, I want to be reminded of Your glory. But more than Your glory that is mirrored in creation, help me to see the fullness of Your glory. Help me to understand the gravity of the glorious Holy Spirit dwelling in me. May my life then become a reflection of that glory. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 28


Lunch Break Study

Read John 1:14-18 (ESV): And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Question to Consider

  1. What do you think the “dwelling among us” means?
  2. What is the difference between the glory that Jesus embodies from the glory that Moses was able to see?
  3. How can you be more cognizant of the glory of God?

Notes

  1. The word that could be used here is “tabernacle,” as in, the Word became flesh and tabernacle among us. In the time when Israel was in the wilderness, they pitched a tent in the middle of an encampment where God would dwell with them. This was different from the gods of the past who were distant and far away, but God’s very presence was in their midst. Jesus and the fullness of His glory was described to have come into our very midst for the purpose of dwelling with us.  
  2. John talks about the glory that we have seen in the manifestation of the Word of God through the flesh of Jesus Christ. Jesus, as the Son of the Father, was the fullness of the Father. At the time, sons were an extension of their father. Therefore, Jesus was not just a representative sent from the Father, but the fullness of the Father coming to them. God made himself known as a visible manifestation to explain the invisible God through Jesus Christ.  
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

Read this Psalm from David and spend a moment reflecting on God’s glory:

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moons and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”  (Psalm 8:1-4).

June 5, Wednesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Importance of His Presence”

Exodus 33:15-16 (NASB)

Then he said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 16 For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”

When my daughter started walking, the most endearing thing to me was when she would turn to me, reach out her hand and say, “Hold hand.” Even when we walked to the playground, she didn’t need me to hold her hand. In fact, since the playground was so fun and exciting for her, I wouldn’t blame her for running to the playground leaving me behind— yet, she would rather walk slowly with me. Though I don’t quite know why she does it, but every time she does my heart just melts. I think this is a prime example of Moses’ response to God. If you remember from Monday, God had gotten so tired of the stubbornness of Israel that He told them to go on into the Promised Land, but under one caveat: He wouldn’t enter there with them—they were on their own. Moses responds by turning to God and saying “Hold our hand.” Essentially, Moses is saying that they will not go unless He goes. He realizes that it’s not worth going if God’s presence does not go with them.

Moses desired the presence of God more than His blessings. So often we get that mixed up, wanting the blessings of God and not necessarily the presence of God. But do you know how much God’s heart is moved when you actually desire His presence? Do you know how much joy God feels when you reach out your hand towards Him and say, “Hold hand?” We must be people who desire His presence over just His blessings.

However, not only did God’s presence represent His continual favor over them, but it also represented the protection of God. If you recall, the nation of Israel was still in the embryonic phases of becoming a nation, and they were very vulnerable to the attacks of the superpowers in the Ancient Near East. Many nations were fearful of Israel because of what they had heard of the exodus of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. Without the presence of God, Moses knew they would be sitting ducks if they were to engage in any warfare. We too must not underestimate the protection of God in our lives. When we are in the presence of God, we are protected from so many things, even things that we are unaware of.

As we spend time reflecting on the presence of God, may our hearts resonate with Moses’ heart – that we would desire His presence above all else. It’s not just His provision, blessing, or even protection that we are after—ultimately, it’s Him that we desire. Let’s orient ourselves to desire Him above all else.

Prayer: Father God, Your presence is more important to me than Your blessing. Sometimes I don’t feel that way, but I know that is the truth. Help me to believe in that truth even more, and to earnestly desire Your presence above all things. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 27


Lunch Break Study

Read Psalm 27:4 (ESV):  “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”

Question to Consider

  1. What is the context of this Psalm?
  2. What does David focus on in this Psalm?
  3. How does this psalm resonate with your prayers for His presence?

Notes

  1. This was a Psalm of David, most likely in a time of trouble, and yet the tone is one of confidence in the presence of God as well as a desire to be in His presence.
  2. Most likely, David was on the run, fleeing from the many people that were against him in his lifetime – and yet, his focus was on the presence of God. Twice he references the house of the Lord (which actually had not yet been constructed), but the essence of his request was one of deep desire to be in the presence of God.
  3. Personal response.

Evening Reflection

Take a moment to take an inventory of your heart. Are there things in your heart that you value more than the presence of God? Oftentimes, we associate the blessings of God with God Himself, and although there is nothing wrong with blessings, it becomes an issue when we have it backwards. We must learn to desire the presence of God over the blessings of God. Let’s be people who want the gift-giver more than the gift itself.

June 4, Tuesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Friend of God”

Exodus 33:9-11 (NASB)

Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses.10 When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. 11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

The gods of the Ancient Near East were unpredictable. The people would offer sacrifices to these deities to appease them or please them and invoke some type of blessing upon them. But these gods were mysterious in nature and the people often did not know their standing before these gods: Were the gods pleased with them or were they angry at them? They wouldn’t know what was asked of them, and these gods could seem very distant from them. Yet when we look at the God of the Israelites, we see how different the relationship between God and His people is compared with the gods of the Ancient Near East. God was not unpredictable. Each time Moses entered into the Tent of Meeting, God would be there to speak with Moses. God was not distant. He did not have to speak to Moses remotely or through another medium, but He would be there to speak to Moses face to face.

In verse 11, it says that the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. There was an intimacy that Moses experienced with the God of this universe. Often times, I think to myself how amazing it would have been to be in Moses’ shoes. He got to encounter the living God face to face. He got to see the glory of God. But the truth is, Moses would have been so jealous of the position that we are in—what he saw in part, we now see in fullness. He was only permitted to see part of the glory of God, whereas we have the fullness of the glory of God dwelling inside of us. I often forget that the Holy Spirit dwells within me. This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday – it’s a reminder that the Holy Spirit has come down upon His people to dwell in their midst. It’s a reminder that we are baptized by the Holy Spirit and the fullness of His glory.

Do you truly believe that this glory resides in you? My prayer is that you would not live another day believing the lie that God is far away, hard to predict, or hard to appease. Rather, believe that if you have confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior, you have to right to become a child of God. And as a child of God, you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you.

Prayer: Father, I often forget the glorious truth that Your glory and Your very Spirit resides within me. Help me never to forget that. Help me to live a life that reflects that reality – that I don’t have to go through intermediary means, but that I have direct access to You. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for what Jesus did on that cross so that we would be able to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 26


Lunch Break Study

Read John 1:29-34 (ESV): The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son[i] of God.”

Question to Consider

  1. What does John the Baptist say about Jesus?
  2. What does Jesus being the baptizer of the Spirit mean for us?
  3. Have you asked for the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Notes

  1. John the Baptist prophetically declares that Jesus would be the ultimate Passover lamb of God, who would come to take away the sins of the world, but he also goes on to declare that Jesus would be the baptizer of the Spirit.
  2. We often focus on the fact that Jesus is the Passover Lamb—and He definitely is that—but He is more than that. He is the one who has baptized us with the Holy Spirit so that we have the glorious presence of Holy Spirit in our lives. While the cross and the atonement of our sins is important, we also need to remember that Jesus came not just to die for the sins of the world, but to give us His very Spirit—something that has been restored to us since before the fall of man.
  3. In Acts 19, Paul asks some new converts whether they received the Holy Spirit when they believed, but they did not even know of this baptism.  We must know that when we come to know Jesus, we not only go through water baptism as an outward manifestation of an inward transformation, but we also must receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit – the one who will help us to walk out our faith with power and victory.

Evening Reflection

Baptism of the Holy Spirit is something that every believer receives when they become part of the family of God (through confession and repentance). But the filling of the Holy Spirit, however, is something that we need to ask for – because we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we can overcome and be victorious in our life. Tonight, ask that the Holy Spirit would fill you in every aspect of your life, so that you would be able to live this life in power and victory.