Devotional Readings for April 11 - April 17
Sunday – Psalm 39
Monday – Psalm 40
Tuesday – Acts 14:8-28
Wednesday – 1 Samuel 16:14-23
Thursday – 1 Samuel 17
Friday – 1 Thessalonians 1
Saturday – 1 Thessalonians 2
This week we will read stories of great triumph, all of which are delivered by the leadership and help of God. In each of the stories, you’ll find this triumph coming on the heels of a season of struggle or strife or even humiliation; in spite of – or perhaps even through – the struggle, God steps in to each situation and offers victory.
We open the week with Psalm 39, which is an honest look at the fleeting nature of human life. David makes it clear in this psalm that the only hope to which we can cling is hope in our God, who rescues us.
In Psalm 40, David follows up with great thanksgiving, saying, “Happy is anyone who has put his trust in the LORD.” Even though life may seem pointless and like a loosing battle from time to time, David has learned and acknowledges that the key to victory is the help of our God.
In Acts 14, we read the story of a time of great confusion in the mission and ministry of Paul and Barnabas. Although God did mighty miracles and offered great teaching at the hands of Paul and Barnabas, the people who witnessed these things had so little knowledge of God and His Word and His mighty capability that the efforts of these missionaries seem wasted. Yet even in spite of great struggle, Paul and Barnabas were able to plant many new churches and share the good news of Christ with those in genuine need of His great deliverance.
Our stories in 1 Samuel are some of the best known and most loved stories of deliverance. David was just a shepherd boy who was unknown and unconsidered. As the youngest in his family, there was no place for him in the dynasty of his father’s family – yet God chose him to be the king of Israel! God worked out the details so that David could be exposed to the court of King Saul, learning about government as a young man. Then, in the most amazing act of might, God empowered David to kill the giant, Goliath. Take special note as you read of David’s personal motivations for all that he did: David’s singular concern is the honoring of the Name of his God.
Paul shares this same motivation in 1 Thessalonians. This is the first letter Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, which he and Silas helped to plant after opening the Gospel to the people there. In this opening letter, he tells the Thessalonican people of the struggles he has been through, but then reminds them that Jesus has rescued him in the midst of each one. In fact, he tells them, he constantly thanks God, even for his troubles, because he knows that his troubles have served to bring great victory to the churches – victory gained in that they now know Christ.
Our knowledge of Christ and the relationship we have with Father God is most certainly worth much more than anything that this world can ever deal out to us. As you read this week, relate with those who have struggled and even see your own struggles in their stories. Don’t simply stay in the struggles, however – see your own victory won in the victory of Christ.