Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?
Call to Prayer
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)
Prayer of Confession
Confession is formative. It trains us to recognize the ways our hearts have become de-formed and how Christ is at work bringing redemption in our lives. Pray with this in mind.
O Lord, we want to enter your presence,awed by your majesty, greatness, and glory, yet encouraged by your love. Yet there is a coldness in our hearts, a hardness toward you, an unwillingness to admit our sin and need for you.
Forgive us, for Jesus’ sake. Come near and strengthen us until Christ reigns supreme within us, in every thought, word, and deed. Give us a faith that purifies the heart, overcomes the world, works by love, fastens us to you, and always clings to the cross. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
This reading plan will help you to develop the habit of being in God’s Word each morning and evening. Come to this time with expectation. Expect God to reveal himself to you. Expect that he delights in you being there, even when you’ve wandered away. Growing a spiritual habit is a slow, patient process. So be kind to yourself as you grow!
Readings are hyperlinked. Simply hover over the passage or click Morning/Evening Reading (email version).
Praying the Psalms: Read slowly. Take note of words and phrases. Bring them before the Lord in prayer and personalize the passage as you pray.
NT Context: The story of Jesus doesn’t end with Jesus. It continues in the lives of those who believe in him. The supernatural does not stop with Jesus. Acts makes it clear that these Christians Luke wrote about were no more spectators of Jesus than Jesus was a spectator of God—they are in on the action of God, God acting in them, God living in them. Which also means, of course, in us.Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “Holy” is the word that sets God apart and above our attempts to enlist him in our wish-fulfillment. The first thing that strikes us as we read Leviticus in this light is that this holy God is actually present with us and virtually every detail of our lives is affected by the presence of this holy God; nothing in us, our relationships, or environment is left out. The second thing is that God provides a way (the sacrifices and feasts and Sabbaths) to bring everything in and about us into his holy presence, transformed in the fiery blaze of the holy. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
We are currently in between major sermon series, so our devotional for the next few weeks will bePREVIEW of what the Men and Women at OPC|Milford will be reading and discussing this Winter: Genesis 12-50 (Women’s Groups + Revelation (Men’s Groups)
Read: Genesis 32, 37-40
It is no overstatement to say that these are among the most important passages in all of Scripture. In them we are introduced to a seemingly endless stream of patterns, parallels, echoes, allusions, and metaphors all driving us to look for when, where, and in whom the promises of this covenanting God will be fulfilled.
These redemptive threads are woven so deeply into the fabric of Scripture that pastor and scholar Dale Ralph Davis starts his commentary on Genesis 12 off by saying that, “God so loved the world that He called Abraham.” Abraham’s calling in Genesis 12 is what drives the rest of the narrative of Scripture forward. It’s as though everything the comes afterward begs the question: How will God make good on his covenant promise to Abraham?
We’ll spend the next two days, then, looking at God’s calling of Abraham, and how it is: utterly unexplainable, quietly successful, and seemingly impossible. Today let’s just cover how God calling Abraham is utterly unexplainable:
“Before all else, we must understand that this call is utterly unexplainable (Genesis 12:1-3). Notice how the chapter begins: “And Yahweh said to Abram…” Those are the most difficult words to explain…I can’t explain them historically. Since this is Genesis 12 we know that Genesis 1-11 comes before this chapter. That’s a big problem, for there we read of the three-fold crisis of the fall (ch.3), the flood (chs.6-8), and the tower (11:1-9)—all of which present us with a world that is pleased to do without Yahweh’s kingship and fellowship, a world that was therefore cursed (ch.3), destroyed (chs.6-8), and scattered (11:8-9). So the end should come, the Judge should appear, the hot lava of divine judgement should petrify the world.
Why does Yahweh gives this world that mocks, defies, and rejects him the promise of blessing(5 times in vv.2-3)? God insists on blessing this world (‘all the families of the ground,’ v.3b) with Abram as the channel of blessing—he will start all over again with one man as the funnel of redemption…But why?” We get glimpses of Revelation 7:9, but the why of God insisting on blessing instead of cursing remains unresolved!
“But then I can’t explain this call personally. we have to watch how we think about Abraham. I have the sneaking suspicion that many Bible readers form an unconscious image of Abraham—they have warm feelings about him, think of him as a gentle sort of fellow, the kind of man they’d want as grandfather…That’s not the Bible’s view. Joshua gives us the true view when he repeats Yahweh’s words to Israel in Joshua 24:2: ‘Your fathers lived on the other side of the River long ago, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.‘ That was Abraham. Why did God call Abraham the sinner, Abraham the pagan, Abraham the idolater? It defies logic…
…And it’s no different with you (and me!). If you think you know why Go ahas shown his grace to you, then you don’t know yourself and you haven’t the foggiest idea what grace is. ‘But God chose the foolish things of the world…the weak things…the despised things, the things that are nothing…’ This call is utterly unexplainable. You start here or you won’t get anywhere. You can’t explain why there’s a call at all—why the gracious God should show grace to you at all.”
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! More tomorrow!
Evening Prayer of Examen
Where did you move with or feel close to Jesus today?
Where did you resist or feel far from Jesus today?
Where is Jesus leading you tomorrow? Ask for joy as you follow him.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. (Psalm 16:8-9)