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
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. (Psalm 143:8)
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.
Have mercy on us according to your steadfast love. We confess that we have forgotten your compassion and grace, how You bore us on eagles’ wings and brought us to Yourself; and we have forgotten your glory and holiness, and have not trembled before you in reverential wonder.
Forgive us all our sins, we pray, through the finished work of Jesus Christ our Savior.
By your Holy Spirit, please purify us and shine the light of Your gospel in our hearts, that we may live and serve You in the joy of resurrection life. 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: “Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a classic of pastoral response: affectionate, firm, clear, and unswerving in the conviction that God among them, revealed in Jesus and present in his Holy Spirit, continued to be the central issue in their lives, regardless of how much of a mess they had made of things.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “The book of Numbers plunges us into the mess of growing up. The pages in this section of the biblical story give us a realistic feel for what is involved in being included in the people of God, which is to say, a human community that honors God, lives out love and justice in daily affairs, learns how to deal with sin in oneself and others, and follows God’s commands into a future of blessing. And all this without illusions. The Bible, our primary text for showing us what it means to be a human being created by God and called to a life of obedient faith and sacrificial love, nowhere suggests that life is simple or even “natural.” We need a lot of help.Wise discipline is required in becoming a people of God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
Over the next few months our sermon series will explore who God is and what it means for us as His Creation to know Him. Each day this devo will tread along a variety of paths connected to the week’s theme in Knowing God. Consider this your invitation to come along for the ride as we head into the wilds of coming to know and experience God’s person and grace.
Read: Psalm 119:153-160
We’ve all had the experience of getting bad instructions. It could be a confusing diagram for assembling furniture from IKEA, a recipe we are trying out for the first time, or even a friend’s advice on how to handle a situation. Whatever the experience, there is always that moment where we think, “That cannot possibly be right!” We end up either maddened (as is the case with every IKEA assembly project), disheartened, or just downright confused.
Perhaps you’ve felt this way from time to time as you read God’s word? Would it comfort you to know that Psalm 119 says something similar?
Here the psalmist draws us into his own experience of obeying God,and yet still experiencing “affliction” (119:153). He says “Answer me! I’ve been crying out to you God! I’ve obeyed you even when I’m not feeling it, so don’t forget about me! I’m in trouble here!”
He’s honest about his experience, but notice that the psalmist doesn’t trust only what he’s feeling. Instead, he models for us what it looks like to reason with God in prayer.
He says, “Look, this can’t possibly be right! It doesn’t line up with what you’ve said will happen to those who follow your instructions! So either I’m missing something, or you aren’t who you say you are, but that can’t possibly be right either, because ‘Long ago I learned from your statues that you established them to last forever…All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal’ (verse 152 and 160).
Memory is the key here. The psalmist may be confused, but he persists in remembering God’s truthfulness by calling to mind the story of God rescuing his people from Egypt in Exodus.
Michael Wilcock notes, “he asks God to come and look at his troubles, as he came and looked at the plight of the Israelites in Egypt, and to redeem him, as he redeemed them, from the clutches of those who like the Pharaoh of Egypt are both wicked and faithless.”
In doing so, the psalmist models for us how to respond to feeling that things are not right, or that God has betrayed us with his words.
We must remember, remember, remember that just as with Joseph (Genesis 50:20) and Israel, God uses everything to shape us into who he has created us to be. And then we must persist, persist, persist in asking God to lead us into newness of life (Romans 6:4) which, as that passage tells us, involves a death to our sin and old selves, so that we can rise with a new, eternal lease on life.
Reflect: Can you think of time when you felt as though God’s word had let you down? How does this passage help shape/re-shape your perspective on that experience?
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.
Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. (Psalm 88:1-2)