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
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloudand your sins like mist;return to me, for I have redeemed you. (Isaiah 44:22)
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.
Father, the more we delve into the depths of our sin, the uglier and more heinous it becomes.
If we promise to do better, we lie. If we try to clean ourselves up, we are frauds. If we give because we feel guilty, we are schemers. If we serve to feel good about ourselves, we are self-righteous. If we pray only to get what we want, we are self-serving. If we read your Word so you will be pleased with us, we are manipulators.
The selfish motivations of even our best actions condemn us.
Please forgive us and help us to look only to the life-saving, life-giving, life-changing power of Your Son Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. 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: Revelation contains 404 verses into which St. John, the pastor, makes reference to earlier scripture 518 times. The message is clear: This last word on scripture will not being saying anything new. Instead, the Revelation reveals Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God by bidding us to look to the past to the Old Testament promises and to the resurrection; to live in the present as the people of God; and to look toward the future when the triumph of King Jesus will be fully revealed. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: In spite of having seen the destruction and exile of Israel a generation earlier, Judah refuses to turn back as a nation to its covenant obligations to God. Zephaniah reminds Judah that there is no such thing as a second-generation child of God. Every generation must own God’s covenant, not relying on the faith of a previous generation. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
“Psalms Mix” Readings
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) from Sunday’s sermon. Use it to reflect upon the ways Christ has been working in your life this week. Makes a great midday reflection, or group discussion guide.
Read Psalm 62:11-12
“We should note what is said in verse 11 particularly: here is the secret of the Psalmist’s composure. The Psalmist rests in the knowledge that God has spoken. The ‘once’ and ‘twice’ may be a Hebraism (a Hebrew language turn of phrase) but it conveys a very powerful lesson.
God only needs to speak once – for His word goes on and on, and we hear it again and again. We hear the echo of God’s voice again and again in the Scriptures, by the Spirit, and it tells us that He is worthy of all our trust.” —James Philip, Holyrood Abbey Church, Edinburgh
What is the one thing you can depend on in your life? David, the psalmist here, quickly replies: the surest thing in the life of God’s people is His Word, the reality that He has actually spoken to us “at many time and in many ways.”
He is not a mute deity set in iron, bronze, or stone. No, Yahweh says in Isaiah 46:9-11:
“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ …I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.”*
The idols of power, success, influence, beauty, and control constantly chatter at us in our social feeds promising, promising, promising. Whereas “God only needs to speak once” todeliver on the promises of His strength and steadfast love (hesed).
Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us that the echoes of God speaking rang out “long ago, at many times and in many ways,” as “God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” Now, if you are unfamiliar, the prophets spoke of both God’s judgment and his relentless, pursuing love even of those who had outright rebelled against Him.
And that’s exactly what we see in this psalm: that God’s righteous strength “rewards everyone according to what they have done.” But what if what we have done is lie, cheat, and steal?What if we deserve God’s judgement? David replies: God’s hesed echoes through all of Scripture and Creation that God just can’t, will not give up on his people, sinful as they are (Hosea 11:8).
And in Jesus Christ we see God’s hesed become human. In him, God’s love and his justice are given full expression. Dr. Timothy Keller puts it best: “God passed the required sentence of death on our sin [that his justice requires] and then took that punishment himself on the cross [because of his hesed for those who don’t deserve it]. We can never question his love or wisdom in our life circumstances when we see the lengths to which he has gone in order to demonstrate both his justice and his love.”
Questions to Ponder
Are you listening closely enough to God’s Word to hear the echoes of grace contained within? Or has something dulled your hearing? Ask God to help you to hear him more clearly, so that you might delight in His steadfast love for you in the gospel more than ever before. And that you might experience the freedom the gospel brings more fully in your work, relationships, and soul.
One more note on Isaiah (because it’s the best): *Isaiah also contains perhaps the most humorous speech from God about idols where He describes in a mocking, and rather detailed, fashion how idols are made: a man cuts down a tree and builds a fire to warm himself and perhaps bake some bread. He looks at one of the left over logs and thinks to himself: “I bet I can whittle me a god outta that!” (see Isaiah 44:8-28). Comedy gold.
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 have blotted out your transgressions like a cloudand your sins like mist;return to me, for I have redeemed you. Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;shout, O depths of the earth;break forth into singing, O mountains,O forest, and every tree in it!For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,and will be glorified in Israel. (Isaiah 44:22-23)