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 bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. (Psalm 16:7-8)
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.
Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our boast is in Christ and our hope is in you. Forgive us for our sins are many. Free us, for you alone are able.
We confess our love for money. Have mercy on us, Lord. We confess our misuse of words. Have mercy on us, Lord. We confess putting our wants above relationships. Have mercy on us, Lord. We confess making excuses quicker than we offer apologies. Have mercy on us, Lord. We confess our pettiness, our selfishness, and our unforgiveness. Have mercy on us, Lord.
For the glory of your name, forgive and change us, in Jesus’ 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: What does it mean to be secure in Christ? Peter challenges Christians to look for the hope that Christ provides as the apostle addresses conduct within and outside of the church. Meditate on the passage. What new insight have you received?
OT Context: Listing a large amount of sins, Micah tells Israel that Babylon and Assyria will be God’s instruments of judgment against them. Yet in the midst of this, Micah speaks of a Shepherd King who will gather and lead a remnant forward. As you reflect on the passage, pray its truths into your heart.
“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 32:10-11
David shares one final discovery with us in this psalm. “Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in Yahweh.” No surprise there. But notice that in this psalm David has included himself both among the wicked and among those who trust in the Lord. He’s both the sort of man who keeps silent about his sin even though it’s eating away at him (Ps. 32:3-5) and he’s the sort of person who turns to Yahweh and receives his rescue. David knows both the sorrow of the wicked and the steadfast love (hesed) of God (Ps. 32:10). How can that be?
It comes back to God’s defining characteristic: his hesed. In a phrase, hesed is “when the person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything.” That’s what David experienced when God forgave him. He had no right to expect anything but judgment, and instead God forgave him and surrounded him with his steadfast love.
That’s exactly what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he quoted this Psalm in Romans 4. Just like David tried to cover his sin, Paul says, we try cover our sin by working to earn God’s forgiveness. It’s not good enough. Psalm 49:7-8 tells us that we can’t redeem the soul of anyone, much less ourselves.
The only way that we’re going to get out of our sin-filled wilderness wanderings and into the wide country of God’s hesed love is by God forgiving our “lawless deeds” and not counting our sin against us because of Jesus (Romans 4:6-8 quoting Psalm 32).
Not only does God forgive our sin by his hesed, but God also surrounds those who trust Him with His hesed. The word surround or encompass in Hebrew has a circular sense to it. It is often used to describe enemies slowly circling in order to strike a deathblow (Ps. 22:17), but here David uses it to describe God’s steadfast love providing protective care when our sin has encircled and ensnared us. All of God’s unexpected and loving care leads David to sing. He can’t help himself!
After describing sin with three words in the first verses (remember avah, pesha, chatha?), David has three shouts of joy at the end for those who are forgiven: be glad in Yahweh, rejoice, and shout for joy! This is no time for somber navel-gazing. If your heart is not touched, if your emotions are not involved at least in some way, then have you really experienced what it means to be forgiven? David knew the delightful surprise of God’s forgiveness and love, and it overwhelmed and overjoyed him.
Questions to Ponder:
How about you? Are you delighting in God’s steadfast love surrounding you? Is it what gets you out of bed in the morning? What encircles you as you walk through pain and suffering? If not, what’s getting in the way? Is it sin that needs confessing? Take David’s advice: “offer prayer…at a time when you may be found!” (Ps. 32:6).
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.
Now may the God who finds you in the howling waste of your sin, encircle you with and care for you by his lovingkindness, and keep you as the apple of of his eye. Now and forevermore. Amen. (based on Deut. 32:10 + Ps. 32:10)