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
With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God?…He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:6-8)
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.
Do not be distant, O Lord, lest I become so mired in yesterday’s hurts, that I miss entirely the living gifts this day might hold. Let me neither ignore my pain, pretending all is okay when it isn’t, nor coddle and magnify my pain, so that I dull my capacity to experience all that remains good in this life.
For joy that denies sorrow is neither hard-won, nor true, nor eternal. It is not real joy at all. And sorrow that refuses to make space for the return of joy and hope, in the end becomes nothing more than a temple for the worship of my own woundedness.
So give me strength, O God, to feel this grief deeply, never to hide my heart from it. Recreate my heart, O God, by your Word and your Spirit’s deep work within my very being. 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?
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) for Sunday’s sermon. Go ahead and read the following passage(s) and use theParables Reading Plan + Study Guideto journal what stands out and what you have questions about in the passages. Below is a helpful commentary that can help to fill in the gaps.
Read: Luke 12:16-21 + Job 31:24–32 + Jeremiah 9:23 One of the things you may have noticed during our study of the parables is that they build upon an ancient Hebrew tradition of wisdom teachings. Jesus routinely uses the Old Testament wisdom literature, poetry, law, and prophecy as the backdrops for his parables. This time he combines Psalm 49:16-20 and Ecclesiastes 2 into the words and story of a rich fool. But Jesus’ teaching doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Do you remember why he told this parable? It’s right there verses 13-15.
Jesus initially responds to someone who has blurted out a question about inheritance law. This might seem odd to us, but it fits with what was expected of rabbis during those day: to make the call on how to interpret Jewish law. Jesus’ response is priceless. “Man, who appointed me a judge between you?” It’s not that he couldn’t answer the man, it’s that he won’t.
It’s almost as though he’s referencing Micah 6:8 and Exodus 18 in the same breath: “Do you really need me to be a judge for you like the ones Moses appointed in the wilderness because you were so quarrelsome? Hasn’t God shown you what is good and what He requires of you? Do justice, love mercy (hesed), walk humbly with your God.” But the real issue is the man’s heart. Jesus’ words tell us as much: “be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
“Now,” Jesus says, “how about a story to illustrate what it looks like when you’re not on your guard and your life consists of an abundance of possessions?” The story moves right along. The rich farmer is fool. He destroys perfectly good barns because he wants that elusive feeling of security. He wants big barns to make him feel big time safe. Then he can take it easy, eat good food, drink fine wine, and generally make merry with his days. We recognize this. It’s the good life. But his song and dance existence is about to take a nose dive.
God shows up. Not “God” in the abstract. No, this is God himself. The Almighty Creator! The Hebrew imagination would have been trained to listen attentively to God’s first words. After all, his first words spoke Creation into being, filled human lungs with oxygen, and brought a million other wonders into existence. So what’s he going to say?
I feel as though I must interject at this point to warn you. If you don’t like fairy stories that end badly, then you might not want to continue reading. It really does not go well for this man. Imagine being this man for a moment. God shows up on your doorstep in the middle of the night. He’d like to have a word with you. What would you want his first words to be to you? Not this one. “FOOL!” God says, “you’ve stored up immense wealth for yourself. What good is it now on this your final night on planet earth?”
Perhaps Jesus’ audience, the crowd and the disciples, remembered Jeremiah’s words, “Let not the wise, mighty, or rich man boast…but if you’re gonna boast, then you oughta boast in understanding and knowing God who practices hesed, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord…”
PONDER: What impression do Jesus’ words make on you? What do you think God’s first words might be to you if he showed up on your doorstep? Why?
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.
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)