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
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. (Isaiah 58:8-9)
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.
God of grace, you love us, but we have not loved you. You call, but we have not listened. We walk away from neighbors in need, wrapped up in our own concerns. By our actions and our attitudes we praise what you condemn. Help us to admit our sin, so that as you come to us in mercy we may repent, turn to you, and receive forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. 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: Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common laborers (sheepherders), the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. He will not countenance religion as a club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn’t felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: The Exodus is a powerful and dramatic and true story of God working salvation. The story has generated an extraordinary progeny through the centuries as it has reproduced itself in song and poem, drama and novel, politics and social justice, repentance and conversion, worship and holy living. It continues to capture the imagination of men and women, especially men and women in trouble. It is significant that God does not present us with salvation in the form of an abstract truth, or a precise definition or a catchy slogan, but as story. 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. 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. Follow along with our Parables Reading Plan + Study Guideas we all read the Parables every day this Fall.
Read: Matthew 7:24-29 + Proverbs 10:25; 12:7; 14:11
Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the Mount quotes and alludes to Jewish Scripture at an alarming rate. We’ve barely finished ruminating on one saying (“you have heard it said…but I say to you…”) before another begins. Jesus spoke and taught as a Jewish man, so it is no surprise that he relies upon wisdom literature such as Proverbs to provide imagery. The Proverbs we’ll look at today surely would have come to mind as Jesus described these two houses.
“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established…” (Proverbs 24:3)
Wisdom in the Hebrew Scriptures is a chief and most valuable virtue. In using the metaphor of a house and its foundation, Jesus equates hearing and obeying (shama) his words with the sort of wisdom it takes to build and establish a house.
Michael Card notes that this parable is Jesus’ “final warning in a sermon to those who might listen but not embrace his words completely. His listeners are relegated to two images: a wise builder and a foolish builder.”
“The wicked” are regularly seen as foolish builders in Proverbs. Their houses are routinely “overthrown” (12:7), “destroyed” (14:11), and “no more” (10:25). Whereas the houses of the righteous “stand” (12:7), “flourish” (14:11), and “are established forever” (10:25).
The parallels with Jesus’ own words are unmistakeable, and his audience surely didn’t miss what he was getting at: those who select their own foundations will find themselves having purchased what at first seemed desirable real estate, but turns out to be an inhospitable piece of property.
It’s no wonder that the crowds were amaze by Jesus’ teaching. He took their wisdom literature, which had been overly confused by other religious teachers, and explained the the true sense of it.
The Gospel tells us that sin has “overthrown” and “destroyed” us spiritually. We deserve to be “no more” because of our sin. But Jesus takes our place. It’s as though Jesus takes our crumbling house and gives us his wisely built one, so that we might “stand” and “flourish” and be “established forever.” That’s the Gospel truth that leads us into wisdom and all her benefits.
Questions to Ponder:
What does it mean to be wise in our world? Don’t give me the spiritual answer. Just answer bluntly. How does Jesus redefine what wisdom looks like?
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.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17)