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
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)
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.
Dear heavenly Father, we praise you for your daily mercies and steadfast love. We bless you for your providential care and everlasting kindness. We worship you for the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of Christ’s righteousness. Hear our confession and grant us your grace, Lord.
Forgive us for living too busy, too noisy, and too cluttered of lives. Forgive us for being quicker to react in anger than repent in humility. Forgive us for maximizing our disappointments and minimizing your goodness. Forgive us for living more by fear than by faith—for over-believing our culture and under-trusting your promises. Have mercy on us, Lord; have mercy on me, for Christ’s sake and your glory. 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: How do we cope with the inconsistencies of life? Focusing on perseverance in the midst of trials, James exhorted believers to live out what they proclaimed. This letter is a call to faithfulness to the gospel in the midst of very difficult circumstances. Meditate on what this passage reveals about who Christ is and what he’s accomplished.
OT Context: Amos prophesied during a period when Assyria was ebbing in power and both Israel and Judah were prospering. Israel saw a “golden age,” but Amos had the hard job of telling them that they were about to be overrun again. Reflect on the passage. What’s one way you can immediately apply this text to your life?
“Songs for Every Season” 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 13:5-6
Yesterday we saw that despite his troubles David clung to God as his only hope in life and in death (“Look! Answer me, Yahweh, my God!…lest I sleep in death.”). Today we get to see why he trusted God. And it all comes down to a mysterious, difficult to translate, three letter, two syllable Hebrew word: hesed.
Hesed is variously translated into English as: mercy, love, loving-kindness, steadfast love, faithfulness, compassion, gracious favor, and many more throughout the Old Testament.If you’ll forgive one further language nerd fact, hesed also has “linguistic gravity,” which simply means that it has a tendency to draw other words into its orbit to help convey its meaning: goodness (Ps 23:6), faithfulness (Ps 89:24), covenant (Deut 7:9), mercy (Ps 103:4), truth (Ps 57:3) to name a few.*
What does all this have to do with David and his troubles? Well, David understood that hesed is the defining characteristic of God. So what does it mean?
In a phrase, hesed is “when the person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything.” It’s love, mercy, grace, faithfulness, and a thousand other things buried deep in the heart of God. All of it given to frail, failing, rebellious, messed up me and you. We’ve done nothing to earn it. We can’t buy it. We simply receive it as a gift, because hesed is just the way Yahweh is in the depth of His being toward his people.
Now check out what David says in Verse 5. “But I have trusted in your hesed (steadfast love); my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.”
Do you see what’s happened? David’s lamenting, pleading, how-much-longer-ing and then, all of a sudden, his lament pivots to praise as he remembers and trusts in God’s hesed. David’s like a rock climber setting his anchor into the rock face. God’s hesed is anchoring David’s faith. He’s staking everything on it as he takes the leap…full of confidence that God will give him exactly what he needs to land with feet planted on the other side.
Questions to Ponder:
How about you? How have you experienced God’s hesed for you in Christ? Are you factoring in God’s unfailing, pursuing, compassionate, loving-kindness as you make plans during this uncertain season?
*I’ve borrowed freely from Michael Card’s Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God’s Lovingkindness in writing this summary of hesed. Check it out and thank me later.
Pray: Lord, this reminds me that believing the promise of your presence in my suffering takes time, and grows slowly, through stages in prayer. So I will pray until my heart rejoices in you.
Pray for Oak Pointe Milford’s Group Leaders: for perseverance, compassion, and courage as they serve the church and neighbors during this season.
Thank God for the gospel going out in new ways throughout Metro Detroit. Thank him for being the author and perfecter of our faith and of the spiritual revival in our city.
Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand and the day is past; be our companion in the way, kindle our hearts, and awaken hope, that we may know you as you are revealed in Scripture and the breaking of bread. Grant this for the sake of your love. Amen. (BCP 70)
The Lord answer you in the day of trouble. The name of the God of Jacob protect you. May He send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion. Amen. (Psalm 20)