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
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)
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, we praise and bless you for the great salvation you have freely given us in the gospel.
We find great peace in the finished work of Jesus. We find great joy in the ongoing work of your Spirit.
We find great hope in the future blessings of heaven.
As your beloved daughters and sons, we confess our sins, longing for the day we will be made perfect in love.
Forgive usfor being more irritable than charitable; quicker to rush to judgment than to run into your presence; and far more inclined to pout than to pray. Forgive us for demanding too much of others and expecting too little from you. Forgive us for doubting that you really love us as much as you say you do. Forgive us and free us, in Jesus’ name, we humbly 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: 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: The Edomites were descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau, but they took advantage of Jerusalem when it fell to Babylon. Obadiah proclaims a judgment upon Edom for their treachery. Yet even in this brokenness, Obadiah ends with a promise that God’s kingdom will prevail. Reflect on the passage. What do you like about it? What do you dislike? What do you not get?
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 57:1
We ended last week’s devo talking about storms. This psalm finds David in the thick of another storm. Hurricane Saul is bearing down on David as David hides out in a cave near Adullum. Then, there in the deeps, David prays his “fight song” to God.
He begins, as had become his habit, by asking God to be merciful to him (see Ps. 56). Can you imagine the isolation David and his men felt in those dark echoing caverns as they made their beds in the depths? And yet, this prayer is evidence that David was confident that God was there with him, his right hand holding him fast (Ps. 139:7-12). While others might have more readily thought of the cave as their refuge or fortress, David saw God as his one safe place.
The shape of the cave seems to have become, in David’s poetic imagination, a metaphor for God’s sheltering care. You can picture it, right? The morning light angling into the reaches of their hidden fastness. The ceiling arching tenderly over them like the wing of a hen sheltering her young. David softly whispering the words as they formed in his mind: “In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”
It’s poetic, but it’s more than a clever turn of phrase or hopeful charm to dispel fear. It’s at the heart of what it meant for God to redeem us in Christ. Just as a mother bird will protect her young at the cost of her life, so also God cast his protective shadow over us in Jesus. Perhaps a story will help illustrate this:
Many years ago, Donald Grey Barnhouse was pastoring in Philadelphia when his wife died before their only daughter, Margaret, was even 10 years old. It was a great tragedy. Dr. Barnhouse was trying to help his little girl and himself process the loss. And then one day, as they were crossing the street, a truck came awfully close to Margaret. She screamed. It wasn’t too bad, but it scared her. Her father picked her up and carried her off and said, “It’s okay, it’s okay!”
And then he said, “You know how sad we are about Mommy?”
“Yes, we’re sad about Mommy.”
“Well, let me just ask you a question. Did the truck hit you?”
“What hit you?”
“Just the shadow of the truck.”
“Well, death didn’t hit your mom. Only the shadow of death hit your mother. Death hit Jesus. And because death hit Jesus and we believe in him, now the only thing that can hit us is the shadow of death.”
That’s what it means to take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings. It means that Jesus shelters you from the ultimate “storm of destruction,” so that, as Romans 8:31-38 says, nothing can ever separate you from the love of Christ. He has conquered death as your Champion (Hebrews 12:2) so that death can no longer conquer you.
Questions to Ponder:
God was present with David in that cave. He is present with you in your caves as well. Are you taking full advantage of that? Are you resting in the shadow of God’s wings? Or are you taking refuge in things other than Christ when “storms of destruction” come in your life?
Thank him for sheltering you in Christ from sin and death.
Thank God that he calls us, in a commitment-averse culture, to commit ourselves to loving and serving the communities he has placed us in.
Thank him for actively softening hearts of those who don’t yet believe.
Now may the eternal God who is your refuge, be a rock that is beneath you, the tower that is around you, the shelter that is above you this day and all the days until Jesus comes. Amen.