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
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. (1 Peter 1:10-11)
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 Lord Jesus, Advent has just begun, and I am praying it will be a season marked more by hush than rush. If I’m going to be busy with anything, may it be with quieting my heart, focusing my gaze, and setting my affection on things above—especially on you—the Author and Perfecter of my faith; the source and Lord of my salvation; the fountain and fullness of all grace.
Grant me the same intensity and care the prophets invested in searching out the promises of your coming. May old Scriptures come alive in profoundly new ways during this Advent season. Jesus, show me more of yourself throughout the Bible. Humble and gladden my heart with the realization that the prophets were serving me—even me—when they spoke of your coming, your sufferings, and the glories that would follow.
So come, O come, Immanuel, and bring even greater freedom to my heart and glory to yourself. I pray, in the wonders of your love and the trustworthiness of your name. Amen.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
Advent Reading Plan
During Advent this year we are using the He Reads Truth and She Reads Truth Advent Devos. Readings in this plan will cover the whole of Scripture and directly point us to Christ. We will resume our OPC|M Daily Reading Plan on December 26.
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 Guide to 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: Matthew 7:7-11 + Prov. 8:17 + Jer. 29:13
Take just a minute to think through the words you’ve just read. These are in fact God’s very words to you today. They are for you to carry with you into whatever your day may hold. They are also words that were spoken to His people at a specific point in redemptive history. Take our passage in Jeremiah 29 for example.
Jeremiah 29 is a passage that you are likely familiar with from signs at Hobby Lobby: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope…” What the sign doesn’t say is that this passage is set at the start of Israel’s exile in Babylon. An exile which, by the way, the LORD says he sent them into and in which he was calling them to live as a distinct covenant people alongside people who knew and cared nothing for Yahweh.
Now, what does all of this have to do with our passages today and our parable this week? I’m so glad that you asked. Our passage in Jeremiah, in fact all of our passages today, relate to seeking the Lord with our whole hearts and finding him. Our parable this week is about seeking the Lord in prayer with our whole hearts, and finding him more than willing to answer the door of prayer whenever we knock.
Now let’s combine these two thoughts together with the exilic setting of Jeremiah 29. When God’s people seek him in prayer in this world, we always do so while in exile, while sojourning as exiles in a far country. We come to our Heavenly Father and we pray that the priorities of his kingdom would come to this strange land in which we find ourselves. Do we realize what we are saying when we pray these words? The Lord’s Prayer is training us to desire God, to seek Him with our whole heart even as we are Canaan bound, seeking that better country which is our true home (Hebrews 11:16).
And, after we have prayed, we wait with patience, but also expectation because our Heavenly Father will not give us a snake instead of salmon. No way! He delights to give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:10-11). We can boldly go before the throne of grace, because we know that he not only will hear us, but he delights to give more than we could ask or imagine!
It turns out that this ancient passage from Jeremiah is actually pretty visionary (a word which, by the way, should only be used sparingly, but is fitting in this context) for Christians wherever they live today. May we learn to delight in asking for exactly what we need to navigate our Father’s world.
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.
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. (Revelation 21:23-24)