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.
O Lord, we want to enter your presence,awed by your majesty, greatness, and glory, yet encouraged by your love. Yet there is a coldness in our hearts, a hardness toward you, an unwillingness to admit our sin and need for you.
Forgive us, for Jesus’ sake. Come near and strengthen us until Christ reigns supreme within us, in every thought, word, and deed. Give us a faith that purifies the heart, overcomes the world, works by love, fastens us to you, and always clings to the cross. In Jesus’ name, 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?
We are currently in between major sermon series, so our devotional for the next few weeks will bePREVIEW of what the Men and Women at OPC|Milford will be reading and discussing this Winter: Genesis 12-50 (Women’s Groups + Revelation (Men’s Groups)
Read: Genesis 44-45, 50
Yesterday we saw how God’s covenant call upon Abraham’s life is utterly unexplainable. Abraham is sinful, often responds poorly, and he’s an idolater from the start…just like you an me! Today we will see two other aspects of Abraham’s calling from noted scholar Dale Ralph Davis:
“…you must notice that this call is quietly successful (vv.4-5, 7b-9). How was it successful? Well, in the simplicity of Abram’s obedience, as verses 4-5 show. These verses tell a good bit: who went on the journey, how old Abram was at the time, the destination. Yet the keynote comes in 4a, in that simple low-key report: ‘So Abram went as Yahweh had spoken to him.’…Abram went as Yahweh had spoken to him—in spite of family ties (v.1), and his own age perhaps (v.4), and perhaps uncertainty about this destination, at least at first (cf. Heb. 11:8). ‘As Yahweh had spoken to him.’ Nothing much matters but obeying his word.”
“Finally, this call is seemingly impossible (vv.6-7). God’s plan to bless the world with a Savior through Abram looks like it will never get off the ground. It sounds good in its promise form in verse 2 (‘I will make you into a great nation’), but when Yahweh enlarges and re-affirms it in verse 7 (‘To your seed I will give this land’) it flies in the teeth of reality. That little squib about the Canaanites being in the land in verse 6 was no useless bit of filler; it tells you that the land is already in the possession of others, so how will it get to belong to Abram’s seed?…It looks like this call was all for nothing. But as I think Derek Kidner reminds us, God’s way is to preface his great works with extreme difficulties. Sometimes it simply has to be that way.
The difficulty and the hopelessness were a necessary part of the procedure…God not only operates this way with Abram but with many of his servants as well. We must be careful here: he does not always work this way, but he has a tendency to do so. This is apattern God repeated with his people throughout their history and experience, not just corporately but individually.
Take merely one example. Look at 2 Corinthians 1:8-10a, where Paul remembers being reduced to helplessness: For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced ed in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.
But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such deadly peril, and he will deliver us.
So…God so loved the world that he called Abraham.And he keeps adding to Abraham’s seed, gathering more and more of Abraham’s children—and he is still gathering people to share Abraham’s faith. The call he gave Abraham has not really changed: what Yahweh demanded of Abraham in verse 1 is really quite like what Jesus demands of us in, say, Matthew 10:37-38: The one who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and the one who loves son or daughter more than me is not worth of me; and whoever does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Sounds different from Genesis 12:1, but it’s really the same. Jesus is simply demanding the place of supreme affection in your life. That’s all.
So what is it that’s keeping you from coming to the One who calls you?
One more day of previewing Genesis 12-50. I wonder what else we will see?
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.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:5-6)