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.
Heavenly Father, we confess that our sin is great, but your mercy is greater. Our fears are dreadful and many, but you fill us with the peace only your presence can provide. We come to you today in need of new mercies because our sins are too real to hide and too heavy to carry any further.
Forgive us for living in wish dreams that deny your reality. Forgive us for our self-sufficiency that is blind to your provision. Forgive us for our worry that is killing us and robs us of today. Forgive us for playacting at forgiveness while harboring a grudge. Forgive us for our snap judgements about others than forgets we too are sinners saved by grace alone.
Have mercy on us, Lord; have mercy on me. In Jesus’ strong and loving 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: “Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a classic of pastoral response: affectionate, firm, clear, and unswerving in the conviction that God among them, revealed in Jesus and present in his Holy Spirit, continued to be the central issue in their lives, regardless of how much of a mess they had made of things.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “The book of Numbers plunges us into the mess of growing up. The pages in this section of the biblical story give us a realistic feel for what is involved in being included in the people of God, which is to say, a human community that honors God, lives out love and justice in daily affairs, learns how to deal with sin in oneself and others, and follows God’s commands into a future of blessing. And all this without illusions. The Bible, our primary text for showing us what it means to be a human being created by God and called to a life of obedient faith and sacrificial love, nowhere suggests that life is simple or even “natural.” We need a lot of help.Wise discipline is required in becoming a people of God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
Over the next few months our sermon series will explore who God is and what it means for us as His Creation to know Him. Each day this devo will tread along a variety of paths connected to the week’s theme in Knowing God. Consider this your invitation to come along for the ride as we head into the wilds of coming to know and experience God’s person and grace.
The word majesty, when applied to God, is always a declaration of his greatness and an invitation to worship. The same is true when the Bible speaks of God as being on high and in heaven; the thought here is not that God is far distant from us in space, but that he is far above us in greatness, and therefore is to be adored. “Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise” (Ps 48:1). “The LORD is the great God, the great King. . . . Come, let us bow down in worship” (Ps 95:3, 6). —J.I. Packer, Knowing God
The word that scripture and theologians use for God’s greatness is majesty. That may feel a bit too distant for our modern sensibilities, so let’s prefer, at least for today, the term: great. God is great. But what, if anything, do we mean when we say that God is great?Are we simply saying that we think God is a great idea? Or perhaps great at giving me what I want or need? Or, like me, do you think of LeBron (I recognize the controversial nature of this claim, but work with me here), or Tom Brady (the real G.O.A.T) when you hear the word “great?”
Here’s what I’m getting at: our definitions pale in comparison with what the biblical writers inspired by the Spirit meant when they called God great. God reigns, clothed in majesty (Ps. 93:1). Creation, people, history, and everything that ever has been speaks of the “glorious splendor” of God’s greatness. It’s meant to cause us to pause in wonder and to meditate on God’s “wonderful works” (Ps. 145:5).
Words about God tell us part of the story, but what about those who experienced God’s resplendent greatness (an antiquated word which deserves a comeback) firsthand? Encounters of this kind in scripture are offer to us in glimpses and symbols. Peter looks back years later on his mountaintop experience with God during Jesus’ transfiguration and simply says, “We were eyewitnesses of Christ’s majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).
The Apostle John sees the risen Christ in his apocalyptic vision as “clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.” As one friend put it earlier this week, the picture of Christ here is “overwhelming.” John “fell at his feet as though dead.”
But here’s what I want you to notice about Jesus’ response.Instead of a heavy hand weighing John down even more, it seems the hand is warm as that of a friend. He looks up and Christ says, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
This is to be the Christian’s response to the majesty of God. Not anxious pondering about whether or not judgment will fall upon us (remember that double-edged mouth-sword?), but peace, calm, and an utter lack of fear. Christ is forever first, forever living, forever the one who died and rose in our place, and forever in victorious over our Last Enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26, any Harry Potter fans out there will remember at least this verse).
Reflect: Make a short list of the people you consider great. Don’t worry, it’s okay to admire them and call them great. Put a box around those names. Now write Christ’s name in large script off to the side. Spend a few minutes meditating on the fact that God is a whole different category of great. Thank him for his greatness. Ask him to help you worship him for it as well!
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)