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
Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (Isaiah 33:2)
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.
Our Devo today comes from J.I. Packer’s book Knowing God
“Today, vast stress is laid on the thought that God is personal, but this truth is so stated as to leave the impression that God is a person of the same sort as we are—weak, inadequate, ineffective, a little pathetic. But this is not the God of the Bible! Our personal life is a finite thing: it is limited in every direction, in space, in time, in knowledge, in power. But God is not so limited. He is eternal, infinite and almighty. He has us in his hands; we never have him in ours. Like us, he is personal; but unlike us, he is great. In all its constant stress on the reality of God’s personal concern for his people, and on the gentleness, tenderness, sympathy, patience and yearning compassion that he shows toward them, the Bible never lets us lose sight of his majesty and his unlimited dominion over all his creatures.
PERSONAL YET MAJESTIC
For illustration, we do not have to look further than the opening chapters of Genesis. Right from the start of the Bible story, through the wisdom of divine inspiration, the narrative is told in such a way as to impress upon us the twin truths that the God to whom we are being introduced is both personal and majestic. Nowhere in the Bible is the personal nature of God expressed in more vivid terms. He deliberates with himself, “Let us . . .” (Gen 1:26). He brings the animals to Adam to see what Adam will call them (2:19). He walks in the garden, calling to Adam (3:8-9). He asks people questions (3:11-13; 4:9; 16:8). He comes down from heaven in order to find out what his creatures are doing (11:5; 18:20-33). He is so grieved by human wickedness that he repents of making them (6:6-7). Representations of God like these are meant to bring home to us the fact that the God with whom we have to do is not a mere cosmic principle, impersonal and indifferent, but a living Person, thinking, feeling, active, approving of good, disapproving of evil, interested in his creatures all the time…
The God of Genesis is the Creator, bringing order out of chaos, calling life into being by his word,making Adam from earth’s dust and Eve from Adam’s rib (chaps. 1–2). And he is Lord of all that he has made. He curses the ground and subjects mankind to physical death, thus changing his original perfect world order (3:17-24); he floods the earth in judgment, destroying all life except that in the ark (chaps. 6–8); he confounds human language and scatters the builders of Babel (11:7-9); he overthrows Sodom and Gomorrah by (apparently) a volcanic eruption (19:24-25). Abraham truly calls him “the Judge of all the earth” (18:25), and rightly adopts Melchizedek’s name for him, “God Most High, maker of heaven and earth” (14:19-22 RSV). He is present everywhere, and he observes everything:Cain’s murder (4:9), mankind’s corruption (6:5), Hagar’s destitution (16:7). Well did Hagar name him El Roi, “the God who sees me,” and call her son Ishmael, “God hears,” for God does in truth both hear and see, and nothing escapes him.
His own name for himself is El Shaddai, “God Almighty,” and all his actions illustrate the omnipotence which this name proclaims. He promises Abraham and his wife a son in their nineties, and he rebukes Sarah for her incredulous—and, as it proved, unjustified—laughter: “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (18:14). And it is not only at isolated moments that God takes control of events, either; all history is under his sway. Proof of this is given by his detailed predictions of the tremendous destiny which he purposed to work out for Abraham’s seed (12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:13-21; and so on). Such, in brief, is the majesty of God, according to the first chapters of Genesis.”
Reflect: Read back through and take note of what stands out to you. Spend some time thanking God for his greatness. Maybe head outside tonight (it’s cold, but it’ll be okay) and read one of the verses that stands out while you look up at the vast heavens.
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.
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning. I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law. (Psalm 119:54-55)