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.
Gracious Father,we confessthat we have longed too much for the comforts and treasures of this world rather than for your enduring Kingdom.
We have loved the gifts more than the Giver.
In your mercy, help us to see that the things we strive for are shadows, but you are the substance; that they are quicksand, but you are a mighty rock; that they are shifting, but you are an anchor.
Thank you for forgiving us through the riches of Christ and freeing us to live a new life, faithfully devoted to him.
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: “Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians was written during a difficult period in his relation with the church at Corinth. Some members of the church had evidently made strong attacks against Paul, but he shows his deep longing for reconciliation and expresses his great joy when this is brought about.” 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 Deuteronomy is organized as a series of addresses given by Moses to the people of Israel in the land of Moab, where they had stopped at the end of the long wilderness journey and were about to enter and occupy Canaan…The great theme of the book is that God has saved and blessed his chosen people, whom he loves; so his people are to remember this, and love and obey him, so that they may have life and continued blessing. The key verses of the book are 6:4–6, and contain the words that Jesus called the greatest of all commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”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.
When my kids are afraid in the middle of the night, they call out my name: “Dad!” Would it surprise you to hear that God tells his children to do the same thing? Again and again God tells his people to “call out” his name when they face trouble (see Psalm 50:15; Jeremiah 33:3; 1 Chronicles 16:8; Lamentations 3:55). But why? Why does God care so much for his children?It all comes down to a mysterious, difficult to translate, three letter, two syllable Hebrew word: hesed.
Hesed is variously translated into English as: mercy, love, loving-kindness, steadfast love, faithfulness, compassion, gracious favor, and many more throughout the Old Testament.If you’ll forgive one further language nerd fact, hesed also has “linguistic gravity,” which simply means that it has a tendency to draw other words into its orbit to help convey its meaning: goodness (Ps 23:6), faithfulness (Ps 89:24), covenant (Deut 7:9), mercy (Ps 103:4), truth (Ps 57:3) to name a few.*
What does all this have to do with David and his troubles that we’ve read about in Psalm 13? Well, David understood that hesed is the defining characteristic of God.So what does it mean?
In a phrase, hesed is “when the person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything.” It’s love, mercy, grace, faithfulness, and a thousand other things buried deep in the heart of God. All of it given to frail, failing, rebellious, messed up me and you. We’ve done nothing to earn it. We can’t buy it. We simply receive it as a gift, because hesed is just the way Yahweh is in the depth of His being toward his people.
Now check out what David says in Verse 5. “But I have trusted in your hesed(steadfast love); my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.”
Do you see what’s happened? David’s lamenting, pleading, how-much-longer-ing and then, all of a sudden, his lament pivots to praise as he remembers and trusts in God’s hesed. David’s like a rock climber setting his anchor into the rock face. God’s hesed is anchoring David’s faith. He’s staking everything on it as he takes the leap…full of confidence that God will give him exactly what he needs to land with feet planted on the other side.
Reflect: How about you? How have you experienced God’s hesed for you in Christ? Are you factoring in God’s unfailing, pursuing, compassionate, loving-kindness as you make plans during this uncertain season?
*I’ve borrowed freely from Michael Card’s Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God’s Lovingkindness in writing this summary of hesed. Check it out and thank me later
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.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)