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
“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders” (Deuteronomy 33:12).
Prayer of Confession
God, when I count on my pious actions to make me right with you, I get the gospel confused. I’m flattering myself, relying on my capacity to gain your approval.
Today, help me first to trust only in Jesus, transferring my heart’s confidence to him and so making mine all of his satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness. Amen. (a prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Q61)
*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
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 apostle John explains how our understanding (or lack thereof) of God’s love affects the way that we view ourselves and others. God’s love is key in knowing that we have eternal life in Jesus Christ” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “Twice in Judges (17:6 and 21:25) there is the telling refrain: “At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.” But we readers know that there was a king in Israel: God was king. And so, while the lack of an earthly king accounts for the moral and political anarchy, the presence of the sovereign God, however obscurely realized, means that the reality of the kingdom is never in doubt.” Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
Read: Genesis 12 + Genesis 15
This week we are looking at the story of Abraham for Father’s Day (so it’s gonna get interesting).
Read: Genesis 15:1-21 + Genesis 16:1-6
We often only get the essential details in narrative passages like this. There is no color commentary going on or Johannine parenthetical whispers (The beloved apostle often do this: “You see what was really happening was this…”). Instead we get what God felt was most important to communicate, what helps us to see his work of redemption most clearly.
Our passages today are placed next to one another because they make for compelling storytelling and God is making a point about himself and about us as his creatures.I’ll paraphrase it like this: we are impatient; God is gracious in his patience. We work in days; God works over millennia. We have clever ideas; God’s plans never fail. That is what is being juxtaposed in this story.
Coming on the heels of the action with rescuing his more-trouble-than-he’s-worth nephew Lot and meeting with the mysterious Melchizedek, Abram has a vision. In it, he walks out under the heavenly canopy of lights, God tells him to count, “Look…number the stars…” He begins counting. God interrupts. “…if you are able to even count them all! You’re going to have a big family, Abram!” The next line, though, tells us the big point and it sets up the story that follows: Abram believed the LORD, and God declared him “Set-right-with-God.”
But not everything in this story is set right with God. Sometime later Sarai, in words she likely regretted soon after, says to her vision-receiving husband, “Look, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her!” It’s a clever idea. It’s just not what God had in mind. But notice the tension her plan creates, not with the other humans involved (and there was plenty of that!), but with God.
God says: I will make a way. Sarai says: I’ve got my ways. God promises but Sarai says, “Promises, promises! What good is a promised son? What I need is a real son any way I can get one!” It was more than just short-cutting God’s plan, it was a return to the ground under the tree in Eden. No devilish snake this time but the temptation is the same. Sarai like her mother Eve fails to trust God and desires to be God. Abram like Adam abdicates his role. The results, as you might expect, are disastrous. Hagar is abused by their sin. Perhaps she thought to herself: “Look, I haven’t had much choice here. They’ve just played God in my life, and now Sarai scowls and berates me? Isn’t this what she wanted?”
Hagar does what any reasonable person might do.She gets the heck out of there! And in the week leading up to Mother’s Day we saw what God did in her life. This week we are looking at Abraham and, to be honest, he doesn’t look like much of a father of faith at the moment, but the story isn’t over. So for now let’s reflect on what we’ve read.
Reflect: We can relate with Sarai. Just fill in the blank of the thing you are having difficulty waiting on God to come through on. How might God be calling you to trust him rather than grasping for the low hanging fruit of your own designs?
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 you be ‘filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.'” (Philippians 1:11)