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 the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him (Habakkuk 2:20).
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.
Dear heavenly Father, when we were dead in our sins and trespasses, you raised us to new life in Christ. We praise you for so great a salvation, so glorious a hope, and so firm a standing in grace. We humble ourselves before you today, in gratitude and repentance.
Forgive us for our attitudes that deny your grace. Forgive us for our words that violate peace. Forgive us for our habits that sabotage beauty. Forgive us for our passivity that accepts the unacceptable. Forgive us for our greed that fuels our idolatry. Forgive us for our pettiness that robs people we love. Forgive us for our unbelief that robs you of glory.
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: What does it mean to be secure in Christ? Peter challenges Christians to look for the hope that Christ provides as the apostle addresses conduct within and outside of the church. Meditate on the passage. What new insight have you received?
OT Context: Listing a large amount of sins, Micah tells Israel that Babylon and Assyria will be God’s instruments of judgment against them. Yet in the midst of this, Micah speaks of a Shepherd King who will gather and lead a remnant forward. As you reflect on the passage, pray its truths into your heart.
“Psalms Mix” Readings
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) from Sunday’s sermon. Use it to reflect upon the ways Christ has been working in your life this week. Makes a great midday reflection, or group discussion guide.
Read Psalm 32:6-7
Did you notice the change in David’s focus in Verse 6? He goes from addressing God to addressing all of us. He’s sharing with us what he’s found. We’ll get to what he found in a moment, but first let’s appreciate that David’s instinct to encourage “the faithful” or “everyone who is godly” to learn from his experience of forgiveness. This is because for the psalmists there is no such thing as autonomous spirituality. Eugene Peterson puts it this way:
“We often imagine, wrongly, that the psalms are private compositions prayed by a shepherd, traveler, or fugitive. Close study shows that all of them are corporate: all were prayed by and in the community….It goes against the whole spirit of the psalms to take these communal laments, these congregational praises, these corporate intercessions and use them as cozy formulas for private solace.”
David Taylor calls this the “terrifyingly good news of the psalms: the community sees it all…there is not hiding from the community; there is in fact no need to hide…the community gets to help us be open and unafraid.”
Every psalm was meant to be shared and sung within the worshipping community. It is a radically different vision of community that reflects God’s desire for our lives to deeply intersect with one another. This cuts against the grain of our culture where everything centers on ourselves. But in Christian community there is no ‘I’ in team. My lot is tied up in y’all’s.
So what does David want y’all to see and learn? First, he’s thinking of people like himself who fall into sin. The temptation is to stay silent because of the shame. David has shown us how to confess our sin within Christian community (v.1-5). And while it’s difficult to admit to God and others what you’ve done, David says it’s better to confess your sin “at a time when you may be found.” He then gives us the image of sin as rushing floodwaters that swell and threaten to carry you off to places you never intended to go. Where a search party might never find you.
Second, and here’s where the community of faith comes in, if God has preserved you and become your refuge amidst the surging flood water of your sin, then the most natural next step is to confess to other Christians about the way he rescued you and continues to rescue you as you learn to follow his ways (v.8). The songs of deliverance actually become a congregational tune sung by all those whom God has forgiven. And here’s the really cool part: one day that song will become an eternal song that ALL those who Christ has redeemed will sing (Isa. 35:10; Isa. 51:11; Rev. 5:9), because Jesus, the One who entered into the storm and chaotic flood of our sin, truly is worthy of all glory and honor and power. Amen.
Questions to Ponder:
What makes it so easy to hide from Christian community? Does David’s honest confession within a community encourage you to pursue this sort of open and unafraid community for yourself?
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.
Now may the Savior who is tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin, make you steady in trials, faithful in temptations, content with providence, and hopeful in troubles. Amen.