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
“Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things. Who is like you, God?” (Ps. 71:19)
Prayer of Confession
Searching God, your knowledge of me is both soothing and strange. I’m comforted knowing your eyes of love have seen me long before I even thought to look for you; but it’s also an unsettling reminder that I’m not in control. Quiet me now in the grace of your loving heart that has known and chosen me for yourself from before time. Amen. (Prayer based on the Canons of Dort, Article 1.6)
*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).
Pray Psalm 76 | Read John 9
- 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: In deliberate parallel to the opening words of Genesis, John presents God as speaking salvation into existence. This time God’s word takes on human form and enters history in the person of Jesus. Jesus speaks the word and it happens: forgiveness and judgment, healing and illumination, mercy and grace, joy and love, freedom and resurrection. Everything broken and fallen, sinful and diseased, called into salvation by God’s spoken word. Jesus, in this account, not only speaks the word of God; he is the Word of God. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Pray Psalm 77 | Read 2 Kings 21
- OT Context: “Sovereignty, God’s sovereignty, is one of the most difficult things for people of faith to live out in everyday routines…This story makes it clear that it was not God’s idea that the Hebrews have a king, but since they insisted, he let them have their way. But God never abdicated his sovereignty to any of the Hebrew kings; the idea was that they would represent his sovereignty, not that he would delegate his sovereignty to them. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
This Fall our sermon series is in Jonah. Follow along here as we explore this work of literary genius (it is really multilayered and complex) and theological profundity (we discover much about the nature of God, humans, and redemption in just 4 chapters)
READ: Jonah 4:1-11
“And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
At varying times I have found these final lines of Jonah darkly comedic (the Coen brothers couldn’t have written a more poignantly savage line) and tremendously hope-filled.
God gets the final word with his prophet. This is surely not lost on anyone. The “word of Yahweh” may have produced a hasty retreat in Jonah at first, but now Jonah knows he can’t outrun God’s words, nor his mercy, even when it gets poured out upon the sort of people Jonah despises.
But this word from Yahweh is less rhetorical question, and more “Yahweh answering Job out of the whirlwind” (Job 38:1). OT Scholar, Eric Ortlund, notes,
“Yahweh speaks ‘from the storm.’…Elsewhere in the Old Testament, Yahweh’s appearance in the storm, with thunder and lightning, is a way of presenting God’s victorious warfare against supernatural chaos and evil and the salvation of those who trust him (Job 26:11-14; Pss. 18; 29;74; 89; Isa. 27:1; 51:9-11; Joel 3:15-18). This connection between God’s appearance in the storm and his warfare on behalf of his people is easy for modern readers to miss…In the symbolic world of Old Testament poetry, however, the thunder and lightning of God’s storm have a dual function…[they] are not just fireworks but divine weapons by which God saves and renews his people and all creation.”
How does this apply to Jonah? For starters, Jonah not only experiences God’s words as a hurricane, but God sends a literal storm to plunge Jonah into the watery depths that hold the key, as we’ve seen, to Jonah’s rescue from himself! Now on the other side of Yahweh’s rescue of the Ninevites and Jonah’s further doubting of God’s ways, Yahweh speaks to him with whirlwind words meant to once again fight against Jonah’s unbelief.
REFLECT: How has God come to you with his Word to fight against your own unbelief? Spend some time reflecting on how God’s Word fights against all our doubts and fears. Thank him for not fighting against you, but for you!
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.
“Bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign LORD, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.” (2 Sam. 7:29)