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 78 | Read John 10
- 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 79 | Read 2 Kings 22
- 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
We’ve said this week that we want to be the sort of people who live out of the logic of God’s mercy. What does this logic look like? Well to understand the logic of God’s mercy, we need return to a Hebrew word we explored earlier while reading Jonah chapter 2. It’s the 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 (which I’m not really apologizing for): 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 Jonah and his troubles with Nineveh? Well, being a prophet, Jonah would have understood that hesed is the defining characteristic of God. So what exactly 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.
The logic of God’s mercy is that he delights to give his hesed to whomever he pleases. Good people. Bad people. People who embezzle. People who rarely if ever cuss. This is God’s logic not our own. The logic of God’s mercy isn’t concerned so much with our moral goodness (everyone is morally bankrupt in relation to God), the logic of mercy is concerned with lavishing kindness, faithfulness, goodness, love, and all the rest of the fruit of the Spirit upon undeserving (and, perhaps, unsuspecting) people! What on earth does it look like to live out of that?
Well, in short, it looks like the love of Jesus where, as songwriter Andrew Osenga puts it, “I’m never abandoned, never forgotten / I’m never unwanted, I’m never too much /I’m never rejected, or used like an object / I’m never too needy or lost for your touch…But always forgiving, always embracing, always He’s for me and there by my side.”
REFLECT: What would it look like to begin giving glimpses of the love of Jesus to others? How would it transform your friendships and your enmities?
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)