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November 5th devo image, like colored tiles.

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

“For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” (Ps. 48:14)

Prayer of Confession

Everlasting God, I shop for pleasure, looking to consume happiness; I hustle for meaning, striving to make a difference. But the more I consume the less I enjoy, and the harder I work the more life slips out of my reach. Help me understand the simple truth that none of my work or worry, nor any of life’s pleasures, does any good without your blessing. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 125)

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Reading Plan

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).

Morning Readings:

Pray Psalm 70 | Read John 6

  • 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.

Evening Readings:

Pray Psalm 71 | Read 2 Kings 18

  • 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?

Sermon Devo

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 4:1-9

Yesterday we closed with a bit of heavy thought: we are fickle AND YET Christ loves us with a love that says, “The day of no-more-condemnation has already arrived.” What mercy! We don’t have to live with the baggage of our on-again, off-again relationship with other spiritual lovers. Christ, the true Bridegroom, tells us that our spiritual adultery has been forgiven.* He will never leave us nor forsake us. Though others can, and do, abandon, Jesus isn’t given to capricious affection. Once the Lord of life sets his love upon us there’s no outrunning it.

Jonah discovered that for himself. Yahweh pursued him with his love and goodness (Ps. 23) to hell and back again. But now Jonah can’t make sense of the wideness of God’s love and goodness. He rightly wants justice. Nineveh does, in fact, deserve death, but is Jonah the arbiter of God’s justice? We find ourselves once again seeing the similar patterns of questioning that are found in Job. And, here also, Yahweh shows himself consistent by gently entering into dialogue with his wayward prophet. 

It reminds me of that scene from The Lord of the Rings where Frodo is astonished that Gandalf doesn’t want to smite Gollum (I’ll blend the lines of the movie and the book):

Frodo: What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!’
Gandalf: ‘Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need.
Frodo: ‘But I am frightened; and I do not feel any pity for Gollum.’
‘You have not seen him,’ Gandalf broke in. ‘No, and I don’t want to,’ said Frodo. ‘I can’t understand you. Do you mean to say that you, and the Elves, have let him live on after all those horrible deeds? Now at any rate he is as bad as an Orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death.’
Gandalf: ‘Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. 

Now, to be clear, God, unlike Gandalf, knows exactly whether or not the Ninevites will be “cured” of their wickedness. But that doesn’t stop him from showing mercy. In fact, as we’ve seen, it would be inconsistent for him to rain down judgment when true repentance has occurred, so he takes the pain of the Ninevites’ sin upon himself, to bear it to hell and back again. And all we dare say, unlike Jonah, is “My God! What mercy!”

REFLECT: To whom in your life do you struggle to be merciful toward? Ask God to melt your heart with the reality that like Gollum, like the Ninevites, you deserved death, but Christ gave you his own life instead. As we head into this weekend, let’s marvel as a humble and repentant people before the great mercy of our Creator, Redeemer, and Friend!

*Ray Ortlund has an excellent book (God’s Unfaithful Wife) on the theme of “spiritual adultery,” and despite its somewhat gloomy title, this exploration of the reality and depths of our sin opens up a wide country for discovering God’s grace as bigger than we ever dared imagine.

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.

Benediction

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)

© 2014 - OPC|Milford