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 I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)
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.
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 823)
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).
Pray Psalm 36 | Read John 20
- 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 37 | Read Exodus 38
- OT Context: The Exodus is a powerful and dramatic and true story of God working salvation. The story has generated an extraordinary progeny through the centuries as it has reproduced itself in song and poem, drama and novel, politics and social justice, repentance and conversion, worship and holy living. It continues to capture the imagination of men and women, especially men and women in trouble. It is significant that God does not present us with salvation in the form of an abstract truth, or a precise definition or a catchy slogan, but as story. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) for Sunday’s sermon. Go ahead and read the following passage(s) and use the Parables Reading Plan + Study Guide to journal what stands out and what you have questions about in the passages. Below is a helpful commentary that can help to fill in the gaps.
Read: Luke 20:9–19 + Isaiah 5:1-7 + Isaiah 3:14-15
There is an interesting connection between the passages for our Sermon Series (Luke 20) and Men’s/Women’s Groups (Luke 10) this week. Are you ready for it?
The religious elite in both cases are painted in a very negative light, which is no surprise, but what should catch our attention is what they lack in each parable. In Luke 10, Jesus shows them to be neglectful of showing hesed and truly obeying God’s command to love their neighbors.
In Luke 20, however, Jesus isn’t pulling any punches. He begins with the scene described in Isaiah 5:1-7 of a beloved Son who has cultivated a beautiful and flourishing vineyard. In Isaiah the drama revolves around the vineyard not producing what it was cultivated to produce: grapes for wine! In Luke, however, Jesus spins the story around and the religious leaders are described as wicked, murderous tenants who devise an evil plan to get ahold of the vineyard (the kingdom) because they wrongly assume that the Father (God) is dead. Jesus’ meaning is unmistakable: the religious leaders have made decided to replace God with themselves, and will kill his beloved Son. Perhaps Nietzsche was right? God is dead and the religious have killed him.
But they are, all of them, self-deceived and mistaken, the Owner of the vineyard is very much alive and well, and though they have rejected and tried to crush his beloved Son, the cornerstone, their violence will be their own undoing: “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” Their lack of hesed toward their vulnerable neighbors (Luke 10) reveals a deeper rebellion of heart: a lack of love for Yahweh himself (Luke 20).
The question about both vineyards (Isaiah and Luke) is: What will the Owner do? The answer is the same: destruction. The vineyard is made a waste in Isaiah, but in Jesus’ parable the tenants are destroyed by the Owner’s just wrath and the vineyard is given to others. It’s symbolic of the religious leaders missing out God’s kingdom, because as Psalm 2 says they have “raged” and “plotted” against the Lord and His Anointed, when they should be “serving the Lord with fear,” “kissing the Son lest he be angry,” and taking refuge in God. Instead they took refuge in their own plans and “watched him, sent spies, pretended to be sincere, in order to trap him, and put him on trial, and, hopefully, to death (Luke 20:20).
Questions to Ponder: Read Psalm 2 and meditate on what it looks like to “take refuge” in Christ.
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.
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:2-4)