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
“The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” (Ps. 33:5)
Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, give me the grace to admit, every day, that I am the sinner, that I stand guilty before you. When the latest spiritual fad promises me the key to finding real life, let me calmly pass by that advice and come back to the simple truth that I am a sinner you freely forgive for the sake of Jesus Christ my Savior. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 83)
*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 28 | Read Luke 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: Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common laborers (sheepherders), the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. He will not countenance religion as a club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn’t felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Pray Psalm 29 | Read 1 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 1:3-16
Yesterday we paused to make some observations about our passage. What did you see? Was there anything that took you by surprise?
Here’s what stood out to me: The response of the mariners in relation to Jonah.
These hardened sea-dogs are very alert to the trouble they are in: “Everybody pray to your gods. This is no ordinary storm. Somebody here messed up bad, and they’re dragging us down with them!” Jonah is awakened from his slumber with the same words God called him before his flight only this time Yahweh’s words are in the mouth of a pagan ship’s captain, “Arise…!” It’s an irony that Jonah sure could not have missed. Keller notes, “God sent his prophet to point the pagans toward himself. Yet now it is the pagans pointing the prophet toward God.”
Jonah has an opportunity here. He can be like his forefather Abraham and be a blessing to these men simply by calling out to Yahweh in repentant faith. But the absence of Jonah joining these sailors by calling on his God rings loud in the narrative. Jonah is not only hardhearted toward God, he is cold-hearted toward the fate of these pretty open-minded sailors. They don’t mind praying to whichever god is capable of rescuing them if only they knew which one! Jonah, on the other, knows what’s going on, knows that he could help, but doesn’t reveal it to the sailors until his hand is forced.
Even then, these ancient mariners are exceedingly gracious toward Jonah! They don’t just rise up and take their revenge on him but instead they are respectful to Jonah and to Yahweh. They draw out the full story, and when Jonah offers up the idea for them to assist him in dying, they row for shore instead. (It’s really astounding how honorable these men are, and a good evidence of the doctrine of common grace!).
They don’t get anywhere closer to land despite all their efforts and conclude that they better not get in the way of Yahweh’s plan for Jonah. Again, though, it’s the sailors who do all the communicating with the divine and they make sure that Yahweh knows they don’t want to kill this guy: “…you, O LORD, have done as it pleased you” (presumably because he prevented them from getting back to shore).
So Jonah, whether because he had pity on the sailors or because would rather die than hear another word from God, finally gets his wish, and they hurl him into the sea.
REFLECT:Why do you suppose the good-heartedness of the mariners is emphasized so much in relation to Jonah? What can we learn from this? How might this shape your relationships with those who do not believe the gospel?
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.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)