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
“Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens” (Psalm 148:13)
Prayer of Confession
King of heaven and earth, today there is a clash of kingdoms, and as I share in Christ’s anointing, I have a holy calling—to confess the Prince of Peace, offer every day of my life for your service, and fight against sin and the devil. Holy Spirit, anoint me with boldness and courage to live out this calling wherever I am today. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 32)
*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 148 | Read Mark 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: Mark wastes no time in getting down to business—a single-sentence introduction, and not a digression to be found from beginning to end. An event has taken place that radically changes the way we look at and experience the world, and he can’t wait to tell us about it. There’s an air of breathless excitement in nearly every sentence he writes. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Pray Psalm 149 | Read 1 Kings 6
- 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 1:1-3
The Hebrew in verse 3 literally says that “Jonah fled from the face of Yahweh.” Here’s what I want us to notice today. Jonah doesn’t just run away physically, nor does he simply run away as a form of disobedience, like a child who knows what their parent wants but does the opposite.
No, the Hebrew is making it quite clear. Jonah ran away from God relationally. Let me explain what that means. It means that Jonah was saying to God, “I don’t want anything to do with you anymore.” It’s worse than that actually. Remember how we saw yesterday that Jonah was afraid God would show mercy? What Jonah is really saying to God is this: “If you’re going to show these people mercy, then I’m done with you. You were the center of my life, but honestly, I’m coming to realize that I love my career, my reputation, and myself more than I love you. I’m at the center of my world now, not you.”
Maybe that sounds harsh to our modern ears? But something shifted in Jonah that made him run. He had some sort of realization about what he really valued most, and it turns out that it wasn’t Yahweh. Running away didn’t appear out of nowhere. The reality is that this flight from God’s presence had been brewing in the recesses of Jonah’s heart. Outwardly Jonah looked like he was obeying God, but inwardly a coup was being staged. So the real question for Jonah and for us is: Do you know your own heart?
Tim Keller once put it this way in a sermon, “What is Jonah supposed to do? Is Jonah supposed to start obeying the Ten Commandments? He doesn’t commit adultery. He doesn’t lie. He never misses worship. Do you see? He tithes to the poor. He does everything he’s supposed to do. What’s he supposed to do?
He needs to be converted, and he’s not going to get converted by cleaning up his life. His life is already clean as a whistle. What does he have to do? He needs a transformation of identity at his core. He needs an experience of the grace of God. Do you realize if Jonah had gone off to Nineveh without this horrible experience, he would’ve been utterly ineffective? Why? Because you can’t preach to people about the grace of God if you don’t know it yourself.”
The question we, as readers, need to be asking is: How is God going to transform Jonah? What is it going to take to get Jonah to understand his need for Yahweh’s mercy? And the answer is: a storm. More tomorrow!
REFLECT: Keller notes that Jonah hasn’t ever truly experienced God’s grace. I tend to agree. How is experiencing the grace of God different from simply being moral reformed?
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 the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)