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
“Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious.” (Ps. 66:1-2)
Prayer of Confession
Holy God, I confess I’m not far from murder because I see shoots of it snaking through my heart. The ugly wish for another to fail, bitter sarcasm, anger I throw like grenades, even the secretly guarded prejudice I keep locked down. Kill off this ugly root and grow the good fruit of love. In Christ who died for me. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 106)
*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 18 | Read Luke 4
- 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 19 | Read 1 Kings 16
- 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 week marks our 10th year as a church. So in celebration of God’s faithfulness, we are re-running a series of devotions from the Psalm 13 about God’s faithfulness in his person, promises, and provision.
Read Psalm 13:5-6
Yesterday we saw that despite his troubles David clung to God as his only hope in life and in death (“Look! Answer me, Yahweh, my God!…lest I sleep in death.”). Today we get to see why he trusted God. And it all comes down to a mysterious, difficult to translate, 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, 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 David and his troubles? Well, David understood that hesed is the defining characteristic of God. So what 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.
Now check out what David says in Verse 5. “But I have trusted in your hesed(steadfast love); my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.”
Do you see what’s happened? David’s lamenting, pleading, how-much-longer-ing and then, all of a sudden, his lament pivots to praise as he remembers and trusts in God’s hesed. David’s like a rock climber setting his anchor into the rock face. God’s hesed is anchoring David’s faith. He’s staking everything on it as he takes the leap…full of confidence that God will give him exactly what he needs to land with feet planted on the other side.
Questions to Ponder:
How about you? How have you experienced God’s hesed for you in Christ? Are you factoring in God’s unfailing, pursuing, compassionate, loving-kindness as you make plans during this uncertain season?
*I’ve borrowed freely from Michael Card’s Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God’s Lovingkindness in writing this summary of hesed. Check it out and thank me later
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 meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)