June 30 Devotional (2021)

“Master, I have brought unto thee my son.”


A prayer inspired by the Early Martyrs in Rome, who we remember on June 30th

O Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy holy martyrs at Rome in the days of the Emperor Nero triumphed over suffering and were faithful even unto death: Grant us, who now remember them with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to thee in this world, that we may receive with them the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


June 30, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings:   2 Kings 20:1-11 / Mark 9:14-29 / Profile of Hezekiah 

Invitatory

O Lord, open thou our lips. 

And our mouth shall show forth thy praise.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

Hymn

“How Great Thou Art”

Morning Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,

    hallowed be thy Name,

    thy kingdom come,

    thy will be done,

        on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

    as we forgive those

        who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

    but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

    and the power, and the glory,

    for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Short Verse

Praise God from whom all blessings flow; 

Praise him all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, you heavenly hosts; 

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 

Doxology
“Hezekiah”
(source)

Morning Reading: 2 Kings 20:1-11

God heals Hezekiah

1 In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3 “Now, O LORD, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: 5 “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD, 6 and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” 7 And Isaiah said, “Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover.”

8 And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD on the third day?” 9 And Isaiah said, “This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he has promised: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps?” 10 And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to lengthen ten steps. Rather let the shadow go back ten steps.” 11 And Isaiah the prophet called to the LORD, and he brought the shadow back ten steps, by which it had gone down on the steps of Ahaz.

Morning Lesson

Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery

In those days (v. 1) “is taken by many commentators to be a general designation for the time of Hezekiah’s reign, the events of chapter 20 actually having taken place before those of 18:8–19:37. Others suggest that the phrase refers to the time either slightly before or shortly after the siege of Jerusalem.” [1]

“Hezekiah was sorrowful at Isaiah’s news (v. 1) [that Hezekiah was to die]. However, he knew how to plead his case, for he was on praying terms with the Lord [vv. 2-3]. His concern seems genuinely to be more for his country and its needs than for himself (cf. vv. 5, 6).” [2]

“Over a 100-year period of Judah’s history (732–640 B.C.), Hezekiah was the only faithful king; but what a difference he made! Because of Hezekiah’s faith and prayer, God healed him and saved his city from the Assyrians [vv. 5-6]. You can make a difference, too, even if your faith puts you in the minority. Faith and prayer, if they are sincere and directed toward the one true God, can change any situation.” [3]

In verse 7, Isaiah advised the use of figs to heal Hezekiah’s boil. “The application of figs to ulcerated sores is widely attested in the literature of the ancient world.” [4]

“The third day [v. 8] is often one of special spiritual experience and service (Ex. 19:11, 15; Ezra 6:15), as well as newness of life before God (cf. Lev. 7:17 with Luke 13:32; 24:5–7, 21, 44–49; Acts 10:40; 1 Cor. 15:4).” [5]

“Egyptian sundials in this period were sometimes made in the form of miniature staircases [steps, v. 11] so that the shadows moved up and down the steps.” [6] “Evidently the supernatural turning backward of the sun’s shadow was a localized happening, but it was no less of a miracle.” [7]


Midday Prayer

For Peace of Mind

Lord, you know my cares and my fears. Help me to turn them all over to you, who have promised to give rest to our souls. Grant to me now a restful spirit and a peaceful mind, and in quietness and confidence and faith to find a new strength. Amen. [8]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Short Verse

Mother Sarah used to say, “Whensoever I put my foot on the ladder to go up, before I ascend it I set my death before mine eyes.”

Sayings of the Holy Desert Fathers, Of Scrupulous Watchfulness in our Thoughts and Words and Deeds [9]
“Healing the royal official’s son”
By Joseph-Marie Vien, 1752
(source)

Midday Reading: Mark 9:14-29

Jesus heals a child

14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

“Master, I Have Brought unto Thee My Son”
by Walter Rane
(source)

Midday Lesson

The importance of faith and prayer

In today’s reading, Jesus emphasized the importance of faith and prayer. “Christ chided the father (and, perhaps implicitly, his own disciples who could not cast out the spirit) for the lack of complete faith in him. Pointing out the conditional ‘if you can’ in the father’s request, Christ assured [the onlookers] that everything is possible with faith. The faith needed to overcome the Devil and the evil of sin is expressed in prayer and penance.” [10]

“The boy’s “condition resembled an epileptic seizure [v. 18], causing recurring convulsions and loss of consciousness, but was caused by demon possession. Cf Mt 17:15.” [11]

In verse 19, Jesus referred to “the father, disciples, and the gathering crowd” as a faithless generation. [12] This is because “the father and crowd had likely despaired while Jesus was absent on the mount. Note the amazement in v 15 (cf 6:6 ; Lk 24:32, 41).” [13]

In our reading, “Jesus showed interest in the boy, who was more to Jesus than a subject for a demonstration of His power.” [14] “The power and love of God are constant (Ps 62: 11–12). Faith receives the gifts God had prepared (cf 11:22–24; Jas 1:5–8).” [15]

“The father cried out with faith [v. 24] but struggled with his son’s burden and the failure of the disciples (cf Rm 7).” [16] “Worthiness does not depend on the greatness or smallness, the weakness or strength of faith. Instead, it depends on Christ’s merit, which the distressed father of little faith [Mark 9:24] enjoyed as well as Abraham, Paul, and others who have a joyful and strong faith.” [17]

The father cried out [v. 24] “I believe; help my unbelief!” “Faith is a gift from God that also requires our decision to correspond to this gift. The prayer of the father of the possessed boy should become our own prayer as we continually seek to perfect our faith in Christ.” [18]

In verse 28, the disciples asked Jesus why they had not been successful at driving out the evil spirit. “There are different types of demons with different powers. The disciples’ earlier success in exorcism (6:13) had either not prepared them for this case or made them overconfident in their own work.” [19]

“Jesus descend[ed] from the transfiguration and [met] a defiant demon, an anxious father, an astonished crowd, and despairing disciples. Despair threatens to overwhelm our faith too by pointing out how we fail to change or improve, suggesting that God neither cares for us nor has power to help. However, Jesus does not linger in the glory of the transfiguration, but graciously descends to a world of despair and doubt so that He might deliver us. • Lord, thank You for Your compassion , which brings You to our world of pain and dismay. Give us faith to overcome our doubts , and help us believe that all things are possible with You. Amen.” [20]


Eventide Prayer

A Collect for Peace

Most holy God, the source of all good desires, all right judgements, and all just works: Give to us, your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, so that our minds may be fixed on the doing of your will, and that we, being delivered from the fear of all enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through the mercies of Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen. [21]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Short Verse

“And if you are asked a question, speak that which is fair and helpful, and not that which is evil and destructive.”

Sayings of the Holy Desert Fathers, Of Scrupulous Watchfulness in our Thoughts and Words and Deeds [22]
King Hezekiah from Guillaume Rouillé’s Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum, 1553
(source)

Eventide Reading

Profile of Hezekiah 

“The past is an important part of today’s actions and tomorrow’s plans. The people and kings of Judah had a rich past, filled with God’s action, guidance, and commands. But with each passing generation, they also had a growing list of tragedies that occurred when the people forgot that their God, who had cared for them in the past, also cared about the present and the future—and demanded their continued obedience. Hezekiah was one of the few kings of Judah who was constantly aware of God’s acts in the past and his interest in the events of every day. The Bible describes him as a king who had a close relationship with God.” [23]

“As a reformer, Hezekiah was most concerned with present obedience. Judah was filled with visual reminders of the people’s lack of trust in God, and Hezekiah boldly cleaned house. Altars, idols, and pagan temples were destroyed. Even the bronze serpent Moses had made in the wilderness was not spared because it had ceased to point the people to God and had also become an idol. The Temple in Jerusalem, whose doors had been nailed shut by Hezekiah’s own father, was cleaned out and reopened. The Passover was reinstituted as a national holiday, and there was revival in Judah.” [24]

“Although he had a natural inclination to respond to present problems, Hezekiah’s life shows little evidence of concern about the future. He took few actions to preserve the effects of his sweeping reforms. His successful efforts made him proud. His unwise display of wealth to the Babylonian delegation got Judah included on Babylon’s “Nations to Conquer” list. When Isaiah informed Hezekiah of the foolishness of his act, the king’s answer displayed his persistent lack of foresight—he was thankful that any evil consequences would be delayed until after he died. And the lives of three kings who followed him—Manasseh, Amon, and Josiah—were deeply affected by both Hezekiah’s accomplishments and his weaknesses.” [25]

“The past affects your decisions and actions today, and these, in turn, affect the future. There are lessons to learn and errors to avoid repeating. Remember that part of the success of your past will be measured by what you do with it now and how well you use it to prepare for the future.” [26]

“Hezekiah showing off his wealth to envoys of the Babylonian king” 
oil on canvas 
By Vicente López Portaña, 1789
(source)

Strengths and accomplishments [27]

  • Instigated civil and religious reforms in Judah 
  • Had a personal, growing relationship with God 
  • Developed a powerful prayer life 
  • Patron of several chapters in the book of Proverbs (Prov 25:1)

Weaknesses and mistakes [28]

  • Showed little interest or wisdom in planning for the future and protecting for others the spiritual heritage he enjoyed 
  • Rashly showed all his wealth to messengers from Babylon

Lessons from his life [29]

  • Sweeping reforms are short-lived when little action is taken to preserve them for the future 
  • Past obedience to God does not remove the possibility of present disobedience 
  • Complete dependence on God yields amazing results

Vital statistics [30]

  • Where: Jerusalem 
  • Occupation: 13th king of Judah, the southern kingdom 
  • Relatives: Father: Ahaz. Mother: Abijah. Son: Manasseh. 
  • Contemporaries: Isaiah, Hoshea, Micah, Sennacherib

Key verses [31]

  • “Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time. He remained faithful to the LORD in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the LORD had given Moses” (2 Kgs 18:5-6). 
  • Hezekiah’s story is told in 2 Kings 16:20–20:21; 2 Chronicles 28:27–32:33; Isaiah 36:1–39:8. He is also mentioned in Proverbs 25:1; Isaiah 1:1; Jeremiah 15:4; 26:18-19; Hosea 1:1; Micah 1:1.

Compline Prayer

Save me, O Lord, while I am awake, and keep me while I sleep. That I may wake in Christ and rest in peace. 

– adapted from THE SHORT BREVIARY [32]

Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] 2 Kings. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1883). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.

[2] Ibid. 1

[3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 2 Kings. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6000). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[4] 2 Kings. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1883). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 2 Kings. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6000). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[7] 2 Kings. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1884). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Forward Movement. (2013). Personal Prayers. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 328). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[9] Of Scrupulous Watchfulness in our Thoughts and Words and Deeds. (1907). In The Sayings of the Holy Fathers: Books I and II (Kindle ed., p. 82).  W. Budge (Ed.)

[10] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Mark. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3009). Downers Grove,, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[11] A., E. E. (2016). Mark. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7209). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[12] Ibid. 11

[13] Ibid. 11

[14] Ibid. 11

[15] Ibid. 11

[16] Ibid. 11

[17] Ibid. 11, P. 7209-7210

[18] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Mark. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3009). Downers Grove,, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[19] A., E. E. (2016). Mark. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7210). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[20] Ibid. 19

[21] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 123). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[22] Of Scrupulous Watchfulness in our Thoughts and Words and Deeds. (1907). In The Sayings of the Holy Fathers: Books I and II (Kindle ed., p. 94).  W. Budge (Ed.)

[23] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Profile of Hezekiah. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 8101). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[24] Ibid. 23, P. 8101-8102

[25] Ibid. 23, P. 8102

[26] Ibid. 23, P. 8102

[27] Ibid. 23, P. 8102

[28] Ibid. 23, P. 8102

[29] Ibid. 23, P. 8102

[30] Ibid. 23, P. 8103

[31] Ibid. 23, P. 8103

[32] Tickle, P. (2000). June. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 111). New York, NY: Image Books.

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