July 8 Devotional (2021)

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.

A prayer inspired by Priscilla and Aquila, Missionaries and Companions of the Apostle Paul, who we remember on July 8th

God of grace and might, we praise thee for thy servants Priscilla and Aquila, whom thou didst plenteously endow with gifts of zeal and eloquence to make known the truth of the Gospel. Raise up, we pray thee, in every country, heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that the world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


July 8, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings:    Psalm 85:8-13 / Amos 2:6-16 / Colossians 2:1-5

Invocation

O Lord open thou my lips 

And my mouth shall declare thy praise.

For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. For in his hand are all the ends of the earth: and the heights of the mountains are his.

Hymn

“Bind us together Lord”

Lyrics [1]:

Bind us together, Lord

Bind us together

With cords that cannot be broken

Bind us together, Lord

Bind us together

Bind us together in Love

There is only one God,

There is only one King

There is only one Body,

That is why we sing.        ||Bind us||

Fit for the glory of God,

Purchased by His precious Son

Born with the right to be free

For Jesus the victory has won.         ||Bind us||

We are the family of God

We are the promise divine

We are God’s chosen desire

We are the glorious new wine.       ||Bind us||

Morning Prayer

A Collect for Peace

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [2]

Short Verse

Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.

Psalm 43:3
“Another good morning”
By Anil Nene
(source)

Morning Reading: Psalm 85:8-13

Listen to what God is saying

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,

for he will speak peace to his people,

to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.

Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,

that his glory may dwell in our land.

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;

righteousness and peace will kiss each other.

Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,

and righteousness will look down from the sky.

The Lord will give what is good,

and our land will yield its increase.

Righteousness will go before him,

and will make a path for his steps.


Midday Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, “Peace I give to you; my peace I leave with you:” Regard not our sins, but the faith of your Church, and give to us the peace and unity of that heavenly city, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and for ever. Amen. [3]

Short Verse

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Russian icon of the prophet Amos
(source)

Midday Reading: Amos 2:6-16

God’s condemnation of Israel

6 Thus says the LORD:

“For three transgressions of Israel,

and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,

because they sell the righteous for silver,

and the needy for a pair of sandals—

7 those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth

and turn aside the way of the afflicted;

a man and his father go in to the same girl,

so that my holy name is profaned;

8 they lay themselves down beside every altar

on garments taken in pledge,

and in the house of their God they drink

the wine of those who have been fined.

9 “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them,

whose height was like the height of the cedars

and who was as strong as the oaks;

I destroyed his fruit above

and his roots beneath.

10 Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt

and led you forty years in the wilderness,

to possess the land of the Amorite.

11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets,

and some of your young men for Nazirites.

Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?”

declares the LORD.

12 “But you made the Nazirites drink wine,

and commanded the prophets,

saying, ‘You shall not prophesy.’

13 “Behold, I will press you down in your place,

as a cart full of sheaves presses down.

14 Flight shall perish from the swift,

and the strong shall not retain his strength,

nor shall the mighty save his life;

15 he who handles the bow shall not stand,

and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself,

nor shall he who rides the horse save his life;

16 and he who is stout of heart among the mighty

shall flee away naked in that day,” declares the LORD.

[25]

Midday Lesson

A “covenant lawsuit”

Amos means “burdened” or “bearer.” The Book of Amos was written around 754 BC, “two years before the earthquake” (1:1, 2) “which was so severe that Zechariah wrote about it 200 years later.” [4]

At the time of Amos, “Israel was enjoying peace and economic prosperity. But this blessing had caused her to become a selfish, materialistic society. Those who were well-off ignored the needs of those less fortunate. The people were self-centered and indifferent toward God… Amos spoke against those who exploited or ignored the needy.” [25 Thus, an important message of the Book of Amos is: “Believing in God is more than a matter of individual fatih. God calls all believers to work against injustices in society and to aid those less fortunate.” [6]  

The major theme of the Book of Amos is that “God’s wrath is to be feared: ‘A lion shall roar, and who will not fear?’ (3:8). Crimes committed against the Jews by their neighboring nations will be the first to be punished. Then God’s wrath will turn to the kingdom of Israel for their sins of oppression of the poor (2:6), incest (2:7), indulgence (3:15), gluttony and drunkeness (4:1). The other theme is the promise of Israel’s restoration if they repent, or of foreign captivity is they do not repent.” [7]

“The book begins with oracles of judgment against Israel’s immediate neighbors, in the area now occupied by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan,” and part Israeli territory. [8] “It was not unusual in the ancient world for a prophet from one country to denounce or curse other nations: see Numbers 22–24, where Balaam is called to curse Israel. What is unusual here is that Amos doesn’t stop after he has denounced the other nations but goes on to pronounce a similar judgment on Israel. His listeners would surely have expected to hear that Israel would be glorified when Edom was humiliated (as we saw in Joel 4). Amos, however, insists that Israel is no different from other nations in the eyes of God. Any nation that sins deserves punishment. The sins of the other nations are not all offenses against Israel. Moab is condemned for burning to ashes the bones of the king of Edom (2:1), which is an outrage against humanity as such, or against natural law. The sins of Israel, too, are sins against humanity: they sell the just man for silver and the poor man for a pair of sandals (2:6).” [9]

In Amos 2:1-16, “Moab and Judah are rebuked on account of their sins. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was especially reproached for its neglect of the poor, disregard for the prophets, and their practice of pagan idolatry.” [10]

“Exploitation of people [vv. 6-8], especially the poor, was frequently condemned by Amos and the rest of the Old Testament prophets. Poverty and oppression of the poor strongly demonstrate the presence of sin… God intended for every person to benefit from the created world so as to have the means to lead a dignified life. Amos declared that the king had incurred divine punishment for failing to promote justice for every individual in his realm.” [11]

Verse 11 says, And I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?” declares the LORD. St. John Chrysostom wrote that this was the reason why “the Lord accused the Israelites more severely and showed that they deserved greater punishment, because they sinned after receiving the honors that he had bestowed on them. He said, ‘You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will visit upon you your iniquities’ [Am 3:2] and again, ‘I took of your sons for prophets and of your young men for consecration’ [Am 3:11, LXX]. And before the time of the prophets, when he wanted to show that sins received a much heavier penalty when they were committed by the priests than when they were committed by ordinary people, he commanded as great a sacrifice to be offered for the priests as for all the people. This explicitly proves that the priest’s wounds require greater help, indeed as much as those of all the people together. They would not have required greater help if they had not been more serious, and their seriousness is not increased by their own nature but by the extra weight of dignity belonging to the priest who dares to commit them.” [12]

“The oracle against Israel in Amos 2:6–16 can be read as a ‘covenant lawsuit,’ that is, a speech in which the prophet indicts Israel for failing to keep the Sinai covenant. The covenant had three essential elements: (1) the recollection of salvation history, culminating in the Exodus; (2) the commandments, and (3) blessings for keeping the commandments and curses for breaking them. The history as well as the curses and blessings both provided motivation to keep the commandments. The typical argument of a ‘covenant lawsuit’ is that (1) God earned the loyalty of Israel by bringing it out of Egypt, but (2) Israel proved disloyal by breaking the commandments. In Amos 2, the sins of Israel are listed first (vv. 6–8). Then the prophet recalls the Exodus and the obligation it entailed. He concludes with a threat, which is in effect a curse (2:14–16): ‘Flight shall elude the swift’ and further disastrous outcomes… The basic requirements of justice should be obvious to all.” [13]


Eventide Prayer

Lord Christ, your saints have been the lights of the world in every generation: Grant that we who follow in their footsteps may be made worthy to enter with them into that heavenly country where you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen. [14]

Short Verse

Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.    

Psalm 141:2
“Moonlight Mystery”
By Randy Burns
(source)

Eventide Reading: Colossians 2:1-5

Christ, the mystery of God

1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. 5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

Eventide Lesson

Seek only Christ

“For those who seek the secrets of the universe, a desire the Colossian heretics fed upon, Paul assures us Christ knows everything. Most of this is hidden to us, so we must seek Christ alone, who. Is God’s Wisdom. In the Incarnation He became for us a servant, taking on our weak and mortal existence, but He always remains Lord of all.” [15]

“Paul encouraged the Colossians to seek only Christ, ‘in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ and in whom they can find the ‘understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, of Christ.’” [16]


OPTIONAL FURTHER READING:
About Colossians

Circumstances of Writing 

“Colossians retains its place among the epistles of Paul, who identified himself as the author (1:1; 4:18). The church fathers unreservedly endorsed Pauline authorship (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer., 3.14.1; Tertullian, De Praescr. Haer., 7; Clement of Alexandria, Strom., 1.1; see Justin, Dialogue, 85.2; 138.2). A close reading of Colossians reveals a considerable number of lexical, grammatical, and theological similarities with the other Pauline writings (1:9,26; 2:11-14,16,20-21; 3:1,3,5-17). Also favoring the authenticity of Colossians as a letter of Paul is its close connection with Philemon, an epistle widely regarded as Pauline.” [17]

“During his ministry in Ephesus (Ac 19:10), Paul sent Epaphras to spread the gospel in the Lycus Valley. Epaphras subsequently established the church at Colossae (1:7; 4:12-13). The city’s population consisted mostly of Phrygians and Greeks, but it also included a significant number of Jews. The church, likewise, was mostly composed of Gentiles (1:21,27; 2:13), but it also had Jewish members (2:11,16,18,21; 3:11). When Epaphras (Phm 23) informed Paul of certain heretical teachings that had spread there, Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians as a theological antidote.” [18]

“Paul wrote Colossians during his first Roman imprisonment (4:3,10,18; see Ac 28:30-31; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., 2.22.1) in the early AD 60s. Together with Philemon, Philippians, and Ephesians, Colossians is commonly classified as a “prison epistle.” All four epistles share several personal links that warrant this conclusion (Col 1:7; 4:7-8,17; Eph 6:21-22; Phm 2,12,23).” [19]

Contribution to the Bible 

“Colossians provides one of the Bible’s fullest expressions of the deity and supremacy of Christ. This is most evident in the magnificent hymn of praise (1:15-20) that sets forth Christ as the image of the invisible God, the Creator and sustainer of the universe, and the head of his body, the church. In Christ are all the “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (2:3), because in him “the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily” (2:9). The supremacy of Christ also has implication for believers’ salvation (2:10,13,20; 3:1,11-12,17) and conduct (3:5–4:6). Colossians contributes to Scripture a high Christology and a presentation of its implications for the believer’s conduct.” [20]

Structure 

“Colossians may be divided into two main parts. The first (1:3–2:23) is a polemic against false teachings. The second (3:1–4:17) is made up of exhortations to proper Christian living. This is typical of Paul’s approach, presenting a theology position first, a position on which the practical exhortations are built. The introduction (1:1-2) is in the form of a Hellenistic, personal letter.” [21]

“Notable in the final section are the mention of Onesimus (4:9), which links this letter with Philemon; the mention of a letter at Laodicea (4:16) that may have been Ephesians; and Paul’s concluding signature which indicates that the letter was prepared by an amanuensis (secretary; see 4:18).” [22]

Hilary of Poitiers on Colossians

“There is no doubt that all things are through the Son, since, according to the apostle, “All things are through him and in him.” If all things are through him, and all things are from nothing, and nothing is except through him, I ask in what way does he lack the true nature of God, since he is not lacking either in the nature or the power of God? For he used the power of his nature that these things should exist which had no existence, and that these things should exist which pleased him.” [23]

Compline Prayer

Look down, O Lord, from your heavenly throne, and illumine this night with your celestial brightness; that by night as by day your people may glorify your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [24]


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Bind us together lord. (2017, March 21). Retrieved April 26, 2021, from https://christianlyricz.com/2016/09/24/bind-us-together-lord/

[2] 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. 99). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[3] 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. 107). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[4] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Amos. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1027). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Amos. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 771). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[6] Ibid. 5

[7] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Amos. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1027). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Amos. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 759). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[9] Ibid. 8

[10] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Amos. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 2584). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[11] Ibid. 10, P. 2585

[12] Augustine. (2019). Amos. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 2531). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[13] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Amos. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 759-760). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[14] 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. 111). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[15] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Colossians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1650). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[16] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Colossians. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3604). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[17] Colossians. (2019). In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3369). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[18] Ibid. 17

[19] Ibid. 17

[20] Ibid. 17

[21] Ibid. 17

[22] Ibid. 17

[23] Ibid. 17

[24] 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. 133). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated

[25] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Amos [chart]. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 7369). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

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