August 7 Devotional (2021)

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; And all these things shall be added unto you. Hallelujah!

August 7, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings:  Psalm 130 / 2 Samuel 15:1-13 / Matthew 7:7-11


A prayer inspired by John Mason Neale, Priest and Reformer of the Church, who we remember on August 7th

Grant unto us, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know Thy presence and obey thy will; that, following the example of thy servant John Mason Neale, we may with integrity and courage accomplish what thou givest us to do, and endure what thou givest us to bear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Invitatory

O Lord open thou my lips. 

And my mouth shall declare thy praise.

Today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts: As in the provocation, according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, they proved me, and saw my works. 

O come, let us adore Him.

Opening Prayer

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,

    the Father, the Almighty,

    maker of heaven and earth,

    of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

    the only Son of God,

    eternally begotten of the Father,

    God from God, Light from Light,

    true God from true God,

    begotten, not made,

    of one Being with the Father.

    Through him all things were made.

    For us and for our salvation

        he came down from heaven:

    by the power of the Holy Spirit

        he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,

        and was made man.

    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

        he suffered death and was buried.

        On the third day he rose again

            in accordance with the Scriptures;

        he ascended into heaven

            and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

    He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

        and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

    who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

    With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

    He has spoken through the Prophets.

    We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

    We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

    We look for the resurrection of the dead,

        and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Hymn

“Pass me not, O gentle Savior”

By Fanny Crosby (1868)

Representative Text [1]:

1 Pass me not, O gentle Savior,

Hear my humble cry,

While on others Thou art calling,

Do not pass me by.

Refrain:

Savior, Savior,

Hear my humble cry;

While on others Thou art calling,

Do not pass me by.

2 Let me at a throne of mercy

Find a sweet relief;

Kneeling there in deep contrition,

Help my unbelief. [Refrain]

3 Trusting only in Thy merit,

Would I seek Thy face;

Heal my wounded, broken spirit,

Save me by Thy grace. [Refrain]

4 Thou the Spring of all my comfort,

More than life to me,

Whom have I on earth beside Thee?

Whom in heav’n but Thee? [Refrain]


Morning Prayer

O Lord, hear us as we pray to you in the beginning hours of this day. We give you thanks, O Lord our God, for you have redeemed us with your holy blood and you give your kind help in answer to the early prayers and petitions we bring you; you reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. 

  • Antiphonary of Bangor [2]
  • Short Verse

    My mouth shall speak of wisdom,* and my heart shall meditate on understanding. 

    Psalm 49:2
    “The Tears of Saint Peter”
    By Jusepe de Ribera
    (source)

    Morning Reading: Psalm 130

    Out of the depths have I called

    Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.

    Lord, hear my voice!

    Let your ears be attentive

    to the voice of my supplications!

    If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,

    Lord, who could stand?

    But there is forgiveness with you,

    so that you may be revered.

    I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,

    and in his word I hope;

    my soul waits for the Lord

    more than those who watch for the morning,

    more than those who watch for the morning.

    O Israel, hope in the Lord!

    For with the Lord there is steadfast love,

    and with him is great power to redeem.

    It is he who will redeem Israel

    from all its iniquities.

    Listen to Psalm 130

    Morning Lesson

    De Profundis

    Psalm 130 is a hymn to divine mercy, traditionally called De Profundis (“out of the depths”). The hymn “celebrates the contrition and reconciliation of a sinner with God. It is a cry that erupts from the heart of someone rent with sorrow and longing for mercy and forgiveness… This prayer is not only a plea for personal forgiveness but also a petition for atonement and salvation for the entire People of God. In practice, we can always count on God’s forgiveness for a contrite and repentant heart.” [3]

    “Heavenly Father, I’m waiting with bated breath, pregnant with anticipation, fainting from thirst and hunger… as tired as a worker waiting for their relief to show up… I wait for You. I can’t let go – I won’t let go – for with You there is unfailing love, full redemption, and peace. My hope comes from You. I’m not looking for salvation from any other corner. You are the morning star, the harbor of my hope.” [4]


    Midday Prayer

    O Lord and Master of my life, give me not a spirit of sloth, idle curiosity, love of power, and useless chatter. Rather, accord to me Your servant a spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love. Yes, Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother, for blessed are You forever and ever. AMEN. [5]

    Short Verse

    O LORD, I call to you; come to me quickly;* hear my voice when I cry to you. 

    Psalm 141:1
    Absalom and Amnon
    (source)

    Midday Reading: 2 Samuel 15:1-13

    Absalom rebels against David

    1 After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” 3 Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” 4 Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” 5 And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

    7 And at the end of four years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron. 8 For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the LORD will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to the LORD.’” 9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom is king at Hebron!’” 11 With Absalom went two hundred men from Jerusalem who were invited guests, and they went in their innocence and knew nothing. 12 And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.

    13 And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.”

    “Pardon of Absalom”
    By William Blake
    (source)

    Midday Lesson

    The power of flattery

    In 2 Samuel Chapter 15, we see that “bitter fighting between Judah and the other tribes and even within Judah itself continued to take its toll on the unity of God’s people. David’s own sons continued to be a thorn in his side and a rival to his power.” [6] 

    The following is a brief summary of Absalom’s revolt against his father, David [18]:

    David’s eldest son was named Amnon. “Amnon’s attraction to his sister led him to rape her (2 Sm 13:1–21). While appalled at his son’s crime, David did not punish Amnon. The disconsolate Tamar moved in with Absalom, her full-brother. Nothing more is heard of her. Absalom [the 3rd son of king David], however, brooded over his sister’s fate for two years. When the opportunity presented itself, Absalom had Amnon murdered. Absalom then found sanctuary in Geshur, which was located in the southern part of the area now known as the Golan Heights. His maternal grandfather was king there (2 Sm 13:23–37; see 2 Sm 3:3).” [7] Absolom remained in Gesher for three years.

    “Eventually Joab, David’s nephew and general, was able to effect a reconciliation between David and Absalom, enabling Absalom to return from exile (2 Sm 14:1–33),” knowing that David’s heart had softened toward Absolom. [8] There were restrictions, however. Absolom was not allowed to visit his father, nor to live in the king’s palace.

    Absalom “resent[ed] his restrictions, unable to obtain an audience with his father the king for two years. Joab even refuse[d] to come at his request until Absalom [had] Joab’s barley field set on fire to force his presence. At last, Absalom is called to his father’s court, where he does obeisance to him and is kissed by the king, a sign of reconciliation.” [9]

    Yet Absalom, still harboring grudges, grew increasingly “impatient with the pace of his rehabilitation, and it is clear that no genuine reconciliation between father and son took place. This led [him] to take advantage of those who expressed dissatisfaction with David’s rule.” [10] His political strategy clearly being to steal the hearts of men, Absalom played on the discontentment and disaffections of “those who [sought] judgement from the king [but] who could get no audience [with him]. The implication [was] that David [had] begun to neglect his duties as judge” (2 Sm 15:1–6). [11] Many Israelites “were fooled and switched their allegiance.” [12]

    After four years (*more likely 40 years), “Absolom [was] ready for open revolt. He used the excuse of having a vow that need[ed] to be fulfilled and [went] to Hebron. The paying or fulfilling of vows was looked upon as a sacred obligation” (2 Sm 15:7-12). [13] In reality, “Absolom went to Hebron because it was his hometown (2 Sam 3:2-3)… and there Absolom could expect loyal friends who would be proud of him.” [14]

    “Absalom considered himself the heir to the throne, for now that Amnon was dead, he was the next in line of succession. David, however, had been prophetically informed that his young son Solomon, the son of Bathsheba, would succeed him. Absalom must have suspected this from his father’s attitude, and he secretly prepared a revolt. When his plans had matured, he induced the king to allow him to go to Hebron for the fulfillment of a vow which he professed to have made while living in Geshur. He went southward with two hundred unsuspecting followers. In Hebron he sounded the trumpet-call. Alas! the ungrateful people readily forgot the great king who had been anointed at that very place, and who had gloriously reigned over them for 37 years, and they came flocking to the standard of Absalom. Even Ahitophel the Gilonite, David’s wise counsellor, declared for his son and gave to the rebellion the weight of his name and experience.” [15]

    “Absalom’s intrigues led to a full-blown revolution, which nearly succeeded (2 Sm 15:7–12). David had to flee for his life, but he had the presence of mind to instruct his priests to remain in Jerusalem to bring him news of how the rebellion was progressing and to have his friend Hushai infiltrate Absalom’s retinue. Another supporter was Ziba, one of Meribbaal’s servants, who provided David with supplies and informed him that his master had designs on the throne (2 Sm 16:1–4). During this retreat from Jerusalem, David met Shimei, who regarded David as a usurper. Shemei assured David that the rebellion was just what David deserved (2 Sm 16:5–14).” [16]

    “Upon entering Jerusalem, Absalom dramatized his break with his father in a most decisive way. He had sexual intercourse with David’s concubines in full view of the people, fulfilling the curse on David pronounced by Nathan in God’s name (2 Sm 12:11–12). Ahithophel, one of David’s counselors who went over to Absalom, advised quick action against the retreating David. Hushai, David’s spy in Absalom’s retinue, bought David time by suggesting that Absalom assemble a large force from all the tribes to deal with David. Absalom took Hushai’s advice. Here again is an instance where [2 Samuel] calls the reader’s attention to the divine hand ordering events. It asserts that God prevented Absalom from taking Ahithophel’s advice (2 Sm 17:14b). David used the time bought by Hushai to prepare a successful counterattack. Absalom fled but was caught by David’s troops and killed by his cousin Joab” (2 Sm 16:20–18:18). [17]

    “By his deceptive practices, Absalom had gained the sympathy and support of the Israelites. One of the reasons he may have been able to do this was David’s troubling rise to power. When David’s power in Judah was confined to Hebron (ch. 2), he was resented by the supporters of Saul in the rest of the country. Old suspicions and resentments could be stroked again by a person who knew how to use people to his own advantage—a disreputable ability in which Absalom excelled.” [19]

    “Absalom was king David’s son, known for his . . . splendid appearance and in the heyday of youth; so that no other man like him was found in Israel. He was without a blemish from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head [see 2Sm 14:25]. He had his own chariot and horses and fifty men to run before him. He rose at early dawn and stood before the gate in the way, and whoever he knew to be seeking the judgment of the king, he called to himself, saying, ‘Is there no one given to you by the king to hear you? Who will make me a judge? And whosoever will come to me, that has need of judgment, I will give him justice.’ With such words he cajoled them. And when they came to make obeisance to him, stretching forth his hand he took hold of them and kissed them. So he turned the hearts of all to himself. For flattery of this sort quickly finds its way to touch the very depths of the heart,” (St. Ambrose, Duties of the Clergy 2.22.112–14). [20]

    “O deliver me from those whose words are softer than butter, when they have war in their heart; and from them whose words are smoother than oil, while they are very swords. Lord, I cast my burden upon Thee, that Thou mayest sustain me, and not suffer me to fail for ever. Amen.” (William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, Prayer Against Flatterers) [21]

    Leaf from the Morgan Picture Bible, “Scenes from the Life of Absalom”, c. 1250
    (source)

    Eventide Prayer

    Of the Holy Eucharist

    God our Father, whose Son our Lord Jesus Christ in a wonderful Sacrament has left us a memorial of his passion: Grant us so to venerate the sacred mysteries of his Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruit of his redemption; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [22]

    Short Verse

    The LORD is King; he has put on splendid apparel* the LORD has put on his apparel and girded himself with strength. He has made the whole world so sure* that it cannot be moved; Ever since the world began, your throne has been established;* you are from everlasting. 

    Psalm 93:1-3
    Kitchen Backsplash – Daily Bread Mosaic
    (source)

    Eventide Reading: Matthew 7:7-11

    Bread and stones

    7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

    Eventide Lesson

    Ask, and It Will Be Given

    Note the verbs in our reading from Matthew: “ask,” “seek,” and “knock.” These are all “present progressives: ‘be asking,’ ‘be seeking,’ ‘be knocking.’” [23] Also, note the synergy between our doing and our faith. Asking, seeking, and knocking are “commanded, but never apart from the immediate help of God. We ask in prayer; we seek by learning God’s truth; and knock by doing God’s will.” [24] This synergy is the building block at the very heart of a trusting relationship with our living God.

    St. John Chrysostom wrote, “Jesus did not simply command us to ask but to ask with great concern and concentration—for this is the meaning of the word he used for “seek.” For those who are seeking put aside everything else from their minds. They become concerned only with the thing that they are seeking and pay no attention at all to the circumstances. Even those who are looking for gold . . . understand what I am saying. So this is what he meant by seeking. But by knocking Jesus meant that we approach God with intensity and passion. Therefore, O mortal, do not give up. Do not show less eagerness for virtue than desire for possessions. For you frequently sought possessions but did not find them. Nevertheless, although you knew that you could not guarantee that you would find them, you used every means of searching for them. Yet even though in this case you have a promise that you surely will receive, you do not even demonstrate the smallest fraction of that same eagerness. But if you do not receive immediately, do not despair in this way. For it is because of this that Jesus said “knock” to show that even if he does not open the door immediately we should remain at the door knocking,” (The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 23.4.) [25]

    “Jesus tells us to persist in pursuing God. People often give up after a few halfhearted efforts and conclude that God cannot be found. But knowing God takes faith, focus, and follow-through, and Jesus assures us that we will be rewarded. Don’t give up in your efforts to seek God. Continue to ask him for more knowledge, patience, wisdom, love, and understanding. He will give them to you.” [26]

    “The children in Jesus’ example asked their father for bread and fish – good and necessary items. If the children had asked for a poisonous snake, would the wise father have granted the request? God knows that sometimes we are praying for ‘snakes,’ and he does not give us what we ask for, even though we persist in our prayers. Nor will God give us ‘stones’ or ‘snakes’ instead of what we need. As we learn to know God better as a loving Father, we learn to ask for what is good for us.” [27]

    Through Christ’s example from our reading, “Christ is showing us the heart of God the Father. God is not selfish, begrudging, or stingy, and we don’t have to beg or grovel as we come with our requests. He is a loving Father, who understands, cares, and comforts. If humans can be kind, imagine how kind God, the creator of kindness, can be.” [28]

    “We, sons and daughters of God, can pray in faith and confidence that the Father will answer our prayers. God knows what we need before we ask. If what we ask for is not received, we can trust that God will give us something more profitable for salvation.” [29]

    Seek ye first the kingdom of God

    And His righteousness;

    And all these things shall be added unto you.

    Hallelu, Hallelujah!

    Ask, and it shall be given unto you;

    Seek, and you shall find.

    Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

    Hallelu, Hallelujah!

    Man shall not live by bread alone,

    But by every word

    That proceeds out from the mouth of God.

    Hallelu, Hallelujah! [30]

    Seek Ye First

    Compline Prayer

    Lord, let my sleep be a cessation, as from labour, so also from sin; even so, O Lord. Neither in my dreams let me imagine aught that may offend thee or defile myself. Let not my loins be filled with illusions; But let my reins instruct me in the night-season. Amen.

    • Lancelot Andrewes [31]

    Devotionals compiled/written by S. P. Rogers

    Citations:

    [1] Author: Fanny Crosby: A.V., M. A. E. A. (n.d.). Pass Me Not. Hymnary.org. https://hymnary.org/text/pass_me_not_o_gentle_savior

    [2] Stratman, P. (2001). Morning Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 14). Rossway.

    [3] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Psalms. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 1635). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

    [4] FRANKLIN, D. (2018). Day 239. In PRAY THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR JOURNAL: A daily devotional and reading plan. Uhrichsville, OH: BARBOUR PUB.

    [5] Papavassiliou, V. (2014). A Prayer for Every Hour. In The ancient faith prayer book (Kindle ed., p. 28). Chesterton, IN: Ancient Faith Publishing.

    [6] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 2 Samuel. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 838). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

    [7] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). David’s Family and the SUccession (2 Sm 9:1-20:26). 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. 410). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    [8] Ibid. 7

    [9] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Kingdoms. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 416). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

    [10] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). David’s Family and the SUccession (2 Sm 9:1-20:26). 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. 410). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    [11] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Kingdoms. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 416). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

    [12] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 2 Samuel. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 512). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

    [13] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Kingdoms. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 416). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

    [14] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 2 Samuel. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 512). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

    [15] Isaacs, J. (2019). Absalom’s Revolt. Retrieved from https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/463978/jewish/Absaloms-Revolt.htm

    [16] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). David’s Family and the SUccession (2 Sm 9:1-20:26). 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. 411). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    [17] Ibid. 16

    [18] Griffin, M. (2021, May 19). Absalom’s revolt and the Capitol siege. The Lay Artiste. https://thelayartiste.com/2021/01/12/absaloms-revolt-and-the-capitol-siege/

    [19] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). 2 Samuel. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 2008). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc.

    [20] Ambrose. (2019). 2 Samuel. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1992). Nashville: Holman Bible.

    [21] LAUD, W. (1855). Thursday: Against Flatterers. In The Private Devotions of Dr. William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr (Ebook ed., p. 62). London and Oxford: John Henry & Jas. Parker.

    [22] Episcopal Church. (1979). Collects. 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. 252). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

    [23] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Matthew. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1310-1311). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

    [24] Ibid. 23

    [25] Chrysostom. (2019). Matthew. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 2693). Nashville: Holman Bible.

    [26] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Matthew. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 1334). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

    [27] Ibid. 26

    [28] Ibid. 26

    [29] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Matthew. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 2911). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

    [30] Hymn: Seek ye first. hymnal.net RSS. (n.d.). https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/ns/120

    [31] Andrewes, Lancelot. The Private Devotions and Manual for the Sick of Launcelot Andrews (Kindle ed., p. 2659). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

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