September 16 Devotional (2021)

September 16, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: Psalm 54  /  Judges 6:1-10 /  1 Cor 2:1-5

A prayer inspired by Saint Ninian, Bishop of Galloway and Missionary to the Picts, who the Church remembers on September 16th

O God, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant and bishop Ninian didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in the land of Britain: Grant, we beseech thee, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show forth our thankfulness by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Invocation

O Lord open thou my lips 

And my mouth shall declare thy praise. 

O God + come to my assistance; 

O Lord, make haste to help me. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost: As it was in the beginning, is now, * and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s 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.

Hymn

“Lord Jesus, Think on Me” 

by Synesius of Cyrene

Lyrics: 

Lord Jesus, think on me, 

And purge away my sin; 

From earth-born passions set me free, 

And make me pure within.

Lord Jesus, think on me, 

Amid all battle’s strife; 

In all my pain and misery 

Be thou my health and life.

Lord Jesus, think on me, 

Nor let me go astray; 

Through darkness and perplexity 

Point thou the heavenly way.

Lord Jesus, think on me, 

That, when this life is past, 

I may the eternal brightness see, And share thy joy at last. [1]


Morning Prayer

From The Great Litany

From all oppression, conspiracy, and rebellion; from violence, battle, and murder; and from dying suddenly and unprepared,

          Good Lord, deliver us. [2]

Short Verse

Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.

Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.

Morning Reading: Psalm 54

God is my helper

Save me, O God, by your name,

and vindicate me by your might.

Hear my prayer, O God;

give ear to the words of my mouth.

For the insolent have risen against me,

the ruthless seek my life;

they do not set God before them.    Selah

But surely, God is my helper;

the Lord is the upholder of my life.

He will repay my enemies for their evil.

In your faithfulness, put an end to them.

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;

I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.

For he has delivered me from every trouble,

and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

Morning Lesson

Protection from pursuers

“The author of this psalm fled, seeking refuge and protection from his pursuers. Perhaps it refers to David’s flight from the wrath of Saul, though the sentiments expressed here can apply to anyone. With a freewill… it is good: This is a clear parallel to the Sacrifice of Christ, who obeyed the Father and willingly gave his life as an offering for our sins.” [3]

“The suffering of the prophet David is . . . a type of the passion of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. This is why David’s prayer also corresponds in sense with the prayer of Christ, who being the Word, was made flesh. As man, Christ suffered all things in a human fashion and spoke in a human fashion in everything he said. He, who bore human infirmities and took on himself the sins of people, approached God in prayer with the humility proper to human beings,” (Hilary of Poitiers, Homily on Psalm 54.4). [4]


Midday Prayer

From The Great Litany

By the mystery of thy holy Incarnation; by thy holy Nativity and submission to the Law; by thy Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation,

          Good Lord, deliver us. [5]

Midday Intercession

[6]

Short Verse

“For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.”

Saint Teresa of Avila
[7]
Five kings of Midian slain by Israel (illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible)
(wikipedia)

Midday Reading: Judges 6:1-10

Israel ignores a prophet of God

1 The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. 3 For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. 4 They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in. 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD.

7 When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD on account of the Midianites, 8 the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery. 9 And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”

Midday Lesson

Midian Oppresses Israel

“As long as there was justice in the land, therefore, that is, in those who inhabited the land, the land is said to be at rest. But when iniquity arose and ‘[the Israelites] did evil in the sight of the Lord,’ then the Lord is said to have delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years. Nor are the Midianites said to have ruled over the people of the Lord as long as they observed the commandments of the Lord. . . . Against us, on the other hand, who are called the spiritual Israel, a spiritual enemy will arise and the hand of demons will be strengthened when we neglect the commandments of God and hold the precepts of Christ in contempt, and we will be delivered to our own enemies when we forsake God’s grace,” (Origen, Homilies on Judges). [8]

The “Midianites are mentioned as one of the caravan traders that took Joseph as a slave into Egypt (Gn 37:28–36). Moses’ wife was a Midianite (Ex 2:15–22)… They were quite prosperous [at the time] when Israel conquered them (Nu 31:32–54); archaeologists associate the Qurayyah pottery found in northwest Arabia with the Midianites. They did not continue as a national people after the rise of the Israelite kings.” [9]

“The Midianites were desert people descended from Abraham’s second wife, Keturah (Gen 25:1-2). From this relationship came a nation that was always in conflict with Israel. Years earlier, while still wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites battled the Midianites and almost destroyed them (Num 31:1-20). Because of their failure to completely destroy them, the tribe repopulated. Here,” in today’s passage, the Midianites “were once again oppressing Israel.” [10]

“Normally living farther south in the Negeb,” Verse 3, “the Amalekites allied with the Midianites in making raids into Israelite territory. These desert dwellers would have found the fertile, well-watered Israelite lands attractive to raid.” [11]

“Bringing their livestock and tents with them, the raiders,” the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East.(vv. 4-5), “set up camp at strategic locations all the way to Gaza, on the Great Sea shore.” [12]

Verse 6 says, And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD. “Again the Israelites hit rock bottom before turning back to God. How much suffering they could have avoided if they had trusted him! Turning to God shouldn’t be a last resort; we should look to him for help each day. This isn’t to say life will always be easy. There will be struggles, but God will give us the strength to live through them. Don’t wait until you’re at the end of your rope. Call on God first in every situation.” [13]

The unnamed male prophet in verses 8-9 “was a counterpart to Deborah (4:4). Using covenant language (cf Ex 20:2), the prophet reminded Israel of the blessings God had showered on Israel: freedom from slavery in Egypt and rescue to the land of Canaan.” [14]

The call of Gideon is introduced later in this chapter. “Gideon, one of the greatest judges, was called from the Tribe of Manasseh. [Because] the nomadic Midianites and Amalekites frequently trespassed on their fertile lands with livestock, destroying the crops and leaving nothing behind for the residents or their animals. Gideon’s mission was to gather an army to defeat the Midianites.” [15]


Eventide Prayer

From The Great Litany

By thine Agony and Bloody Sweat; by thy Cross and Passion; by thy precious Death and Burial; by thy glorious Resurrection and Ascension; and by the Coming of the Holy Ghost,

           Good Lord, deliver us. [16]

Short Verse

“When a man said to his companion, ‘Forgive me,’ and at the same time humbles himself, the devils are consumed.”

The Sayings of the Holy Fathers
[17]

Eventide Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Beyond human wisdom

1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Eventide Lesson

Stewardship of His Mysteries

“A steward is a caretaker who has been entrusted with responsibilities by his master. As stewards of the Gospel, Apostles and teachers of the Gospel should not be praised on their own account, as was the case in the personality cults in Corinth. Paul and Apollos did not create or encourage these divisions, which resulted from a lack of spiritual maturity among the Corinthians. Bishops are stewards of the Gospel and the Sacraments left to the Church by Christ. Mysteries of God: The truths God revealed by Christ contained in the Gospel message. Some tenets of the Christian Faith are considered mysteries since the light of human reason cannot grasp or understand them.” [18]

“There is a big difference between being a servant of Christ and a steward of the mysteries of God. Anyone who has read the Bible can be a servant of Christ, but to be a steward of the mysteries one must plumb their depths. Paul was acting as a steward of the mysteries when he commissioned Luke, for example, to write his Gospel, and when he sent Timothy to sort out the Ephesian church. I would even dare to say that in Corinth Paul acted like a servant of Christ, whereas in Ephesus he became a steward of the mysteries of God,” (Origen, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2). [19]

“Great preaching is not with ‘swelling words’ (2Pt 2:18) but with (1) the anointing of the Holy Spirit and (2) the dynamic of God’s power.” [20]

Our passage closes with the words, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God, verse 5. Saint Chrysostom wrote, “Paul is not talking here about those sins that we all recognize and confess as such. Rather he is speaking about preferring one person before another and making invidious comparisons of moral behaviors. Only God, who knows all our secret doings, can judge that sort of thing with accuracy. Only he knows what is more and what is less worthy of punishment,” (Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians). [21]

“At the Last Judgment, nothing will remain hidden; both good and sinful actions will be left for all to see.” [22]

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. [23]

Citations:

[1] Tickle, P. (2000). September. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 526). New York, NY: Image Books.

[2] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. 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. 149). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[3] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Psalms. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 1592). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[4] DHilary of Poitiers. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1624). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[5] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. 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. 149). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[6] Forward Movement. (2013). Intercessions. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 637). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[7] Saint Teresa of Avila. (n.d.). Saint Teresa of Avila Quotes. BrainyQuote. Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/saint-teresa-of-avila-quotes

[8] Origen. (2019). Judges. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 799). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[9] A., E. E. (2016). Judges. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 1734). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[10] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Judges. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5501). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[11] A., E. E. (2016). Judges. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 1735). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[12] Ibid. 11

[13]  Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Judges. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5501). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[14] A., E. E. (2016). Judges. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 1735). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[15] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Judges. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 684). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[16] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. 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. 149). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[17] Of humility and of how a Man should think lightly of himself, and should esteem himself the Inferior of every Man. (1907). In The Sayings of the Holy Fathers: Books I and II (Kindle ed., p. 160).  W. Budge (Ed.)

[18] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 1 Corinthians. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3474). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[19] Origen. (2019). 1 Corinthians. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3258). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[20] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Corinthians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1591). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[21] Chrysostom. (2019). 1 Corinthians. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3258). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[22] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 1 Corinthians. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3474). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[23] 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

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