September 24 Devotional (2021)

September 24, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: Words Study: Swore and Burnt Offering  /  Deut 1:1-18  /  Acts 12:20-25

Invitatory

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: Come let us

adore him.

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.

Opening Prayer

Lord Jesus, who traveled with the disciples on the road to Emmaus: Be with us on the way, that we may know you in the scriptures, in the breaking of bread, and in the hearts of all whom we meet. Amen. [1]

Hymn: 

“Old Rugged Cross” 

by George Bennard

Lyrics:

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, 

the emblem of suffering and shame; 

and I love that old cross where the dearest and best 

for a world of lost sinners was slain. 

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, 

till my trophies at last I lay down; 

I will cling to that old rugged cross, 

and exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world 

has a wondrous attraction for me; 

for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above 

to bear it to dark Calvary. 

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, 

till my trophies at last I lay down; 

I will cling to that old rugged cross, 

and exchange it some day for a crown.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine, 

a wondrous beauty I see, 

for ‘twas on that old rugged cross Jesus suffered and died, 

to pardon and sanctify me. 

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, 

till my trophies at last I lay down; 

I will cling to that old rugged cross, 

and exchange it some day for a crown.

To that old rugged cross I will ever be true, 

its shame and reproach gladly bear; 

then he’ll call me some day to my home far away, 

where his glory forever I’ll share. 

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, 

till my trophies at last I lay down; 

I will cling to that old rugged cross, 

and exchange it some day for a crown. [2]


Morning Prayer from The Great Litany

That it may please thee to visit the lonely; to strengthen all who suffer in mind, body, and spirit; and to comfort with thy presence those who are failing and infirm,

          We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. [3]

Short Verse

O Lord, arise, help us;

And deliver us for thy Name’s sake.

Morning Words Study: Swore and Burnt Offering

Swore (Heb. shaba‘)

(Deut 1:8; Gen. 24:7; Ex. 13:5; 1 Sam. 20:3; Ps. 95:11) 

“In Hebrew, the verb translated swore is related to the word used for the number seven. In effect, the verb means “to bind oneself fully,’—that is, ‘seven times.’ In ancient times, oaths were considered sacred. People who made oaths to God or to others were accepting the greatest accountability. They were promising to be faithful to their word no matter what the personal cost. The OT describes God as taking an oath (Gen. 24:7; Ex. 13:5). He was not forced to do this; He did not have to swear in order to insure His own compliance with His word. Instead, He made an oath so that His people would be assured that His promises were completely trustworthy.” [4]

Burnt Offering (Heb. ‘olah) 

(Deut 12:6; 27:6) 

“In Hebrew, this word means ‘holocaust,’ an offering that is completely destroyed by fire. By burning the best of their offerings on God’s altar, the Israelites expressed their dedication and gratitude to God, who had supplied all their needs. Many different types of burnt offerings were offered: bulls (Lev. 1:3–5), sheep or goats (Lev. 1:10), and birds (Lev. 1:14). If the burnt offering was presented as a sin offering, the worshiper would place his hands on the animal’s head to show the transfer of sin to the animal. The animal was then killed by the priest. The priest collected the animal’s blood and presented it to the Lord by sprinkling it on the altar. Pieces of the sacrifice were then placed on the altar and completely burned. These sacrifices were necessary until Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of all.” [34]


Midday Prayer from The Great Litany

That it may please thee to support, help, and comfort all who are in danger, necessity, and tribulation,

          We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. [5]

Midday Intercession

[6]

Short Verse

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Exodus 14:14
“Moses – Man of God ” 
close up carved by Gerald Copeland.
(source)

Midday Reading: Deuteronomy 1:1-18

Moses charges the judges

1 These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness, in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. 2 It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea. 3 In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them, 4 after he had defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth and in Edrei. 5 Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this law, saying, 6 “The LORD our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 7 Turn and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negeb and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. 8 See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.’

9 “At that time I said to you, ‘I am not able to bear you by myself. 10 The LORD your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as numerous as the stars of heaven. 11 May the LORD, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as he has promised you! 12 How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife? 13 Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’ 14 And you answered me, ‘The thing that you have spoken is good for us to do.’ 15 So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and set them as heads over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officers, throughout your tribes. 16 And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. 17 You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ 18 And I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do.

Midday Lesson

Quality Leaders

Our passage begins with the phrase, these are the words, which Moses spoke “in the desert during the thirty-nine-year period after Israel left Egypt.” [7] We find these words spoken in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. “Most of Deuteronomy consists of Moses’ explanation of God’s law and His exhortation to follow it.” [8] “The word Deuteronomy means ‘a second law.’ The Book contains no new set of laws. It is called ‘a second law’ because it especially emphasizes the spirit of the Law, so as to stress the importance of Israel’s obedience and thankfulness to God from the heart.” [9] 

“The Hebrew word translated law basically means “instruction.” It is God’s gracious teaching to the Israelites on the right way for them to live (see 6:1–3; Ps. 19). Deuteronomy is the exposition and application of the Law of God revealed at Mt. Sinai.” [10]

Verse 2 says, It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.

“A journey that might have taken Israel less than two weeks to complete lasted 40 years because of unbelief and disobedience (Num. 13; 14). Horeb is a name for Mt. Sinai (4:10, 15; Ex. 3:1), where the Lord revealed His glory, gave His law, and made a covenant with Israel. Kadesh Barnea, an oasis in the Negev, 50 miles southwest of Beersheba, figured prominently in the story of the wilderness wandering (Num. 13; 14).” [11]

“In early Israel, dates were given with reference to the Exodus from Egypt. Hence, this is 40 years after the Exodus. It had taken Israel about a year to arrive at Kadesh Barnea from Mt. Horeb and another year to reach the place where Moses was addressing them in this passage. The 38 years between had been spent wandering in the desert—God’s punishment for their disobedience. The eleventh month would correspond to January–February. Moses spoke . . . commandments: The Law (Torah) of God was mediated through His servant Moses.” [12]

It was “in the eleventh month of the fortieth year” that “Moses spoke the contents of Deuteronomy, ‘beyond the Jordan  Jordan in the land of Moab’ (v. 5). He spoke the words the Lord gave him to speak. The Lord [here] is the Son of God, ‘who built the house’ (Heb 3:3). Moses was ‘faithful in all His house as servant,’ but the Son [of God] is ‘over His own house (Heb 3:5,6).” [13] “This side of the Jordan is literally “across the Jordan.” This is the land east of the Jordan, or across it from the perspective of the land of Canaan (3:8, 20, 25; 4:41; 11:30). The plain is probably the region north of Moab.” [14]

The victories under Moses’ leadership mentioned in verse 4 (see also 2:26–37; Num. 21:21–35) “opened up the conquest of the land from the east. They were a foretaste of the victories God would give the Israelites under Joshua’s leadership. The Israelites celebrated these initial victories as having great significance in the history of redemption (see 2:26–36; 3:1–11; 4:46–49; Josh. 2:10; 9:10; 12:2–6; 13:10–12; Ps. 135:11; 136:19, 20).” [15]

Verse 6 begins with the words The LORD our God. This “is an emphatic reference to the divine revelation at Mt. Sinai. Moses reminded Israel that God had revealed His glory, made His covenant with them, and assured them of His presence.” [16] 

Turn and take. . . and go, verse 7, “refers to the departure for the Promised Land. The extent of God’s gift was enormous, even as the people were numerous. Moses emphasized God’s faithfulness to His promises. The Promised Land extended from the Negev, the South (Gen. 12:9) to the River Euphrates (Gen. 15:18–21)… God had promised this land to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob long ago (Gen. 15:18–21; 26:2–4; 35:10–12).” [17]

In verses 9 and 12, we see Moses’ human limitations when he said, “At that time I said to you, ‘I am not able to bear you by myself… How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife? “Moses felt inadequate to take care of all aspects of leadership himself because the people were so numerous (Ex. 18:13–26).” [18] Have you ever felt the weight of many things or that the challenges you faced were too numerous to be surmountable? Turn to God and He will walk with you through the trials. “God is the God of the patriarchs, but also the God of their descendants. This language indicates that the patriarchs still live; it is not that He was their God,” which includes you! [19]

“A number of men were charged with the administrative, judicial, and military tasks of creating unity among the people. Some of them were also called judges.” [20] “The chosen leaders were to be wise, understanding, and knowledgeable.” [21] “The qualities of the leaders reflect attributes of God. Wisdom refers to the ability to bring harmony even when great differences exist. Understanding refers to the ability to penetrate the realities of life from God’s perspective and to deal fairly with all parties in a dispute. Knowledge is the broad experience gained by living life, by watching people, and by making correct choices based on God’s word.” [22] “These three traits [and conduct] should also characterize leaders in the Church.” [23] As Hebrews 13:7 instructs, “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.

“God demanded absolute fairness regardless of age or social status. all the things: God’s instruction was comprehensive. It covered all aspects of life.” [24] “These leaders were to judge righteously by being impartial in their judgements. They were not to be partial to the first testimony they hear. Impartial judgement means hearing all sides before judging the case. Judgement should be made with ‘wisdom, understanding, and knowledge’ (v. 13); otherwise, the judgement made would be prejudiced.” [25] After a certain bishop had formed a prejudiced judgement against him, St. Basil the Great made reference to verse 17, writing, “But truly, you have suffered the fate of all who fail to inquire into the nature of the circumstances and into the truth. You showed partiality by forgetting the exhortation: ‘You shall not show partiality in judgement.’” [26]

“The Lord regulates human relations with sensitivity toward the poor and powerless, yet also with high regard for impartial justice. God protects the poor and vulnerable by building compassion and respect for justice into Israel’s social laws. His two ways of Law and Gospel manifest themselves constantly for our good. • ‘To those who help in Christ have found And would in works of love abound It shows what deeds are His delight And should be done as good and right.’ Amen.” [27]


Eventide Prayer from The Great Litany

That it may please thee to have mercy upon all mankind,

          We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. [28]

Short Verse

“Abba Poemen used to say that whenever Isidore, the priest of Scete, used to address the brothers in the church, he spake the following words only: ‘My brothers, it is written, Forgive your brother that you also may be accounted worthy of forgiveness’ (St. Luke vi, 37; St. Matthew vi, 14).”

Sayings of the Holy Fathers
[29]
Herod (Hérode), by French painter and Bible illustrator James Tissot, in the Brooklyn Museum

Eventide Reading: Acts 12:20-25

A leader fails to give glory to God

20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

24 But the word of God increased and multiplied.

25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.

Eventide Lesson

Yet the word multiplied

“The death of Herod reveals a deeper spiritual meaning: all who seek or accept unworthy praise are taking that which rightly belongs to God alone.” [29] 

“John whose surname was Mark” and is mentioned in verse 25, “is St. Mark the Evangelist, who would compose the Gospel of Mark. He would later become a coworker with Paul and Barnabas (v. 25; Col 4:10) and still later with Peter (1Pt 5:13).” [30]

“The enemies of God cannot stop the spread of the word of God.” [31] “Herod’s violence and intrigue illustrate how evil breeds evil. Yet God can decisively topple evil. In mercy to us, He sent His Son to the cross to condemn evil and rescue us. Living in forgiveness, we eagerly await the day when our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ takes us to live with Him forever in heaven. • ‘By all Your saints in warfare, For all Your saints at rest, Your holy name, O Jesus, Forevermore be blest! For You have won the battle That they might wear the crown; And now they shine in glory Reflected from Your throne.’ Amen.” [32]

Compline Prayer

GIVE rest also, O Lord, to me that droop; renew my strength, for I am weary. Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death. Amen.

  • Lancelot Andrewes [33]

Devotionals compiled/written by S. P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Prayers and Thanksgivings. Daily Prayer: a resource of Forward Movement. (2021). https://prayer.forwardmovement.org/prayers_and_thanksgivings.php

[2] Tickle, P. (2000). September. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 624). New York, NY: Image Books.

[3] 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.

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Deuteronomy. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 1229). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

[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. 661). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[7] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Deuteronomy. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 286). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Deuteronomy. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 1227). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

[9] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Deuteronomy. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 286). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Deuteronomy. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 1229). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

[11] Ibid. 10, P. 1227

[12] Ibid. 10, P. 1228

[13] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Deuteronomy. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 286). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[14] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Deuteronomy. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 1227). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

[15] Ibid. 14, P. 1228

[16] Ibid. 14, P. 1229

[17] Ibid. 14, P. 1229

[18] Ibid. 14, P. 1230

[19] bid. 14, P. 1230

[20] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Deuteronomy. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 1230). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

[21] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Deuteronomy. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 286). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[22] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Deuteronomy. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 1230). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

[23] Ibid. 22

[24] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Deuteronomy. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 286). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[25] Ibid. 24

[26] A., E. E. (2016). Deuteronomy. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 788). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[27] 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. 152). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated

[28] Of Love, and Charity, and of the Welcoming of Strangers. (1907). In The Sayings of the Holy Fathers: Books I and II (Kindle ed., p. 134).  W. Budge (Ed.)

[29] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Acts. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1521). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[30] Ibid. 29, P. 1520

[31] Ibis. 29

[32] A., E. E. (2016). Acts. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7508). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[33] Andrewes, Lancelot. The Private Devotions and Manual for the Sick of Launcelot Andrews (Kindle ed., p. 2653). Unknown. Kindle Edition. 

[34] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Deuteronomy. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 1289). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

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