October 9 Devotional (2021)

Invitatory

The mercy of the Lord is everlasting: 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.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

    maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord;

    who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,

    born of the Virgin Mary,

    suffered under Pontius Pilate,

    was crucified, dead, and buried.

    He descended into hell.

    The third day he rose again from the dead.

    He ascended into heaven,

    and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty.

    From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost,

    the holy catholic Church,

    the communion of saints,

    the forgiveness of sins,

    the resurrection of the body,

    and the life everlasting. Amen.

Hymn: “Day Is Dying in the West” 

by Mary Lathbury

Lyrics:

Day is dying in the west; 

Heaven is touching earth with rest; 

Wait and worship while the night 

Sets the evening lamps alight 

Through all the sky. 

Lord of life, beneath the dome 

Of the universe, Your home, 

Gather us who seek Your face 

To the fold of Your embrace, 

For You are nigh. 

While the deepening shadows fall, 

Heart of love enfolding all, 

Through the glory and the grace 

Of the stars that veil your face, 

Our hearts ascend. 

When forever from our sight 

Pass the stars, the days, the night, 

Lord of angels, on our eyes 

Let eternal morning rise 

And shadows end. [1]


A Second Century Prayer for Stewardship 

O Lord God Almighty, who didst endue Your holy apostle Barnabas with singular gifts of the Holy Ghost; leave us not, we beseech You, destitute of Your manifold gifts, nor yet of grace to use them always to Your honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN. 

—Barnabas [2]

Short Verse

“Baptism is the beginning of the spiritual life, and the door of the sacrament. But the Eucharist is, as it were, the consummation of the spiritual life, and the end of all the sacraments.”

St. Thomas Aquinas

[3]
Guido Reni – Moses with the Tables of the Law

Morning Reading: Profile of Moses

“Some people can’t stay out of trouble. When conflict breaks out, they always manage to be nearby. Reaction is their favorite action. This was Moses. He seemed drawn to what needed to be righted. Throughout his life, he was at his finest and his worst responding to the conflicts around him. Whether jumping into a fight to defend a Hebrew slave or trying to referee a struggle between two kinsmen, when Moses saw conflict, he reacted.” [4]

“Over the years, however, an amazing thing happened to Moses. He didn’t stop reacting; rather, he learned to react correctly. With each day’s events shifting like a kaleidoscope, leading two million people in the wilderness was more than enough challenge for Moses’ reacting ability. Much of the time he served as a buffer between God and the people. At one moment he had to respond to God’s anger at the people’s stubbornness and forgetfulness. At another moment he had to react to the people’s bickering and complaining. At still another moment he had to react to their unjustified attacks on his character.” [5]

“Leadership often involves reaction. If we want to react with instincts consistent with God’s will, we must develop habits of obedience to God. Consistent obedience to God is best developed in times of less stress. Then when stress comes, our natural reaction will be to obey God.” [6]

“In our age of lowering moral standards, we find it almost impossible to believe that God would punish Moses for the one time he outright disobeyed. What we fail to see, however, is that God did not reject Moses; Moses simply disqualified himself to enter the Promised Land. Personal greatness does not make a person immune to error or its consequences.” [7]

“In Moses we see an outstanding personality shaped by God. But we must not misunderstand what God did. He did not change who or what Moses was; he did not give Moses new abilities and strengths. Instead, he took Moses’ characteristics and molded them until they were suited to his purposes. Does knowing this make a difference in your understanding of God’s purpose in your life? He is trying to take what he created in the first place and use it for its intended purposes. The next time you talk with God, don’t ask, ‘What should I change into?’ Instead ask, ‘How should I use my own abilities and strengths to do your will?’” [8]

Moses before the Pharaoh, a 6th-century miniature from the Syriac Bible of Paris
Strengths and accomplishments 
  • Egyptian education; wilderness training [9]
  • Greatest Jewish leader; led the Exodus [10]
  • Prophet and lawgiver [11]
  • Author of the Pentateuch [12]
Weakness and mistake 
  • Failed to enter the Promised Land because of disobedience to God [13]
Lessons from his life 
  • God prepares, then uses; his timetable is life-sized [14]
  • God does his greatest work through frail people [15]
Vital statistics 
  • Where: Egypt, Midian, wilderness of Sinai [16]
  • Occupations: Prince, shepherd, leader of the Israelites [17]
  • Relatives: Sister: Miriam. Brother: Aaron. Wife: Zipporah. Sons: Gershom and Eliezer. [18]
Key verses 
  • “It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Heb 11:24-25). [19]
  • Moses’ story is told in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. He is also mentioned in Acts 7:20-44; Hebrews 11:23-29. [20]

A Fourth Century Prayer for Pardon 

O Lord, who have mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of Your Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore You, a heart to delight in You, to follow and to enjoy You, for Christ’s sake. AMEN.

 —Ambrose [21]

Midday Intercession

[22]

Short Verse

An old man used to say, ‘If humility descends to Sheol it is exalted to the heavens; and although pride goes up to the heavens it will be brought down to Sheol.’

Sayings of the Holy Fathers

[23]

Midday Reading: Amos 3:13—4:5

Judgment against oppressors

13 “Hear, and testify against the house of Jacob,”

declares the Lord GOD, the God of hosts,

14 “that on the day I punish Israel for his transgressions,

I will punish the altars of Bethel,

and the horns of the altar shall be cut off

and fall to the ground.

15 I will strike the winter house along with the summer house,

and the houses of ivory shall perish,

and the great houses shall come to an end,”

declares the LORD.

1 “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan,

who are on the mountain of Samaria,

who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,

who say to your husbands, ‘Bring, that we may drink!’

2 The Lord GOD has sworn by his holiness

that, behold, the days are coming upon you,

when they shall take you away with hooks,

even the last of you with fishhooks.

3 And you shall go out through the breaches,

each one straight ahead;

and you shall be cast out into Harmon,”

declares the LORD.

4 “Come to Bethel, and transgress;

to Gilgal, and multiply transgression;

bring your sacrifices every morning,

your tithes every three days;

5 offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened,

and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them;

for so you love to do, O people of Israel!”

declares the Lord GOD.

Midday Lesson

Punishment for the perpetrators of injustice 

The phrase God of hosts, in verse 13, “describes not only the angelic armies but also the heavenly council. Just as the heavenly hosts hear the Lord’s words being pronounced in heaven above, so also these same utterances are delivered on earth by God’s servants, the prophets (cf Is 6:1–8; 1Ki 22:19–23).” [24]

Bethel was “one of the main sites of unauthorized worship in Israel. Such shrines were built and supported by the king of the breakaway northern tribes and, as such, were illegitimate. Abraham and Jacob had built altars and worshiped at Bethel much earlier (Gn 12:8; 28:18–22; 35:9–15). But by the time of Amos, the Jerusalem temple was the place that faithful Israelites were expected to worship.” [25] 

Horns were “an image of power. Animals with horns are bold; in Israelite thought, a horned animal with its head held high symbolized strength and triumph.” [26] “Altars at Bethel resembled those of the tabernacle… Cutting off the horns [of the altar] would render it useless for sacrifice and for protection (cf 1Ki 1:50; 2:28).” [27]

In verse 15, the Lord declared, “I will strike the winter house along with the summer house, and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall come to an end.” “This list of houses— one for every season, each in its own opulent style— emphasizes Israel’s indulgent prosperity. However, many of these mansions were built upon the oppression of the innocent and the poor. Destruction of the altar at Bethel (v 14) would then engulf the homes of the wealthy. In that fashion, judgment would come upon temple as well as home, against Israel’s religious and economic life.” [28] Regarding houses of ivory, “Phoenician low-relief carved plaques were used to decorate furnishings and other features of a home. The Phoenician artistic style had great influence on Israelite architecture and design, as archaeology and Scripture testify.” [29]

“Because their appetites are insatiable, prominent women of Samaria are likened to fat cows. Bashan was a fertile plain known for its rich pasture and large, healthy livestock (cf Dt 32:14)… Rich women goaded their husbands to acquire more, even at the expense and suffering of the poor.” [30]

Verse 2 of Amos 4 says, The Lord GOD has sworn by his holiness. God “issued His verdict in the form of a legal oath, swearing by the highest referent possible, His own holiness (cf Heb 6:13).” [31] Also in verse 2 is a mention of taking away the wicked peoples’ hooks. “Slaves and prisoners were hooked in order to control them.” [32] “Fortress walls [would] be breached, and lines of prisoners [would]  march out.” [33]

“Sacrifices rightfully belonged to the Lord at His altar in Jerusalem. Amos heightens [hs] sarcasm [in verses 4-5] by urging the people to sacrifice more frequently, ‘every morning’ and ‘every three days.’” [34]

“Because Israel has completely abandoned the covenant— through worshiping idols, perpetrating injustice, and showing indifference to the poor—the Lord threatens to allow an invading enemy to wreak havoc on the land. Wealth, compromise of confession, and indifference to suffering tempt the ‘new Israel,’ the Church, still today. Recognizing such failures in ourselves should move us to repentance and increased gratitude for Christ, who was rich, yet became poor for our sakes, so that through His poverty we might become eternally rich (2Co 8:9). • Walk with us, O Lord. Abide with us, and restore us according to Your favor. Amen.” [35]

[36]

A Fourth Century Prayer for Trust and Fuller Knowledge 

Merciful Lord, the Comforter and Teacher of Your faithful people, increase in Your Church the desires which You have given, and confirm the hearts of those who hope in You by enabling them to understand the depth of Your promises, that all Your adopted sons may even now behold, with the eyes of faith, and patiently wait for, the light which as yet You dost not openly manifest; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

—Ambrose [37]

Short Verse

“How could I bear a crown of gold when the Lord bears a crown of thorns? And bears it for me!”

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

[38]

Eventide Reading: Matthew 15:1-9

Jesus teaches the true commandments

1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” 6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

8 “‘This people honors me with their lips,

but their heart is far from me;

9 in vain do they worship me,

teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

Eventide Lesson

Law and Gospel 

The tradition referred to by Christ in verse 2 of our reading was the tradition of the elders, that is, “the interpretation of the law by the Jewish elders. Jesus refutes their views that ritual purity depends on outward actions. Rather, it is the state of the heart (v. 8) that determines a person’s purity..” [39] “The tradition of the elders was not the Law of Moses, it was the oral tradition based on interpretations of the law. They washed their hands ceremonially to remove defilement, not for hygienic purposes (see Mark 7:2-4).” [40] 

“In typical rabbinical style, Jesus answered the accusations of the scribes and Pharisees with a question. Whereas they challenged Jesus for His disciples’ violation of the teachings of former rabbis, Jesus challenged them for violating the commandment of God.” [41] He questioned “how His critics dared subordinate God’s moral commandment to hummanly instituted rules.” [42]

“Jesus quoted the Fourth Commandment given at Mount Sinai and another law that mandated death for reviling a parent (Lv 20:9). On the basis of OT laws, Jesus taught that grown children had an obligation to provide for their aging parents… Jesus faulted the the Pharisees and scribes for teaching that one could avoid financial support of parents by vowing this money to God as a gift. Such a vow might not be fulfilled until much later (if at all), allowing continued use of the money.” [43] “Jesus was referring to a practice whereby people would dedicated their possessions to God so that they could use their finances for themselves and not for others. For example, if a parent needed money, the children could excuse themselves from helping because their resources were already ‘dedicated’ to God. This ruse kept people from honoring their parents by taking care of them in their old age.” [44]

Therefore, Jesus was rebuking the scribes and Pharisees for being so obsessed with traditions when they didn’t even observe basic commandments from God. “Here He chided them for being so concerned with external ceremonial washings and dietary regulations that they failed to deal with character.” [45]  “People in Isaiah’s day imagined that they were worshipping God, even though they were, in fact, teaching human commandments. The Pharisees and scribes made the same mistake.” [46]

“Jesus is dealing with questions of Law when He criticizes placing man-made traditions above God’s commandments. God’s Law and Gospel dare never be subordinated to human teachings and rules. Jesus came to fulfill every aspect of the Law, that He might be our perfect Savior. Lord Jesus Christ, keep me faithful to Your Word, which is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Ps 119:105). Amen.” [47]

Compline Prayer

Deliver me from the terror by night, from the pestilence that walketh in darkness. Amen.

  • Lancelot Andrewes [48]

Citations:

[1] Tickle, P. (2000). October. In The divine hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 35). New York, NY: Image Books.

[2] Potts, J. M. (2020). Second Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 25). essay. 

[3] Thomas Aquinas quotation source: https://twitter.com/Aquinas_Quotes/status/1432514222848561155?s=19

[4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Moses [Profile]. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 7992). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Ibid. 4

[7] Ibid. 4

[8] Ibid. 4

[9] Ibid. 4

[10] Ibid. 4

[11] Ibid. 4

[12] Ibid. 4

[13] Ibid. 4

[14] Ibid. 4

[15] Ibid. 4

[16] Ibid. 4, P. 7993

[17] Ibid. 4, P. 7993

[18] Ibid. 4, P. 7993

[19] Ibid. 4, P. 7993

[20] Ibid. 4, P. 7993

[21] Potts, J. M. (2020). Fourth Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 35). essay. 

[22] Forward Movement. (2013). Intercessions. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 696). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[23] 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. 163).  W. Budge (Ed.)

[24] A., E. E. (2016). Amos. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 6023). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[25] Ibid. 24

[26] A., E. E. (2016).Key Terms and Phrases in the Psalms. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 3337). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[27] A., E. E. (2016). Amos. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 6023). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[28] Ibid. 27

[29] Ibid. 27

[30] Ibid. 27, P. 6023-6024

[31] Ibid. 27, P. 6024

[32] Ibid. 27, P. 6024

[33] Ibid. 27, P. 6024

[34] Ibid. 27, P. 6024

[35] Ibid. 27, P. 6024

[36] A., E. E. (2016). Color Map 1 [Map]. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 10257). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[37] Potts, J. M. (2020). Fourth Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 35). essay. 

[38] QUOTES by Elizabeth OF HUNGARY: A-Z Quotes. A. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2021, from https://www.azquotes.com/author/46661-Elizabeth_of_Hungary

[39] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Matthew. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1327). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[40] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2007). Matthew. In NKJV study Bible: New King James Version (Second ed., p. 1514). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[41] Ibid. 40

[42] House, C. P. (2009). Matthew. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1613). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[43] Ibid. 42

[44] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2007). Matthew. In NKJV study Bible: New King James Version (Second ed., p. 1514). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[45] Ibid. 44

[46] House, C. P. (2009). Matthew. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1613). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[47] Ibid. 46

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

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