October 25 Devotional (2021)

October 25, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: 

  • Psalm 119:17-24
  • Exodus 4:1-17
  • 1 Peter 2:1-10

Invitatory

The earth is the Lord’s for he made it: Come let us adore him.

Opening Prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [1]

Today’s Intercession

[2]

The Hymn: “Come, Let Us Join Our Friends Above” by Charles Wesley

Lyrics:

Come, let us join our friends above who have obtained the prize, 

And on the eagle wings of love to joys celestial rise. 

Let saints on earth unite to sing with those to glory gone, 

For all the servants of our King in earth and heaven are one. 

One family we dwell in him, our church above, beneath, 

Though now divided by the stream, the narrow stream of death; 

One army of the living God, to his command we bow; 

Part of his host have crossed the flood, and part are crossing now. 

Ten thousand to their endless home this solemn moment fly, 

And though we are to the margin come, and we expect to die, 

Even now by faith we join our hands with those that went before, 

And greet the blood-besprinkled bands on the eternal shore. [3]


Morning Prayer

A Collect For The Renewal Of Life

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [4]

Short Verse

From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!

Psalm 113:3

Morning Reading: Psalm 119:17-24

Open my eyes

Deal bountifully with your servant,

so that I may live and observe your word.

Open my eyes, so that I may behold

wondrous things out of your law.

I live as an alien in the land;

do not hide your commandments from me.

My soul is consumed with longing

for your ordinances at all times.

You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,

who wander from your commandments;

take away from me their scorn and contempt,

for I have kept your decrees.

Even though princes sit plotting against me,

your servant will meditate on your statutes.

Your decrees are my delight,

they are my counselors.


Midday Prayer

To be filled by the Holy Spirit

Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [5]

Short Verse

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalm 84:11

Midday Reading: Exodus 4:1-17

Moses’ power from God

1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”

2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

6 Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous  —it had become as white as snow.

7 “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

8 Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”

10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”

Midday Lesson: Signs of the LORD’s Power

“Moses’ reluctance and fear were caused by overanticipation. He was worried about how the people might respond to him. We often build up events in our minds and then panic over what might go wrong. God does not ask us to go where he has not provided the means to help. Go where he leads, trusting him to supply courage, confidence, and resources at the right moment.” [6]

“A shepherd’s staff was commonly a three- to six-foot wooden rod with a curved hook at the top. The shepherd used it for walking, guiding his sheep, killing snakes, and many other tasks. Still, it was just a stick. But God used the simple shepherd’s staff Moses carried as a sign to teach him an important lesson. God sometimes takes joy in using ordinary things for extraordinary purposes. What are the ordinary things in your life—your voice, a pen, a hammer, a broom, a musical instrument, a computer? While it is easy to assume God can use only special skills, you must not hinder his use of the everyday contributions you can make. Little did Moses imagine the power his simple staff would wield when it became the staff of God.” [7]

“Tales even from the modern era have been told of an Egyptian magical act in which a snake becomes as stiff as a staff. One account refers to “both a snake and a crocodile thrown by hypnotism into the condition of rigidity in which they could be held up as rods by the tip of the tail.” The sign given to Moses was the opposite, which raises the possibility that the sign was intended as an obvious reversal of Egyptian magic.” [8]

“Exactly what the Hebrew term for ‘leprous’ [v. 6]means is uncertain. Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen, a Norwegian physician, in the 1860s discovered the organism that he named Mycobacterium leprae—the bacterium that causes what today is known as leprosy or Hansen’s disease. There is little evidence, however, that this disease existed to any substantial degree in the ancient Near East. Examinations of skeletal remains from both Egypt and Israel show little evidence of the bone deformities typically caused by leprosy; the earliest indication of true leprosy in Egypt dates to the early Christian period. The Hebrew term metsoraat, often translated as “leprosy,” most likely refers to changes in the skin that result from any number of dermatological conditions (e.g., psoriasis, eczema), fungal infections (e.g., ringworm), or other causes.” [9] Leprosy was “one of the most feared diseases of this time. There was no cure, and a great deal of suffering preceded eventual death. Through this experience, Moses learned that God could cause or cure any kind of disease. He saw that God indeed had all power and was commissioning him to exercise that power to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt.” [10]

In verse 6, “Moses’ hand is said to be “as snow.” This could refer either to color (white) or to texture (flaky), though the latter is more likely, in light of other Biblical texts referring to metsoraat. Ancient Mesopotamians also had names for skin diseases that have been translated into English as “leprosy.” Like the Israelites, they feared these diseases. Some texts use this disease to curse wrongdoers: “May Sîn, great lord, fill him with leprosy and may he bed down like a wild ass outside the city.” A court case at ancient Nuzi (c. 1400 BC) cites testimony of one man to another, “You are filled with ‘leprosy’ [epqu]. Do not come near me.” Thus, the condition of Moses’ hand, whatever it was, is meant to startle and repulse any observer and even Moses himself, though he cannot run from this as he had from the snake (v. 3).” [11]

“Moses pleaded with God to let him out of his mission. After all, he was not a good speaker and would probably embarrass both himself and God. But God looked at Moses’ problem quite differently. All Moses needed was some help, and who better than God could help him say and do the right things. God had made his mouth and would give him the words to say. It is easy for us to focus on our weaknesses, but if God asks us to do something, then he will help us get the job done. If the job involves some of our weak areas, then we can trust that he will provide words, strength, courage, and ability where needed.” [12]

“God finally agreed to let Aaron speak for Moses. Moses’ feelings of inadequacy were so strong that he could not trust even God’s ability to help him. Moses had to deal with his deep sense of inadequacy many times. When we face difficult or frightening situations, we must be willing to let God help us.” [13]

The staff “becomes the symbol of God’s presence and power. Moses never uses it in connection with incantations, and so it is distinguished from an instrument of magic. Magic is employed to manipulate deity; Moses only uses the staff this way in one incident (Nu 20), for which he is severely punished.” [14]


Eventide Prayer

A Collect for Peace

Most holy God, the source of all good desires, all right judgements, and all just works: Give to us, your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, so that our minds may be fixed on the doing of your will, and that we, being delivered from the fear of all enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through the mercies of Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen. [15]

Short Verse

And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Revelation 22:5
Section of a fresco in the Niccoline Chapel by Fra Angelico, depicting Saint Peter consecrating the Seven Deacons. Saint Stephen is shown kneeling.

Eventide Reading: 1 Peter 2:1-10

Called to a holy priesthood

1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,

a cornerstone chosen and precious,

and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone,” 

8 and

“A stone of stumbling,

and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Eventide Lesson: A Living Stone and a Holy People

“As an infant craves its mother’s milk, so Christians crave God’s nourishing Word… New converts may have a minimal knowledge of Christian teachings, but all Christians should strive to mature in their faith, which leads to the full blessings of salvation.” [16] Martin Luther wrote, ““The milk is nothing but the Gospel, which is also the very seed by which we were conceived and born, as we heard above. This is also the food that nourishes us when we grow up; it is the armor which we put on and with which we equip ourselves. Yes, it is everything put together. But the admixture is the human doctrines with which the Word of God is adulterated.” [17]

“Infants are satisfied by their mother’s milk. Christians likewise find that God’s Word satisfies their deepest needs.” [18]

“The people of God are the temple in which He dwells; Christ is the cornerstone… The Church is the temple of the Holy Spirit , where He dwells.” [19]

“Christians are priests, having direct access to God through Christ… Priests offer sacrifices; thus Christians offer the sacrifices of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. These are acceptable to God because of the greatest sacrifice, Jesus Christ (cf Heb 9–10).” [20]

“As the Israelites were once the chosen people of God, now Christians are the new Israel, chosen by God… The priests belong to the King, God Himself.” [21] “Each and all are . . . equally spiritual priests before God. . . . Faith alone is the true priestly office. . . . Therefore all Christian men are priests, all women priestesses, be they young or old, master or servant, mistress or maid, learned or unlearned,” (Martin Luther). [22]

“God’s people, individually and collectively, are set apart to do His will (Ex 19: 5– 6).” [23] “Apart from God, humans are isolated and not in relationship with Him or others. Having received God’s blessings, He places us in His Body, the Church. Now we belong; we are part of God’s people.” [24]

“Like all people, we were born in sin and lived in the darkness of the world. But Christ, the light of the world, has called us out of darkness into His light. He makes us His own, gives us a place as citizens of His kingdom, and empowers us to live as His royal priesthood. We are not alone but are part of His people, a holy nation. Now that same Savior calls us to tell others of His love. Through our words and actions, we proclaim the life and salvation that is ours in Jesus. • Lord Jesus, as the cornerstone, You make us living stones in Your house and servants of Your Gospel. Bless us with a heart for the lost, that they may come to saving faith in You. Amen.” [25]

Compline Prayer

Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. [26]


Citations:

[1] 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. 235). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[2] Forward Movement. (2013). Intercessions. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 586). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[3] Tickle, P. (2000). October. In The divine hours: Prayers for Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 102). New York, NY: Image Books.

[4] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office, Rite II. 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.

[5] 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.

[6] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Exodus. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5313). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[7] Ibid. 6

[8] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). Exodus. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 553). essay, Zondervan.

[9] Ibid. 8

[10] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Exodus. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5313). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[11] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). Exodus. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 553). essay, Zondervan.

[12] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Exodus. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5314). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[13] Ibid. 12

[14] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). Exodus. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 553). essay, Zondervan.

[15] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office, Rite II. 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. 123). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[16] A., E. E. (2016). 1 Peter. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 8571). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[17] Ibid. 16

[18] Ibid. 16

[19] Ibid. 16

[20] Ibid. 16

[21] Ibid. 16

[22] Ibid. 16

[23] Ibid. 16

[24] Ibid. 16, P. 8572

[25] Ibid. 16, P. 8572

[26] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office, Rite II. 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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