November 4 Devotional (2021)

November 4, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: 

  • Psalm 146, God lifts those bowed down
  • Numbers 36:1-13, Women spared from poverty
  • Romans 5:1-11, Justified by Christ’s blood

Invitatory

God is the great Lord * Come, let us adore Him.

Opening 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. [1]

Today’s Intercession

[2]

Hymn

“Take Time to Be Holy”

Morning Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen. [3]

Short Verse

When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.

Proverbs 21:15

Morning Reading

Psalm 146, God lifts those bowed down

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!

I will praise the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes,

in mortals, in whom there is no help.

When their breath departs, they return to the earth;

on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the Lord their God,

who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them;

who keeps faith forever;

who executes justice for the oppressed;

who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;

the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;

the Lord loves the righteous.

The Lord watches over the strangers;

he upholds the orphan and the widow,

but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The Lord will reign forever,

your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord!

Morning Lesson

Put Not Your Trust in Princes

Psalm 146 “praises the Lord, the Creator, for His eternal reign in the Church (vv. 1, 2, 6, 10). For He is our helper, our hope, our freedom, restorer, our wisdom, and our keeper (vv. 5, 7-9). No earthly rulers can provide these things, for death overtakes them (vv. 3, 4).” [4]

Commentary from the Early Church
Psalm 146:3-6 

Saint Augustine

“They want to eat and drink, for tomorrow they die. If only they would give genuine thought to the fact that they are going to die tomorrow! Can there be any, after all, so mindless, so perverse, so hostile to their own souls, that they do not reflect, when they are about to die the next day, on how everything they have worked for has come to an end? That, you see, is what is written: ‘On that day shall all his schemes come to nothing.’” [5]

Psalm 146:7-9 

Saint Chrysostom

“As long as your blessed husband was with you, you enjoyed honor and care and zealous attention. In fact you enjoyed such as you might expect to enjoy from a husband; but, since God took him to himself, [God] has taken his place with you. And this is not my saying but that of the blessed prophet David, for he says, “He will take up the fatherless and the widow,” and elsewhere he calls him “father of the fatherless and judge of the widow” [see Ps 68:5]. Thus in many passages you will see that he is earnestly concerned about the cause.” 

(Letter to a Young Widow 1) [6]


Midday Prayer

For Christ To Be Formed In Us

Lord Jesus, Master Carpenter of Nazareth, on the Cross through wood and nails you wrought our full salvation: Wield well your tools in this, your workshop, that we who come to you rough-hewn may be fashioned into a truer beauty by your hand; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, world without end. Amen. [7]

Short Verse

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Revelation 7:17
The Daughters of Zelophehad (illustration from the 1908 Bible and Its Story Taught by One Thousand Picture Lessons)

Midday Reading

Numbers 36:1-13, Women spared from poverty

1 Then the heads of the clans of Gilead—descendants of Makir, son of Manasseh, son of Joseph—came to Moses and the family leaders of Israel with a petition. 2 They said, “Sir, the LORD instructed you to divide the land by sacred lot among the people of Israel. You were told by the LORD to give the grant of land owned by our brother Zelophehad to his daughters. 3 But if they marry men from another tribe, their grants of land will go with them to the tribe into which they marry. In this way, the total area of our tribal land will be reduced. 4 Then when the Year of Jubilee comes, their portion of land will be added to that of the new tribe, causing it to be lost forever to our ancestral tribe.”

5 So Moses gave the Israelites this command from the LORD: “The claim of the men of the tribe of Joseph is legitimate. 6 This is what the LORD commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad: Let them marry anyone they like, as long as it is within their own ancestral tribe. 7 None of the territorial land may pass from tribe to tribe, for all the land given to each tribe must remain within the tribe to which it was first allotted. 8 The daughters throughout the tribes of Israel who are in line to inherit property must marry within their tribe, so that all the Israelites will keep their ancestral property. 9 No grant of land may pass from one tribe to another; each tribe of Israel must keep its allotted portion of land.”

10 The daughters of Zelophehad did as the LORD commanded Moses. 11 Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah all married cousins on their father’s side. 12 They married into the clans of Manasseh son of Joseph. Thus, their inheritance of land remained within their ancestral tribe.

13 These are the commands and regulations that the LORD gave to the people of Israel through Moses while they were camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho.

Midday Lesson

Property in the Year of Jubilee

“Moses had ruled that daughters were entitled to inherit their father’s portion if he had no sons (27:1–11).” [8] (Verses 5-9 of today’s reading are a supplement to the law given in 27:5–1.) “The leaders of the tribe of Manasseh, to whom the litigant women belonged, foresaw that an unrestricted application of this provision could destroy the established tribal borders. If such an heiress married a member of another tribe, her husband would become the owner of the land within another tribe’s inheritance.” [9] “Before the jubilee year various circumstances, such as divorce, could make such property revert to its original tribal owners; but in the jubilee year it became irrevocably attached to its new owners.” [10]

“The particular concern of the larger Gileadite clan is the possible loss of land to another Israelite tribe should the daughters of Zelophehad marry outside the tribe of Manasseh. Under the Lord’s direction, Zelophehad’s daughters were granted territorial inheritance rights, thereby setting a legal precedent that the land should remain within the family or tribe. The Gileadite leaders brought to the judicial proceedings the other legal precedent of the Lord’s direction for the distribution of tribal territory by lot, and territorial sovereignty of each tribe was to be maintained.” [11] 

“With these two precedents on the judicial table, the Gileadites presented their case in two parts before Moses and the Israelite leadership for a legal decision. First was the question of one of the daughters of Zelophehad marrying outside the tribe of Manasseh, in which case the property would accrue to the husband’s tribe, thereby violating tribal territorial sovereignty. Tribal sovereignty was maintained by requiring Zelophehad’s daughters to marry within the tribal clan. This decision settled a potential conflict within property laws related to the Year of Jubilee, during which property reverted to its original tribal or clan owner and indentured slaves were emancipated (Lev 25:13–55). Since the Jubilee statutes applied only to purchased property and not to inherited property, this case set a precedent for future potential litigation.” [12]

Numbers 36:13 “ refers to what the Lord has communicated through Moses since the people arrived at the Plains of Moab. What follows in Deuteronomy are ‘the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness . . . ‘ (Dt 1).” [13]


Eventide Prayer

Almighty God, we give you thanks for surrounding us, as daylight fades, with the brightness of the vesper light; and we implore you of your great mercy that, as you enfold us with the radiance of this light, so you would shine into our hearts the brightness of your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [15]

Short Verse

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.

Jeremiah 17:14

Eventide Reading

Romans 5:1-11, Justified by Christ’s blood

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Eventide Lesson

Peace with God Through Faith

“In chapter 5 [Paul] comes to the fruits and works of faith , such as peace, joy, love to God and to every man, as well as confidence, assurance, boldness, courage, and hope amid tribulation and suffering. For all this follows, if faith be true, because of the superabundant goodness that God shows us in Christ, causing Christ to die for us before we could ask it of him, indeed, while we were still enemies. Thus we have it that faith justifies without any works; and yet it does not follow that men are therefore to do no good works, but rather that the genuine works will not be lacking. Of these the work-righteous saints know nothing. They dream up works of their own in which there is no peace, joy, confidence, love, hope, boldness, or any of the qualities of true Christian work and faith,” (Martin Luther). [16] 

“Faith in Christ makes us justified, an ongoing state of communion with Him… Because of this ongoing communion, we have peace with God which is also ongoing. The Greek word pistis, here translated as faith, can also be rendered ‘faithfulness.’ Faith is more than the conviction that something is true (Jam 2:19).” [17] “Justification does not merely mean escaping punishment; we are now in a positive relationship with God.” [18] “Note how the apostle places this spiritual peace only after righteousness has preceded it. For first he says, ‘since we have been justified . . . by faith,’ and then ‘we have peace,’” (Martin Luther). [19] Genuine faithfulness involves “loyalty and obedience to God. Such faithfulness justifies a person through God’s grace.” [20] “Spiritually inexperienced people [often] despise this teaching. However, God-fearing and anxious consciences find by experience that it brings the greatest consolation.” [21]

“Christians ask, ‘How can I experience the love of God and pass it on to others?’ St. Paul offers the answer” in verse 5: and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. [22]

“The ungodly [verse 6] are all of us. Because of sin, everyone stands in alienation from God, and we do not have the capacity to become righteous on our own. Because of God’s love, Christ died for our sins to bring us the gift of righteousness.” [23]

Verse 10 says, For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. “We” refers to “those who accept and appropriate Christ’s love reconciled to God, being restored to peace and communion with Him. God has not ceased to be Friend, for He is unchangeable. We are the ones who have changed and thus need changing. So while we were still rebellious enemies of God, God was working in His love to restore us.” [24]

“We naturally seek to avoid pain and suffering. Yet, there are times when suffering is unavoidable. Focused on Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, we know that suffering is not the whole story. God will use afflictions for our good and to bless others. He will keep His promises, and we will overcome our sufferings by faith . • Lord Christ, You suffered for us. When we must suffer, lead us in faith. Amen.” [25]

Compline Prayer

Father, in your mercy dispel the darkness of this night, and let your servant sleep in peace, that at the dawn of a new day I may wake with joy in your Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen. [26]


Citations:

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

[2] Forward Movement. (2013). Intercessions. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 606). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[3] 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. 101). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[4] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Psalms. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 798). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Augustine. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1791). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[6] Chrysostom. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1791). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[7] Occasional Prayers. (2019). In Book of Common Prayer, Anglican Church in North America. Retrieved at: http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/56-Occasional-Prayers.docx

[8] A., E. E. (2016). Numbers. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 1222). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[9] Ibid. 8

[10] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Numbers. 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. 1584). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[11] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). Numbers. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 997). essay, Zondervan.

[12] Ibid. 11, P. 997-998

[13] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Numbers. 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. 325). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[14] A., E. E. (2016). Numbers. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 1222-1223). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[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. 110). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[16] A., E. E. (2016). Romans. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7716). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[17] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Romans. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1559). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[18] A., E. E. (2016). Romans. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7717). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[19] Ibid. 18

[20] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Romans. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1559). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[21] A., E. E. (2016). Romans. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7717). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[22] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Romans. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1559). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[23] Ibid. 22

[24] Ibid. 22

[25] A., E. E. (2016). Romans. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7718). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[26] Occasional Prayers. (2019). In Book of Common Prayer, Anglican Church in North America. Retrieved at: http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/56-Occasional-Prayers.docx

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