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Friday Bible Study: Jan 7, 2022

January 7, 2022
Epiphanytide

Today’s Readings: 

  1. Psalm 29, The voice of God upon the waters
    • Lesson: You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead.
  2. Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, Toil for pleasure is ultimately vanity
    • Lesson: The Futility of Self-Indulgence
  3. 1 Corinthians 2:1-10, The Spirit reveals the depths of God
    • Lesson: Understanding God’s plan

Invitatory

The Lord has shown forth his glory: Come let us adore him.

Opening Prayer

Blessed are you, O God,

     king of the nations,

     to you be praise and glory for ever.

From the rising of the sun to its setting

     your name is proclaimed in all the world.

As the Sun of Righteousness dawns in our hearts

     anoint our lips with the seal of your Spirit

     that we may witness to your gospel

     and sing your praise in all the earth.

Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

     Blessed be God for ever. Amen. [1]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Hymn

“All Praise to You, O Lord”

By Hyde W. Beadon

Lyrics

All praise to you, O Lord, 

Who by your mighty power 

Did manifest your glory forth 

In Cana’s marriage hour. 

You speak, and it is done; 

Obedient to your word, 

The water reddening into wine 

Proclaims the present Lord. 

Oh, may this grace be ours: 

In you always to live 

And drink of those refreshing streams 

Which you alone can give. 

So, led from strength to strength, 

Grant us, O Lord, to see 

The marriage supper of the Lamb, 

The great epiphany. [2]


Morning Prayer

Lord, you hide your face

when we trust in ourselves;

strip us of false security

and re-clothe us in your praise,

that we may know you

as the one who raises us from death,

as you raised your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen. [3]

Short Verse

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:3-4
Cropped portion of a painting by Eric Zener

Morning Reading

Psalm 29, The voice of God upon the waters

1

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,

    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;

    worship the Lord in holy splendor.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;

    the God of glory thunders,

    the Lord, over mighty waters.

The voice of the Lord is powerful;

    the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;

    the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,

    and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.

The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;

    the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,

    and strips the forest bare;

    and in his temple all say, “Glory!”

10 

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;

    the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.

11 

May the Lord give strength to his people!

    May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Morning Lesson

You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead.

This psalm is “a prophecy of the Gospel, that it shall resound with power in all the world. . . . He established the flood, Baptism, in which the old Adam is drowned and the new man arises” (Martin Luther). [4] Thus, Psalm 29 “is a prophecy concerning the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River, celebrated in the services of Theophany (Epiphany). Both words, epiphany and theophany, mean “manifestation” or “revelation,” and theophany has the additional meaning, “revelation of God.” The God who is revealed in Christ’s Baptism is God the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus this event also reveals that Jesus Christ (the Son) is one of the Trinity.” [5] 

Psalm 29 “reveals the Father as the voice speaking from heaven at Jesus’ Baptism (vv. 3-5, 7-9; see also Mt 3:17; Mk 1:11; Lk 3:22). It also reveals the Son (His beloved, v. 6) and the Holy Spirit (fiery flames, v. 7).” [6]

“This psalm effectively links the Temple, the created world, and the heavens as places where God’s presence is especially perceived. He who has power over all creation desires every man and woman to dwell eternally with him in peace. We ought not fear the waters stirred by the storms on the sea for that same water consecrates us to him in Baptism by which we grow in holiness through our life in Christ.” [7]

“God’s power is a terrifying thing. The sound of His voice brings forth creation, shakes the mountains and trees, and unleashes the great flood that destroyed the earth. We sinners might be destroyed by the power of His holy, powerful voice. Yet “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” ( Jn 1: 14 ). God came to us in Jesus to speak His love and grace. In Baptism, flood and voice combine to cleanse us (this psalm was traditionally used at Baptisms ). Hearing His gracious voice, we join heaven and earth in praise. • O Word of God, You became flesh to be our Savior. Let us hear Your powerful voice. Amen.” [8]

Psalm 29 Commentary from the Early Church
Psalm 29:1, Theodoret of Cyrus: 

“You who are entrusted with the divine message, he is saying, and are called children of God, bear the divine message everywhere with all enthusiasm, transform those reared on nonsense into rational people and offer them first to God; then through them present the worship and the hymns, celebrating the benefactor in the divine dwellings. This resembles what was said by the Savior to the sacred apostles, ‘Go, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit’ [Mt 28:19].”

(Commentary on the Psalms 29.4 [9])

Psalm 29:5, St. Augustine of Hippo: 

“The Lord will grind down in repentance those who lift themselves high in the brilliant distinction of earthly rank, since to their confusion he has chosen to reveal his godhead to the most insignificant of this world.”

(Expositions of the Psalms 29.5 [10)


Midday Prayer

May Almighty God, who led the Wise Men by the shining of a star to find the Christ, the Light from Light, lead you also, in your pilgrimage, to find the Lord. Amen. [11]

Short Verse

Search for the LORD and his strength;* continually seek his face. 

Psalm 105:4 

Midday Reading

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, Toil for pleasure is ultimately vanity

1 I said to myself, “Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But again, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3 I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was good for mortals to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4 I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards for myself; 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines.

9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. 10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

Midday Lesson

The Futility of Self-Indulgence

“Solomon examines the rewards of reason and nonreason, sensual and aesthetic pleasure, the creative enterprise, the connoisseur, the collector and activist. His goal is to explore what life might be for the ideally gifted and advantaged.” [12] Martin Luther wrote, “We should not find enjoyment in happiness, goods, our own counsels, or any other thing; only as God has given them should we use them. One should let God have His way. It is not up to us to prescribe the place, the person, or the manner; if we do, we shall go wrong. This does not mean that happiness is condemned as something evil or vain. What is condemned is human striving and planning, when we ourselves want or try to create happiness without respect to the will of God. But as both come from God, so let us use them. . . . Sorrow, happiness, and all such things, whether external or internal, must not be measured on the basis of places, times, etc.; but as they come from God in His complete freedom , so one should use them in complete freedom.” [13]

Solomon “spoke in his heart because the heart is the center of our true self. It is the center of good or vanity, affection and coldness, mercy and hardness, wisdom and folly, reason and confusion.” [14] “Diversion can bring relief, but in excess it can bring foolishness and fruitlessness. Diversion cannot appease a guilty conscience, heal a sorrowful spirit, or satisfy the soul.” [15]

“Solomon explor[ed] the pleasures of the palate and flesh… He intentionally acquainted himself with wisdom to carefully manage his use of sensual pleasures… The brevity of life and service to the Lord should be guided by His Word, not by seeking pleasure alone. It is good to do the work of the Lord.” [16]

“Solomon attempt[ed] to make paradise on earth. But the re-creation of all things can only happen at Christ’s return in glory (Rv 21–22 ).” [17] “Work brought pleasure. But reviewing the pleasure he sought and the great accomplishments gained, Solomon gained no advantage or satisfaction because there was no profit ‘under the sun’ [v. 11]. Even with wisdom, toil is meaningless apart from the fear of God.” [18]

“The pursuit of pleasure can draw us away from the Lord and toward other altars, as Solomon turned to other gods and idols before returning to God (cf Mt 6: 19– 24 ). When we return thanks to God for His gracious and simple gifts— house and home, flocks and herds, spouse and children— we focus on His fatherly mercy and kindness. • O Lord Christ, help us! Strengthen our faith and trust in You. We receive all of our treasures in You alone. We are poor; You are rich. Grant us Your faith and righteousness that we might trust and remain in Your everlasting love for all eternity, through Jesus Christ. Amen.” [19]


Eventide Prayer

Invocation of the Holy Spirit 

Most powerful Holy Spirit,

     come down

         upon us and subdue us. 

From heaven,

     where the ordinary

         is made glorious,

     and glory seems but ordinary, bathe us

     with the brilliance

     of Your light like dew.

Amen. [20]

Short Verse

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 14:26

Eventide Reading

1 Corinthians 2:1-10, The Spirit reveals the depths of God

 

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

6 Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7 But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,

    nor the human heart conceived,

what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

Eventide Lesson

Understanding God’s plan 

“Paul did not credit himself here with being an eloquent preacher. Rather, he vehemently testified that it was not his own rhetoric or his own interpretations that brought the Corinthians to believe in Christ but the power of the Holy Spirit working through him.” [21]

“A brilliant scholar, Paul could have overwhelmed his listeners with intellectual arguments. Instead, he shared the simple message of Jesus Christ by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide his words. In sharing the gospel with others, we should follow Paul’s example and keep our message simple and basic. The Holy Spirit will give power to our words and use them to bring glory to Jesus.” [22]

In verse 4, Paul mentioned fear and trembling. “Rather than fright, this is [describing] awe and wonder in the knowledge and power of God.” [23]

The secret and hidden wisdom Paul wrote about in verse 7 was God’s eternal plan for the transformation of creation and the salvation offered to all people through Jesus Christ. “Originally unknown to humanity, this plan became crystal clear when Jesus rose from the dead. His resurrection proved that he had power over sin and death and could offer us this power as well (see also 1 Peter 1:10-12 and the first note on Romans 16:25-27). God’s plan, however, is still hidden to unbelievers because they either refuse to accept it, choose to ignore it, or simply haven’t heard about it.” [24]

As Paul noted in verse 8, none of the rulers of this age understood this plan. “Jesus was misunderstood and rejected by those whom the world considered wise and great. He was put to death by the rulers in [Jerusalem]—the high priest, King Herod, Pilate, and the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus’ rejection by these rulers had been predicted in Isaiah 53:3 and Zechariah 12:10-11.” [25]

The depths of God (v. 10) “refers to God’s unfathomable nature and his wonderful plan—Jesus’ death and resurrection—and to the promise of salvation, revealed only to those who believe that what God says is true. Those who believe in Christ’s death and resurrection and put their faith in him will know all they need to know to be saved. This knowledge, however, can’t be grasped by even the wisest people unless they accept God’s message. All who reject God’s message are foolish, no matter how wise the world thinks they are.” [26]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

That you will give us a quiet night and a perfect end:

       we pray to you, O Lord.

That you will have mercy upon us and grant us your salvation:

       we pray to you, O Lord.

That you will keep us this night without sin:

       we pray to you, O Lord.

That you will guard us and give us your blessing:

       we pray to you, O Lord.

That you will bring us with your saints to glory everlasting:

       we pray to you, O Lord.

Let us commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray, to the mercy and protection of God.

Amen. [27]


Citations:

[1] Church House Publishing. (2005). Morning Prayer. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 279). 

[2] Tickle, P. (2006). January. In The divine hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 521). New York, NY: Image Books.

[3] Church House Publishing. (2005). Psalter. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 810).

[4] House, C. P. (2009). Psalms. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 3664). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[5] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Psalms. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 729). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Ibid. 5

[7] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Psalms. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 1579). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[8] House, C. P. (2009). Psalms. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 3666). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[9] Theodoret of Cyrus. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1574). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[10] Augustine. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1574). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[11] The Episcopal Church. (2018). Seasonal Blessings. In The Book of Occasional Services (PDF ed., p. 10). Then Episcopal Church. Retrieved November December 15, 2020, from https://episcopalchurch.org/files/lm_book_of_occasional_services_2018.pdf

[12] A., E. E. (2016). Ecclesiastes. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 4348). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[13] Ibid. 12, P. 4348-4349

[14] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Ecclesiastes. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 912). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[15] A., E. E. (2016). Ecclesiastes. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 4349). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[16] Ibid. 15

[17] Ibid. 15

[18] Ibid. 15

[19] Ibid. 15, P. 4350

[20] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Invocation of the Holy Spirit . In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 38). London: HarperCollins.

[21] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 1 Corinthians. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3471). Downers Grove,, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[22] Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2013). Study Notes: 1 Corinthians. In Life application study Bible: King James version (Kindle ed., p. 8693). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

[23] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 1 Corinthians. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3471). Downers Grove,, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[24] Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2013). Study Notes: 1 Corinthians. In Life application study Bible: King James version (Kindle ed., p. 8693). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

[25] Ibid, 25

[26] Ibid. 25, P. 8693-8694

[27] Church House Publishing. (2005). Prayers. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 443). 

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