Feb 4 Devotional Bible Study

February 4, 2022
Epiphanytide

Today’s Readings: 

  1. Numbers 27:12-23, God’s choice of Joshua
    • Lesson: Wise leadership
  2. Profile of Paul
  3. Acts 9:26-31, The apostles reluctantly welcome Saul
    • Lesson: New Christians need sponsors

Invocation

O Lord open thou my lips 

And my mouth shall declare thy praise. 

O God + come to my assistance; 

O Lord, make haste to help me. 

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

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 whole 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]

Hymn

“Hail to the Lord who comes”

By John Ellerton (1880)

Representative Text:

1 Hail to the Lord who comes,

comes to his temple gate,

not with his angel host,

not in his kingly state:

no shouts proclaim him nigh,

no crowds his coming wait.

2 But borne upon the throne

of Mary’s gentle breast,

watched by her duteous love,

in her fond arms at rest;

thus to his Father’s house

he comes, the heavenly guest.

3 There Joseph at her side

in reverent wonder stands;

and, filled with holy joy,

old Simeon in his hands

takes up the promised child,

the glory of all lands.

4 Hail to the great First-born,

whose ransom-price they pay,

the Son before all worlds,

the child of man to-day,

that he might ransom us

who still in bondage lay.

5 O Light of all the earth,

thy children wait for thee:

come to thy temples here,

that we, from sin set free,

before thy Father’s face

may all presented be. [2]


Morning Prayer

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.  Amen. [3]

Short Verse

It is a good thing to give thanks to the LORD,* and to sing praises to your Name, O Most High; To tell of your loving-kindness early in the morning* and of your faithfulness in the night season.

Psalm 92:1–2

Morning Reading

Numbers 27:12-23, God’s choice of Joshua

12 The Lord said to Moses, “Go up this mountain of the Abarim range, and see the land that I have given to the Israelites. 13 When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, 14 because you rebelled against my word in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation quarreled with me.[a] You did not show my holiness before their eyes at the waters.” (These are the waters of Meribath-kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.) 15 Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, 16 “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint someone over the congregation 17 who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep without a shepherd.” 18 So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand upon him; 19 have him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and commission him in their sight. 20 You shall give him some of your authority, so that all the congregation of the Israelites may obey. 21 But he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the decision of the Urim before the Lord; at his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the Israelites with him, the whole congregation.” 22 So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation; 23 he laid his hands on him and commissioned him—as the Lord had directed through Moses.

Morning Lesson

Wise leadership

“Moses asked God to appoint a leader who was capable of directing both external and internal affairs—one who could lead them in battle but who would also care for their needs. The Lord responded by appointing Joshua. Many people want to be known as leaders. Some are very capable of reaching their goals, while others care deeply for the people in their charge. The best leaders are both goal-oriented and people-oriented.” [4]

“Moses did not want to leave his work without making sure a new leader was ready to replace him. First, he asked God to help him find a replacement. Then, when Joshua was selected, Moses gave him a variety of tasks to ease the transition into his new position. Moses also clearly told the people that Joshua had the authority and the ability to lead the nation. His display of confidence in Joshua was good for both Joshua and the people. To minimize leadership gaps, anyone in a leadership position should train others to carry on the duties should he or she suddenly or eventually have to leave. While you have the opportunity, follow Moses’ pattern: pray, select, develop, and commission.” [5]


Midday Prayer

O God, the light of the minds that know you, the life of the souls that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you: Help us so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [6]

Short Verse

LORD, hear my prayer,* and let my cry come before you Incline your ear to me;* when I call, make haste to answer me.

Psalm 102:1f
The Conversion of Saul, fresco by Michelangelo, 1542–1545

Midday Reading

Profile of Paul 
[9]

“Paul was called Saul before his conversion and missionary journeys. He was the most prominent apostle in the early church due to his effectiveness in starting so many churches. Paul was from Tarsus of Cilicia and was born into a well-to-do home. Paul, as a rabbi, was required to learn a trade and so labored in the low-paying, menial task of tentmaking. But two facts demonstrate the social status of his family: (1) his Roman citizenship (22:28); and (2) his opportunity to study in Jerusalem under the foremost teacher, Gamaliel (22:3). Paul’s primary attribute, however, was not his education but his zeal, which was as much a part of his life before his conversion as afterward. Paul was the first to martyr the Christians (7:48) and to wreak havoc in the Jerusalem church (8:1, 3, 4), pursuing them even as far as Antioch. At that time God graciously saved him and commissioned him (Gal. 1:13–17). Paul became the Apostle to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13; Gal. 2:9) and immediately preached in Damascus, Jerusalem, Tarsus, and throughout Syria and Cilicia (Gal. 1:21–23). About 10 years later while serving in Antioch, Paul was sent to Cyprus and Galatia in what is called his first missionary journey (chs. 13; 14). He later evangelized Greece (chs. 16–18) and then Asia Minor (called Asia in Acts 19). When he returned to Jerusalem he was arrested and imprisoned: two years in Caesarea (chs. 23–26) and two years in Rome (ch. 28). During his missionary journeys he wrote Galatians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Romans. While in Rome he wrote the so-called Prison Epistles: Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. The books of Acts and 2 Timothy (along with the statements of church history) imply that Paul was released from prison, preached in Spain and the Aegean Sea area, wrote 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, was rearrested, and was finally martyred by Nero. Paul was neither physically impressive nor an orator (2 Cor. 10:10; Gal. 4:13–15), but his unquenchable zeal and love, plus his powerful pen, have endeared him not only to Christians of the first century but also to those of the last 20 centuries. (First Reference, Acts 7:58; Primary References, Acts 9; 13–28; 2 Corinthians 11; 12; Galatians 1; 2.)” [8]


Eventide Prayer

Our God, God of all souls,

we adore you,

and pray that we may endure safely

through our solemn vigil,

just as you turn the darkness into light,

turn our sins, just as the sun shines at midday;

Savior of the world

with the eternal Father you live and reign

with the Holy Spirit,

forever and ever. Amen. 

  • Antiphonary of Bangor [10]

Short Verse

I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me;* incline your ear to me, and hear my words.

Psalm 17:6

Eventide Reading

Acts 9:26-31, The apostles reluctantly welcome Saul

26 When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. 30 When the believers[a] learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

31 Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

Eventide Lesson

New Christians need sponsors

“Paul remained in Arabia for three years before traveling to Jerusalem to meet with the disciples there (cf. Gal 1:17-18).” [11] “Galatians 1:18-19 explains that Saul was in Jerusalem only 15 days and that he met only with Peter and James.” [12] “Like the people of Damascus, the disciples in Jerusalem were uncertain of Saul and his claim of conversion. He gained enough credibility through his teaching and fellowship that the disciples decided to protect him when the Hellenists sought to kill him. Comfort of the Holy Spirit: It is the Spirit that builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church.” [13]

“It is difficult to change your reputation, and Saul had a terrible reputation with the Christians. But Barnabas, a Jewish convert (mentioned in Acts 4:36), became the bridge between Saul and the apostles. New Christians (especially those with tarnished reputations) need sponsors, people who will come alongside, encourage, teach, and introduce them to other believers. In what ways can you become a Barnabas to new believers?” [14]

“Like Stephen before him, Saul drew antagonism from the Hellenist Jews.” [15] “These Hellenists were not Christians, but Greek-speaking Jews who rejected Christ (contrast 6:1).” [16]

In verses 29-30, “we can see two characteristics of Saul (Paul), even as a new believer in Christ: He was bold, and he stirred up controversy. These would characterize Saul’s ministry for the rest of his life.” [17] 

“Saul’s visit to Tarsus helped quiet conflicts with the Jews and allowed him time to prove his commitment. After Saul, the most zealous persecutor, was converted, the church enjoyed a brief time of peace.” [18]

In verse 31, we find “the first mention in the Book of Acts of churches in the plural, showing that the Church is not invisible, but consists of visible local communities united in faith, doctrine, worship, and authority.” [19]

Compline Prayer

O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in thy mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen. [20]


Citations:

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

[2] Author: John EllertonJohn Ellerton (b. London, E. (n.d.). Hail to the lord who comes. Hymnary.org. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://hymnary.org/text/hail_to_the_lord_who_comes 

[3] http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/06-Daily-Morning-Prayer-11.21.2019.docx

[4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Numbers. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5411). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/56-Occasional-Prayers.docx

[7] Paul [Image]. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5048). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Paul [Profile]. (2017). In The King James study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5047). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson.

[9] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Paul [Profile]. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1571). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[10] Stratman, P. (2001). Evening Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 19). Crossway.

[11] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Acts. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3352). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[12] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Acts. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6702). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[13] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Acts. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3352). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[14] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Acts. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6702). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[15] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Acts. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3352). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[16] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Acts. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1515). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

[17] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Acts. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6702). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[18] Ibid. 17

[19] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Acts. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1515). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

[20] Episcopal Church. (1979). Ministration of the Sick. 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. 833). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

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