Feb 7 Devotional Bible Study

February 7, 2022
Epiphanytide

Today’s Readings: 

  1. Psalm 115, God blesses the chosen people
    • Lesson: The One True God
  2. Judges 5:1-11, Deborah the judge sings God’s praise
    • Lesson: Keep God at the center of your life
  3. 1 Corinthians 14:26-40, Advice about worship
    • Lesson: Building up

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

Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [1]

The Hymn

“Praise the Lord through every nation”

By Rhijnvis Feith

Lyrics:

Praise the Lord through every nation; 

His holy arm has brought salvation; 

      Exalt him on his Father’s throne. 

Praise your King, you Christian legions, 

Who now prepares in heavenly regions 

      Unfailing mansions for his own: 

With voice and minstrelsy 

Extol his majesty, 

      Raise your anthem now! 

His praise shall sound 

All nature round, 

and hymns on every tongue abound. 

Jesus, Lord, our captain glorious, 

Over sin and death, and hell victorious, 

      Wisdom and might to you belong: 

We confess, proclaim, adore you; 

We bow the knee, we fall before you; 

      Your love henceforth will be our song. 

The cross meanwhile we bear, 

The crown ere long to wear; 

      Raise your anthem now! 

Your reign extend 

World without end; 

Let praise from all to you ascend. [2]


Morning Prayer

May God the Father bless me, God the Son heal me, God.the Holy Spirit give me strength. May God the holy and undivided Trinity guard my body, save my soul, and bring me safely to his heavenly country; where he lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. 

  • adapted from the Book of Common Prayer [3]

Short Verse

One day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room,* and to stand at the threshold of the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Psalm 84:9

Morning Reading

Psalm 115, God blesses the chosen people

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,

    for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.

Why should the nations say,

    “Where is their God?”

Our God is in the heavens;

    he does whatever he pleases.

Their idols are silver and gold,

    the work of human hands.

They have mouths, but do not speak;

    eyes, but do not see.

They have ears, but do not hear;

    noses, but do not smell.

They have hands, but do not feel;

    feet, but do not walk;

    they make no sound in their throats.

Those who make them are like them;

    so are all who trust in them.

O Israel, trust in the Lord!

    He is their help and their shield.

10 

O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord!

    He is their help and their shield.

11 

You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!

    He is their help and their shield.

12 

The Lord has been mindful of us; he will bless us;

    he will bless the house of Israel;

    he will bless the house of Aaron;

13 

he will bless those who fear the Lord,

    both small and great.

14 

May the Lord give you increase,

    both you and your children.

15 

May you be blessed by the Lord,

    who made heaven and earth.

16 

The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,

    but the earth he has given to human beings.

17 

The dead do not praise the Lord,

    nor do any that go down into silence.

18 

But we will bless the Lord

    from this time on and forevermore.

Praise the Lord!

Morning Lesson

The One True God

“This psalm acclaims powerfully the God of Israel as the one true God, while the other alleged deities are mere inanimate objects of human origin. God who is Almighty knows no rival to his power. Furthermore, God, in his infinite love and might, provides for the needs of his people, both physical and spiritual. Those who make them are like them: Just as the graven images of idols are spiritually lifeless, so is the case among those who worship them.” [4]

“The term “heaven and earth” [v. 15] means all of creation. God alone made all that exists and, therefore, is the source of knowledge of every created thing in relation to himself. He reveals himself through creation since the effect of any work reflects its cause. This indirect revelation of God through his creation was greatly enhanced through his direct Revelation to the people of Israel.” [5]

“Whenever Israel was defeated in battle or exiled to foreign lands, the taunt from its pagan neighbors would be heard: ‘Where is your God now?’ Periodically, the Lord would allow foreign powers to have their way with his people, causing them great suffering. However, God permitted these hardships to provoke a repentance by which they would commit themselves again to fidelity to the covenant. Here, the psalmist spoke with the wisdom gleaned from Israel’s long history: God is our help and shield who saves and defends us. The pagans have no validity to their taunting; their gods are inanimate objects made by human hands, while the God of Israel is the eternal and living God, Ever-present and All-powerful.” [6]

Let us pray.

Living God,

defend us from the idols which our hearts

enthrone,

that we may not go down into silence

but be raised to our heaven of heavens

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen. [7]

Psalm 115 Commentary from the Early Church

Psalm 115:1, Saint Augustine:

When Jesus was entrusting Peter with his sheep, he was entrusting him with us. When he was entrusting Peter with us, he was entrusting the church with his members. So, Lord, entrust your church to your church, let your church entrust itself to you.

(Sermon 229 p.4 [8])

Psalm 115:3-8, Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe:

[T]here is no falseness in God’s promises because for the all-powerful there is no problem about doing things. And so the effects of the will are never lacking because the will itself is nothing other than power. Whatever God wills, he can do; he can do as much as he wishes.          So it is rightly said of him alone, “He does whatever he pleases.” . . . So we have said that there is as much power of will there as there is will itself for the power. Since for the one to whom it is subject, when he shall will, he can, willing being nothing other than power.

(Letter to Monimus 1.12.4–5 [9])

Midday Prayer

O God, without whose beauty and goodness our souls are unfed, without whose truth our reason withers: Consecrate our lives to your will, giving us such purity of heart, such depth of faith, and such steadfastness of purpose, that in time we may come to think your own thoughts after you; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen. [10]

Short Verse

Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth;* sing praises to the Lord. He rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;* he sends forth his voice, his mighty voice.

Psalm 68:33–34
A statue of Deborah (1792) in Aix-en-Provence, France
[31]

Midday Reading

Judges 5:1-11, Deborah the judge sings God’s praise

1 Then Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying:

“When locks are long in Israel,

    when the people offer themselves willingly—

    bless[a] the Lord!

“Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes;

    to the Lord I will sing,

    I will make melody to the Lord, the God of Israel.

“Lord, when you went out from Seir,

    when you marched from the region of Edom,

the earth trembled,

    and the heavens poured,

    the clouds indeed poured water.

The mountains quaked before the Lord, the One of Sinai,

    before the Lord, the God of Israel.

“In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,

    in the days of Jael, caravans ceased

    and travelers kept to the byways.

The peasantry prospered in Israel,

    they grew fat on plunder,

because you arose, Deborah,

    arose as a mother in Israel.

When new gods were chosen,

    then war was in the gates.

Was shield or spear to be seen

    among forty thousand in Israel?

My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel

    who offered themselves willingly among the people.

    Bless the Lord.

10 

“Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys,

    you who sit on rich carpets[b]

    and you who walk by the way.

11 

To the sound of musicians[c] at the watering places,

    there they repeat the triumphs of the Lord,

    the triumphs of his peasantry in Israel.

“Then down to the gates marched the people of the Lord.

Deborah and Barak in a miniature from the 13th-century Psalter of St. Louis

Midday Lesson

Keep God at the center of your life

“Music and singing were a cherished part of Israel’s culture. Judges 5 is a song, sung and possibly composed by Deborah and Barak. It sets to music the story of Israel’s great victory described in Judges 4. This victory song was accompanied by joyous celebration. It proclaimed God’s greatness by giving him credit for the victory. It was an excellent way to preserve and retell this wonderful story from generation to generation.” [11]

“In victory, Barak and Deborah sang praises to God. Songs of praise focus our attention on God, give us an outlet for spiritual celebration, and remind us of God’s faithfulness and character. Whether you are experiencing a great victory or a major dilemma, singing praises to God can have a positive effect on your attitude.” [12]

“War was the inevitable result when Israel chose to follow false gods. Although God had given Israel clear directions, the people failed to put his words into practice. Without God at the center of their national life, pressure from the outside soon became greater than the power from within, and they were an easy prey for their enemies. If you are letting a desire for recognition, craving for power, or love of money rule your life, you may find yourself besieged by enemies—stress, anxiety, illness, fatigue. Keep God at the center of your life, and you will have the power you need to fight these destroyers.” [13]

[14]

Eventide Prayer

Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. (Psalm 119:165) O Lord, heavenly King, let your peace al- ways remain in our hearts, that we need not fear the terror of the night; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

  • Antiphonary of Bangor [15]

Short Verse

O LORD, I call to you; come to me quickly* hear my voice when I cry to you. Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense,* the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

Psalm 141:1–2

Eventide Reading

1 Corinthians 14:26-40, Advice about worship

26 What should be done then, my friends?[a] When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let them be silent in church and speak to themselves and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to someone else sitting nearby, let the first person be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets, 33 for God is a God not of disorder but of peace.

(As in all the churches of the saints, 34 women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.[b] 36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only ones it has reached?)

37 Anyone who claims to be a prophet, or to have spiritual powers, must acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord. 38 Anyone who does not recognize this is not to be recognized. 39 So, my friends,[c] be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues; 40 but all things should be done decently and in order.

Eventide Lesson

Building up

“The divisions among the Corinthians based on competition for the higher gifts continues to occupy Paul. Paul reminds the Corinthians that when they were pagans they were “attracted and led away” by idols (12:2). Idolatry attributes to false gods the honor and devotion that belongs to God alone. Paul advises the Corinthians that in true conversion to Jesus Christ there is unity with others who also worship the same God.” [16]

“In chapter 11, Paul alluded to the problem of the divisions between the wealthy and the poor at the common table. In chapters 12 and 14, it is not so much the social distinctions but striving for spiritual gifts that threatens the Corinthians’ unity. As remedy, Paul offers reflections on the community as the body of Christ (12:12–27), a new adaptation of an old image of social unity. A very high estimation is placed on prophecy, the action of the Spirit through members of the community. But the new context Paul provides emphasizes that love is the highest spiritual gift, one that all believers must aspire to achieve (13:13). Love remains the most important of all the spiritual gifts in the church. This is not to diminish faith and hope and the other spiritual gifts such as teaching and administration. Love is an expression of God’s own love, enabling us to act mercifully and kindly toward one another. Love in action, at the service of others, is the essential message of the gospel.” [17]

In verses 26-33 we find “a compassionate exhortation to the one who claims to possess the gift of tongues. This passage explains why the practice of tongues is not a part of the Divine Liturgy, which is to be entered into as God’s living word. In worship we know God is truly among us (v. 25) because we have His prophetic word in our ears and upon our lips. Paul is here guiding a church that is severely out of balance. God is not the author of confusion (v. 33), and the truly spiritual can control themselves (v. 32). True spirituality is manifested in preparedness, propriety and order, courtesy, and control. If the Spirit is truly moving, there is peace. This is already a tradition of the Church (v. 33).” [18]

“Paul concludes with specific directives regarding exercise of the gifts in their assemblies. Verse 26 enunciates the basic criterion in the use of any gift: it must contribute to ‘building up.’” [19]

“That Paul offers these regulations [in verses 26-40] suggests that he had not provided them earlier during his lengthy stay (Ac 18:11, 18). These regulations, then, are probably directed toward a situation of abuses. We also should keep in mind that they applied to house churches, which probably rarely could accommodate 50 or more members. Although principles of order would remain, specifics might differ for larger congregations that could not accommodate all the ministries of v. 26 within one service, and for smaller groups meeting for private prayer without possible unbelievers present.” [20]

“Synagogues in this period were Jewish community centers used most fully for prayer and corporate study of the Torah on the Sabbath. Many may have been much less formal and allowed wider participation than in a later period… Jewish people used Biblical and sometimes post-Biblical psalms. By contrast, for anyone to bring a ‘revelation’ or be inspired to speak in a ‘tongue’ they did not know was unlike virtually all other assemblies in antiquity.” [21]

“Ancient assemblies varied in their emphasis on order (those in the Dead Sea Scrolls required strict order), but order would be lost anywhere if multiple persons tried to speak at once. Paul disagrees with the Greek view that inspired speech was uncontrollable (v. 32).” [22]

“In ancient Israel, many junior prophets probably learned especially in small groups under the mentorship of more experienced prophets (cf. 1Sa 19:20; 2Ki 2:3–7, 15; 6:1–7). Most first-generation churches lacked such prophetic mentors, so fellow junior prophets in the congregations would have to help evaluate the extent to which their peers were hearing the Spirit accurately.” [23]

Paul “depicts house churches more like a school of the prophets (cf. 1Sa 19:20, though Paul requires more order) than like ancient synagogues or other meetings of ancient associations.” [24] “Paul disagrees with the Greek view that inspired speech was uncontrollable.” [25] 

“Verse 33b may belong with what precedes, so that the new paragraph would begin only with 1 Cor 14:34. 1 Cor 14:34–35 change the subject. These two verses have the theme of submission in common with 1 Cor 14:11 despite differences in vocabulary, and a concern with what is or is not becoming; but it is difficult to harmonize the injunction to silence here with 1 Cor 11 which appears to take it for granted that women do pray and prophesy aloud in the assembly (cf. 1 Cor 11:5, 13). Hence the verses are often considered an interpolation, reflecting the discipline of later churches; such an interpolation would have to have antedated our manuscripts, all of which contain them, though some transpose them to the very end of the chapter.” [26]

“Although they made an exception for inspired speech (cf. 11:5), Greeks who valued older traditions resented a woman speaking in public where men other than her husband were present. Some may have differed as to whether house churches were, as assemblies, public settings or, as homes, private settings… Nowhere does the Torah mandate women’s submission, though it depicts it (cf. 1Pe 3:5), especially related to the fall (Ge 3:16); other Jews such as Josephus sometimes made this general statement. Addressing the situation in Corinth, Paul seems to refer to a particular kind of speech rather than all speech (e.g., praying, corporate singing or prophesying; 11:5).” [27]

“Informed listeners customarily asked questions during lectures, including lectures on Scripture. Ancients deemed unlearned questions to be inappropriate, however; novices were to learn quietly and not to slow down others with inappropriate questions. Whether for this reason or the one noted [regarding] v. 34, women’s public questions could be offensive. Proportionately, women had far less education than men of the same social classes; Jewish women would hear Scripture explained in synagogues but were virtually never trained as disciples nor even taught to recite Scripture along with boys.” [28]

“Women often married at age 18 and sometimes much younger; Greek women were an average 12 years younger than their husbands. Because Greek husbands often viewed their wives as being like children, few took an interest in their wives’ learning; exceptions were noteworthy. Thus in Paul’s culture, encouragement for wives to learn, even privately, would be considered very progressive. Their learning would also counter the reason for these women interrupting lectures with unhelpful questions.” [29]

Compline Prayer

Lord Jesus, be mindful of your promise. Think of us, your servants, and when we shall depart, speak to our spirits these loving words: “Today you shall be with me in joy.” O Lord Jesus Christ, remember us, your servants who trust in you, when our tongues cannot speak, when the sight of our eyes fails, and when our ears are stopped. Let our spirits always rejoice in you and be joyful about our salvation, which you, through your death, have purchased for us. Amen.

  • Miles Coverdale [30]

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. 216). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[2] Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 42). New York, NY: Image Books.

[3] Episcopal Church. (1979). The 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. 460). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[4] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Psalms. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 1628). Downers Grove,, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Ibid. 4

[7] Church House Publishing. (2005). Psalter. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 970). 

[8] Augustine. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1739). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[9] Fulgentius of Ruspe. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1739). Nashville: Holman Bible.

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

[11] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Judges. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5500). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[12] Ibid. 11

[13] Ibid. 11

[14] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Famous Songs in the Bible [Chart]. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 7290). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[15] Stratman, P. (2001). Evening Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 20). Crossway.

[16] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). 1 Corinthians. 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. 978). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[17] Ibid. 16

[18] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Corinthians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1598). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[19] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). 1 Corinthians. 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. 4943). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[20] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). 1 Corinthians. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 10066-10067). essay, Zondervan.

[21] Ibid. 20, P. 10067

[22] Ibid. 20, P. 10067

[23] Ibid. 20, P. 10067-10068

[24] Ibid. 20, P. 10068

[25] Ibid. 20, P. 10068

[26] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). 1 Corinthians. 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. 4943). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[27] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). 1 Corinthians. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 10068). essay, Zondervan.

[28] Ibid. 27

[29] Ibid. 27, P. 10068-10069

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

[31] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Deborah [Profile]l. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 380). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

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