Feb 9 Devotional Bible Study

February 9, 2022
Epiphanytide

Today’s Readings: 

  1. Isaiah 8:1-15, Resisting the call
    • Lesson: God over country
  2. Luke 5:27-32, The call of Levi
    • Lesson: Christ came also for sinners
  3. Huldah and Prophecy in Antiquity

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 God,

     Who drove back the darkness

     and assigned light for the day,

          pour out on Your servants

          the coming of the true Light;

     You reign forever. Amen. [1]

The Hymn

“Creator Spirit, by whose aid”

By John Dryden

Lyrics:
  1. Creator Spirit, by whose aid 

The world’s foundations first were laid, 

Come, visit every humble mind; 

Come, pour your joys on human-kind; 

From sin and sorrow set us free, 

And make your temples fit for thee. 

  1. O Source of uncreated light, 

The Father’s promised Paraclete, 

Thrice holy Fount, Thrice holy Fire, 

Our hearts and heavenly love inspire; 

Come and your sacred unction bring 

To sanctify us while we sing. 

  1. Plenteous of grace, come from on high, 

Rich in your seven-fold energy; 

Make us eternal truth receive, 

And practice all that we believe; 

Give us yourself, that we may see 

The Father and the Son by thee. [2]


Morning Prayer

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, desires not the death of sinners, but that they may turn from their wickedness and live. He has empowered and commanded his ministers to pronounce to his people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of their sins. He pardons and absolves all who truly repent and genuinely believe his holy Gospel. For this reason, we beseech him to grant us true repentance and his Holy Spirit, that our present deeds may please him, the rest of our lives may be pure and holy, and that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. [3]

Short Verse

The LORD lives! Blessed is my Rock!* Exalted is the God of my salvation! Therefore will I extol you among the nations, O LORD,* and sing praises to your Name.

Psalm 18:46f

Morning Reading

Isaiah 8:1-15, Resisting the call

8 Then the Lord said to me, Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters, “Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz,”[a] 2 and have it attested[b] for me by reliable witnesses, the priest Uriah and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah. 3 And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said to me, Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz; 4 for before the child knows how to call “My father” or “My mother,” the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away by the king of Assyria.

5 The Lord spoke to me again: 6 Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and melt in fear before[c] Rezin and the son of Remaliah; 7 therefore, the Lord is bringing up against it the mighty flood waters of the River, the king of Assyria and all his glory; it will rise above all its channels and overflow all its banks; 8 it will sweep on into Judah as a flood, and, pouring over, it will reach up to the neck; and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.

Band together, you peoples, and be dismayed;

    listen, all you far countries;

gird yourselves and be dismayed;

    gird yourselves and be dismayed!

10 

Take counsel together, but it shall be brought to naught;

    speak a word, but it will not stand,

    for God is with us.[d]

11 For the Lord spoke thus to me while his hand was strong upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what it fears, or be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 He will become a sanctuary, a stone one strikes against; for both houses of Israel he will become a rock one stumbles over—a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.

Morning Lesson

God over country

Verses 1-4 “predict the fall of Israel and Aram. Aram fell to Assyria in 732 B.C., and Israel followed in 722 B.C. Isaiah put his message on a large scroll in a public place. God was warning all his people. The name of the child means ‘swift to plunder and quick to spoil.’” [4]

“Because the people of Judah rejected God’s kindness, choosing instead to seek help from other nations, God would punish them. We see two distinct attributes of God—his love and his wrath. To ignore his love and guidance results in sin and invites his wrath. We must recognize the consequences of our choices. God wants to protect us from bad choices, but he still gives us the freedom to make them.” [5]

“The heart of the Assyrian Empire was located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. This flood is a poetic way of describing the overwhelming force of the Assyrian army.” [6]

To “be crushed” (v. 9) “means to lose courage by the pressure of sudden fear.” [7]

Isaiah, along with most of the prophets, was viewed as a traitor because he did not support Judah’s national policies. He called the people to commit themselves first to God and then to the king. He even predicted the overthrow of the government.” [8]

“For the people of Judah, fear of invasion was a constant threat. They had powerful enemies on their doorstep. Yet Isaiah said, “The LORD of Heaven’s Armies . . . is the one you should fear . . . He will keep you safe.” Fear is a powerful enemy of our faith and a strong deterrent to the believer’s peace of mind. Fear of war, terrorist attacks, disease, and pollution can rob us of our trust in God. God is our shelter and hiding place (Isa 4:6). Ask him to drive inappropriate fear from your heart and to help you fear only him.” [9]


Midday Prayer

O eternal Lord God, you hold all souls in life: Shed forth upon your whole Church in Paradise and on earth the bright beams of your light and heavenly comfort; and grant that we, following the good example of those who have loved and served you here and are now at rest, may enter with them into the fullness of your unending joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [10]

Short Verse

My tongue will proclaim your righteousness all day long.

Psalm 71:24

Midday Reading

Luke 5:27-32, The call of Levi

27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And he got up, left everything, and followed him.

29 Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table[a] with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; 32 I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Midday Lesson

Christ came also for sinners

“Levi (Matthew) answers Christ’s call, “Follow Me” and leaves his occupation to become a disciple. From the beginning of His ministry Christ has been a friend of tax collectors and sinners, which is one of the Pharisees’ complaints against Him (v. 30). Levi may also have been one of the tax collectors prepared for Christ by John the Baptist (3:12). 5:29 This feast expresses Matthew’s joy and gratitude. The guest register is a stirring demonstration of the fruit of Jesus’ love and forgiveness.” [11]

“The call of Levi, who was considered a great sinner because he was a tax collector, emphasized that Christ came not only for the just but also for sinners. Especially for the Pharisees, who shunned sinners, Christ’s concern for sinners caused great consternation.” [12]


Eventide Prayer

O God,

eternal Light,

Splendor of the stars,

Clearness of the night,

boundless Enlightener of the darkness,

grant us to pass this night in security and peace,

and if we have this day collected any stain of sin,

in pity and mercy, forgive.

Hear our prayers

and grant our request;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

  • Mozarabic Rite [13]

Short Verse

Let Israel rejoice in his Maker;* let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his Name in the dance;* let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD takes pleasure in his people* and adorns the poor with victory. Let the faithful rejoice in triumph;* let them be joyful on their beds. 

Psalm 149:2–5

Eventide Reading

Huldah and Prophecy in Antiquity

“Peoples in antiquity sought to hear from their gods in various ways. They drew lots, and non-Israelites divined omens, e.g., in the flight of birds, the condition of sacrificial intestines and the like. Hearing from the gods was important when preparing for battles or for other essential matters.” [14]

“The most important and direct form of guidance for Israelites, however, was prophecy. Most peoples in antiquity, including ancient Israelites, recognized prophecy as speech directly inspired by a deity or spirit. Greeks often associated inspired speech with the frenzy of possession, but could also associate it with music or poetry. Many believed that it could not be controlled, a view that Paul does not share (1Co 14:32). Although most prophecy involved direct inspiration, it could be dictated, written down and delivered on a later occasion (Jer 36:6, 32). Some used prophecy as merely a literary device, but most regarded prophecy as directly inspired even if it was afterward edited into a more suitable format, as at Delphi or at times in the prophetic books of Scripture.” [15]

The prophetess Huldah “played a significant part in the history of Israel, although she appeared only once on the stage of the nation’s history, during a time of religious defection.” [16]

“In Jerusalem, King Josiah of Judah initiated renewed interest in the Book of the Law, and Huldah participated in the subsequent spiritual revival. She was the wife of Shallum, who was “keeper of the wardrobe” (possibly either royal robes and attire or priestly garments and vestments). They lived in the Second Quarter, a newer section of Jerusalem which developed as a westward or northern expansion of the old city (perhaps somewhat like a modern-day suburb).” [17]

“Huldah, not Jeremiah or Zephaniah (both of whom were active as prophets during this time), was consulted when the king instructed the priests to “inquire of the LORD” as to the meaning of the Book of the Law, a scroll that had been found during the work of restoration and cleaning in the temple. It was significant that with the number of prophets living in Jerusalem at that time, the priest Hilkiah and the rest of the king’s advisors turned to a woman for a word from God. This nullifies the reasoning some use to suggest that God only uses women for ministry when no men are available. Obviously, whether in a private audience or in the presence of the congregation, God used Huldah to bear testimony and deliver a message from Him to the high priest and to the king (22:14–20).” [18]

“The tradition of female prophets is mentioned only sporadically in the Old Testament, but Huldah is not the only one highlighted. She is in good company with Miriam and Deborah (Ex. 15:20; Judg. 4:4); however, another female, Noadiah (Neh. 6:14), was a false prophet who worked against the people of God.” [19]

“The regard for Huldah’s own integrity and authority as a woman of God made her validation of the recently discovered Book of the Law all that was required for immediate action on the part of the king. Her message was not her own, but from the Lord. The fact that the phrase, “Thus says the LORD,” is repeated four times in her short prophecy emphasizes that Huldah understood her responsibility and opportunity to be a channel through whom God delivered His word (22:15–17, 19).” [20]

“All of the reforms set forth by King Josiah were based on the word of God as given to a woman. Huldah was apparently so well known as a woman of God and so highly trusted with regard to her understanding of God’s Law that for a time her nation’s whole religious consciousness and practice were re-ignited in faithfulness to God. Huldah, a deeply devout woman, made her God-given spiritual gifts available to God, and she was obedient and faithful to deliver the Word from God to her people.” [21]

“By the first century many Jews, perhaps especially among the elite, doubted that prophets flourished in their day the way that they had in ancient Israel. Such skepticism characterized Sadducees, probably most Pharisees (given the views of later rabbis), and more selectively Josephus (who allowed for prophetic speech but apparently not prophets). Apocalyptic writers composed prophetic literary works in the names of earlier figures; scholars debate whether most of them believed themselves inspired. By contrast, some Judeans and Samaritans did follow prophetic figures in the wilderness, often with lethal consequences. Essenes believed that prophecy and God’s Spirit remained active among them.” [22]

“Most prophetic and Spirit-oriented of all, early Christians believed that they lived in a period of the renewal of prophecy (the Christian era, Ac 2:17–18) and prophets (e.g., Ac 21:9–11; 1Co 12:28–29; 14:29, 32; Rev 22:9). Just as in the OT, such prophecy needed to be evaluated. Again as in the OT, even when prophecies were true, no one expected very many of them to become canonical, i.e., a standard for the continued guidance of God’s people analogous to the law. Although some Scripture included prophecy and a small proportion of prophecies were recorded in Scripture, they were different forms of revelation and never meant to be coextensive. Prophecies seem to have been widespread in the early churches (1Co 14:26–31, 39; 1Th 5:20).” [23]

Compline Prayer

From all ill dreams defend our eyes, From nightly fears and fantasies; Tread under foot our ghostly foe, That no pollution we may know. * O Father, that we ask be done, Through Jesus Christ, thine only Son; Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee, Doth live and reign eternally. Amen. [24]


Citations:

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

[2] Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 51). New York, NY: Image Books.

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

[4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Isaiah. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5875). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Ibid. 4

[7] Ibid. 4

[8] Ibid. 4

[9] Ibid. 4, P. 5876

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

[11] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Luke. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1404). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[12] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Luke. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3112). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

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

[14] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). Prophecy in Antiquity [Article]. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 10062). essay, Zondervan.

[15] Ibid. 14

[16] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Female Prophets [Article]. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 2385). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

[17] Ibid. 16

[18] Ibid. 16

[19] Ibid. 16, P. 2386

[20] Ibid. 16, P. 2386

[21] Ibid. 16, P. 2386

[22] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). Prophecy in Antiquity [Article]. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 10063). essay, Zondervan.

[23] Ibid. 22, P. 10063-10064

[24] Bellarmine, G. (2021). May 7: Compline. In The Roman Breviary in English, in Order, Every Day for October, November, and December 2021 (Kindle ed., p. 1849). Christian Books Today.

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