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Feb 14 Devotional Bible Study

February 14, 2022
Epiphanytide

Today’s Readings: 

  1. Psalm 120, Woe to me
    • Lesson: God of consolation, look on us, pilgrims in a strange land…
  2. 2 Kings 24:18—25:21, Woes come upon Jerusalem
    • Lesson: Zedekiah’s foolish rebellion
  3. 1 Corinthians 15:20-34, The end time
    • Lesson: Logic, rhetoric, and even sarcasm

Invitatory

The mercy of the Lord is everlasting: 

Come let us adore him.

Opening Prayers

(excerpted from Common Worship [1])

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us; let us pray with one heart and mind.

Lord our God, as with all creation we offer you the life of this new day, give us grace to love and serve you to the praise of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us.

Our Father, who art in heaven …

Collect of the Week

O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [2]

Hymn

“Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heaven, to earth come down”

By Charles Wesley (1747)

Representative Text: [3]

1 Love divine, all loves excelling,

joy of heav’n, to earth come down,

fix in us thy humble dwelling,

all thy faithful mercies crown.

Jesus, thou art all compassion,

pure, unbounded love thou art.

Visit us with thy salvation;

enter ev’ry trembling heart.

2 Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit

into ev’ry troubled breast.

Let us all in thee inherit,

let us find the promised rest.

Take away the love of sinning;

Alpha and Omega be.

End of faith, as its beginning,

set our hearts at liberty.

3 Come, Almighty, to deliver,

let us all thy life receive.

Suddenly return, and never,

nevermore they temples leave.

Thee we would be always blessing,

serve thee as thy hosts above,

pray, and praise thee without ceasing,

glory in thy perfect love.

4 Finish, then, thy new creation;

true and spotless let us be.

Let us see thy great salvation

perfectly restored in thee.

Changed from glory into glory,

till in heav’n we take our place,

till we cast our crowns before thee,

lost in wonder, love and praise. [3]


Morning Prayer

O God:

Give me strength to live another day;

Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;

Let me not lose faith in other people;

Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;

Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;

Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;

Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;

Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;

Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;

and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;

in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. [4]

Short Verse

Hallelujah! Give praise, you servants of the LORD;* praise the Name of the LORD. 

Psalm 113:1

Morning Reading

Psalm 120, Woe to me

In my distress I cry to the Lord,

    that he may answer me:

“Deliver me, O Lord,

    from lying lips,

    from a deceitful tongue.”

What shall be given to you?

    And what more shall be done to you,

    you deceitful tongue?

A warrior’s sharp arrows,

    with glowing coals of the broom tree!

Woe is me, that I am an alien in Meshech,

    that I must live among the tents of Kedar.

Too long have I had my dwelling

    among those who hate peace.

I am for peace;

    but when I speak,

    they are for war.

Morning Lesson

“The psalmist was being persecuted by deceitful persons. His exile from his home in Jerusalem serves as a metaphor for all the faithful, who are on a spiritual journey toward the destination of their definitive home in Heaven. ‘This is the cry of the whole Church and of all the saints, who live for the good things of their eternal homeland in the midst of their long exile, because these men of the spirit live side by side with worldly men, and those who seek only the goods of this earth are annoyed by those who strive after heavenly things’ (Prosper of Aquitane, Expositio Psalmorum, 119, 5).” [5]

“[I]t was none other than God whom David . . . implored for his deliverance. . . . To him also giving thanks he spoke the words of the song in the seventeenth psalm [LXX], in the day in which the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul, saying, “I will love you, O Lord, my strength; the Lord is my strong rock and my defense and deliverer” [Ps 18:1-2]. (St. Athanasius, Discourses Against the Arians 3.25.13). [6]

Let us pray.

God of consolation, look on us, pilgrims in a strange land; preserve us from slander and deceit, show us the truth and give to our souls the peace of Christ. Amen. [7]


Midday Prayer

Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me, and all the benefits thou hast given me. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother: Grant that I may see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day. Amen. 

  • Richard of Chichester [8]

Short Verse

Happy are those who act with justice* and always do right! 

Psalm 106:3

Midday Reading

2 Kings 24:18—25:21, Woes come upon Jerusalem

18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began to reign; he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 19 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 20 Indeed, Jerusalem and Judah so angered the Lord that he expelled them from his presence.

Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 25 1 And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem, and laid siege to it; they built siegeworks against it all around. 2 So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. 3 On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine became so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. 4 Then a breach was made in the city wall;[a] the king with all the soldiers fled[b] by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, by the king’s garden, though the Chaldeans were all around the city. They went in the direction of the Arabah. 5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho; all his army was scattered, deserting him. 6 Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, who passed sentence on him. 7 They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, then put out the eyes of Zedekiah; they bound him in fetters and took him to Babylon.

8 In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month—which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan, the captain of the bodyguard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9 He burned the house of the Lord, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. 10 All the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon—all the rest of the population. 12 But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest people of the land to be vinedressers and tillers of the soil.

13 The bronze pillars that were in the house of the Lord, as well as the stands and the bronze sea that were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried the bronze to Babylon. 14 They took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the dishes for incense, and all the bronze vessels used in the temple service, 15 as well as the firepans and the basins. What was made of gold the captain of the guard took away for the gold, and what was made of silver, for the silver. 16 As for the two pillars, the one sea, and the stands, which Solomon had made for the house of the Lord, the bronze of all these vessels was beyond weighing. 17 The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and on it was a bronze capital; the height of the capital was three cubits; latticework and pomegranates, all of bronze, were on the capital all around. The second pillar had the same, with the latticework.

18 The captain of the guard took the chief priest Seraiah, the second priest Zephaniah, and the three guardians of the threshold; 19 from the city he took an officer who had been in command of the soldiers, and five men of the king’s council who were found in the city; the secretary who was the commander of the army who mustered the people of the land; and sixty men of the people of the land who were found in the city. 20 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 The king of Babylon struck them down and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah went into exile out of its land.

Midday Lesson

In chapter 24, “Babylon emerged as a powerful empire and took much of the land held by Egypt. Several waves of Babylonian invaders descended upon Jerusalem and put many people to death. Then, under Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem, where the young King Jehoiachin surrendered three months into his reign. All but the poorest and simplest citizens were carried away to Babylon along with all the riches and spoils of war. Nebuchadnezzar installed Zedekiah, a son of Josiah and another idol-worshiper, as a puppet King of Judah.? [9]

Then, in chapter 25, “Zedekiah foolishly rebelled against Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar laid siege once again to Jerusalem, causing a severe famine in the city. The Babylonians finally entered the city as Zedekiah and his men fled in the other direction, only to be caught by the Chaldean army. The Babylonians and Chaldeans razed the entire city, including the Temple; they took away more of its valuables and left only a few families to work the fields. The destruction of the Temple, which was symbolic of God’s presence among his people, was a powerful sign of God’s punishment because of Israel’s infidelity to the covenant.” [10]

[11]

Eventide Prayer

Lord God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ triumphed over the powers of death and prepared for us our place in the new Jerusalem: Grant that we, who have this day given thanks for his resurrection, may praise you in that City of which he is the light, and where he lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. [12]

Short Verse

May God give us his blessing,* and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe of him. 

Psalm 67:7

Eventide Reading

1 Corinthians 15:20-34, The end time

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.[a] 21 For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22 for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end,[b] when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God[c] has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise, what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

30 And why are we putting ourselves in danger every hour? 31 I die every day! That is as certain, brothers and sisters,[d] as my boasting of you—a boast that I make in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If with merely human hopes I fought with wild animals at Ephesus, what would I have gained by it? If the dead are not raised,

“Let us eat and drink,

    for tomorrow we die.”

33 Do not be deceived:

“Bad company ruins good morals.”

34 Come to a sober and right mind, and sin no more; for some people have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

Eventide Lesson

“As the firstfruits [v. 20] in the OT were consecrated to God as the representative and promise of later fruits (Ex 23:16), so the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the first offering of the resurrection of all who are His (v. 23).” [13]

“All people share the same human nature, but Christians have two fathers: first Adam, who became the father of mortality and earthly life, and now Christ, the father of immortality and spiritual life [v. 22].” [14]

“The end is the consummation of the Kingdom when Christ’s lordship over all will be fulfilled and He will offer creation up to God the Father (see Rom 8:19-23, 32-39). Although the Son (v. 28) shares the same divine nature and dignity as the Father, He is subject to the Father because only the Father is the source of divinity. God being all in all refers to the common lordship of the Trinity over all things, not to pantheism.” [15]

“The meaning of baptized for the dead [v. 29] is much disputed. Many understand this as vicarious baptism of baptized Christians for deceased catechumens. St. John Chrysostom considered it a derisive comment about the practices of the Marcionite heretics. Epiphanius says it refers to a practice of the followers of Cerinthus, another gnostic teacher.” [16] “Dozens of interpretations have been offered. Paul points out the irony that some Corinthians did not believe in the resurrection, yet held an opinion or practice based on the resurrection. He only alludes to the opinion or practice, which could have been (1) conducting Baptisms in graveyards to express hope in the resurrection of those who die in Christ (similar to Easter sunrise services held in church graveyards); (2) requests for Baptisms because of the inspiring examples of those who died; or (3) Baptisms that would somehow benefit those who had already died (though Paul never mentions a specific benefit). Gnostic groups developed practices based on this last interpretation (consider Mormon practices, which also misapply this text). Take note—Paul’s ironic questions are no basis for novel practices. Instead, Christians should base their baptismal practices on Christ’s clear command in Mt 28: 19–20 and rejoice in the hope of the resurrection expressed through Baptism (Rm 6: 3–5).” [17]

“Fighting with beasts at Ephesus [v. 32] may refer to persecutions there (16:8, 9; Acts 19:21-31).” [18]

“To his Greek detractors, Paul quotes two Greek opinions : (1) a gross hedonist view that the good in life is only in pleasure, with no hope of an afterlife; (2) a saying by the Greek comic poet Menander that refutes gross hedonism. Even the Greek tradition gave helpful examples and warnings, which the Corinthians ignored.” [19]

“The Corinthians take pride in their wisdom, but Paul tears apart their arguments with basic logic and rhetoric. Logic, rhetoric, and even sarcasm have their uses in preaching and teaching the Gospel. Yet all our powers and wisdom must remain subject to the Lord, who is “all in all.” The Lord refuted sin , death, Satan, and all our foes— not with reason but with acts: His death and resurrection for our redemption. • Victorious Savior, daily put to death my foolish pride and wisdom, and teach me the way of humility and self-sacrifice. In the daily repentance and renewal of Baptism, may I partake of Your sufferings so that I may partake of Your resurrection. Amen.” [20]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

Kindle in our hearts, O God, the flame of love which never ceases, that it may burn in us, giving light to others. May we shine for ever in your temple, set on fire with your eternal light, even your Son Jesus Christ, our Saviour and our Redeemer. Amen. [21]


Citations:

[1] Church House Publishing. (2005). Morning Prayer on Monday. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 162-167)

[2] 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.

[3] Author: Charles WesleyCharles Wesley, M. A. was the great hymn-writer of the W. family. (n.d.). Love divine, all loves excelling. Hymnary.org. Retrieved February 1, 2022, from https://hymnary.org/text/love_divine_all_love_excelling_joy_of_he 

[4] Prayers and Thanksgivings. Daily Prayer: a resource of Forward Movement. (2021). https://prayer.forwardmovement.org/prayers_and_thanksgivings.php

[5] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Psalms. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 1632). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[6] Athanasius. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1759). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[7] Church House Publishing. (2005). Psalter. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 765). 

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

[9] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 2 Kings. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 981). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[10] Ibid. 9

[11] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Kings to Date and Their Enemies [Chart]. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 7404). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[12] http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/08-Daily-Evening-Prayer-11.21.2019.docx

[13] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Corinthians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1600). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[14] Ibid. 13

[15] Ibid. 13

[16] Ibid. 13

[17] A., E. E. (2016). 1 Corinthians. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7889-7890). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[18] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Corinthians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1600). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[19] A., E. E. (2016). 1 Corinthians. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7890). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[20] Ibid. 19

[21] Church House Publishing. (2005). Evening Prayer on Monday. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 169-174).

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