Feb 15 Devotional Bible Study

February 15, 2022
Epiphanytide

Today’s Readings: 

  1. Ezra 1:1-11, Blessings return to Jerusalem
    • Lesson: The identity of the People of God
  2. “Don’t shoot the wounded”
  3. 2 Corinthians 1:12-19, The day of the Lord Jesus
    • Lesson: Instead of defending himself…

Invitatory

The mercy of the Lord is everlasting: 

Come let us adore him.

Opening Prayers

(excerpts from Common Worship [1])

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

Eternal God and Father, you create and redeem us by the power of your love: guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves in love and service to one another and to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

Our Father, who art in heaven …

[1]

The Hymn

“God the Father, Heavenly Light”

(Latin, 6th C.)

Lyrics:

O Trinity of blessed light, 

O Unity of princely might, 

The fiery sun now goes his way; 

Please shed within our hearts your ray 

To you our morning song of praise, 

To you our evening prayer we raise; 

O grant us with your saints on high 

To praise you through eternity. 

To God the Father, heavenly Light, 

To Christ revealed in earthly night, 

To God the Holy Ghost we raise 

Our equal and unceasing praise. [2]


Morning Prayer

Oh my God!  I offer you all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to his infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them in the furnace of his merciful love.

Saint Therese of Lisieux [3] 

Short Verse

Test me, O LORD, and try me;*

examine my heart and mind. 

Psalm 26:2

Morning Reading

Ezra 1:1-11, Blessings return to Jerusalem

1 In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia so that he sent a herald throughout all his kingdom, and also in a written edict declared:

2 “Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Any of those among you who are of his people—may their God be with them!—are now permitted to go up to Jerusalem in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem; 4 and let all survivors, in whatever place they reside, be assisted by the people of their place with silver and gold, with goods and with animals, besides freewill offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.”

5 The heads of the families of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites—everyone whose spirit God had stirred—got ready to go up and rebuild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. 6 All their neighbors aided them with silver vessels, with gold, with goods, with animals, and with valuable gifts, besides all that was freely offered. 7 King Cyrus himself brought out the vessels of the house of the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods. 8 King Cyrus of Persia had them released into the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. 9 And this was the inventory: gold basins, thirty; silver basins, one thousand; knives,[a] twenty-nine; 10 gold bowls, thirty; other silver bowls, four hundred ten; other vessels, one thousand; 11 the total of the gold and silver vessels was five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar brought up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.

Morning Lesson

The identity of the People of God

“The Assyrian conquest, deportation, and essential destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel occurred in 722 BC. This was followed by the Babylonian conquest and exile of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, which took place in stages between 597 BC and 587 BC. While the Northern Kingdom would never recover, the Judeans were reprieved a generation later by King Cyrus of Persia, who defeated Babylon and liberated the Jews, allowing them to return to the Promised Land. Ezra, a priest, and the governor Nehemiah played important roles in re-establishing the religious life of Judah in the post-exilic period. Many of those exiled in Babylon had been influenced by the pagan practices there, and the impoverished people who were left behind in Judah experienced a dearth of leadership and were left despondent over the destruction of their Temple. The returning Jews, which included Ezra and Nehemiah, wished to rebuild Judah and restore the proper worship of God according to their traditions.”  [4]

“This book begins with an expanded version of the final passage of 2 Chronicles: King Cyrus of Persia not only allowed but encouraged the people of Israel to return to Judah and rebuild the Temple. Although a pagan, Cyrus is known to have respected religious beliefs and practices among the people he conquered. Still, these generous overtures were divinely inspired and once again demonstrated how the Lord can work even through unbelievers in order to achieve his holy will.” [5]

“At the beginning of the Babylonian Exile, Jehoiachin was king of Judah. By the time it ended, it appeared that Shesh-bazzar (Shenazzar) was heir to the throne, being made governor over Judah. Shesh-bazzar was of the house of David and possibly a son of Jehoiachin, and the one later referred to as Zerubbabel. The Davidic line continued uninterrupted through his surviving descendants. The return of the exiles bears some similarities to the Exodus from Egypt, except that King Cyrus of Persia consented to the Israelites’ departure and even gave them back the gold, silver, and Temple furnishings that had been pillaged by Nebuchadnezzar. The identity of the People of God remained intact amid the most vexing trials, analogous to the Church today.” [6]


Midday Prayer

Teach me to seek you, and as I seek you, show yourself to me; for I cannot seek you unless you show me how, and I will never find you unless you show yourself to me. Let me seek you by desiring you, and desire you by seeking you; let me find you by loving you, and love you in finding you. Amen.

  • Anselm of Canterbury [7]

Short Verse

Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;*

sing praises to his Name, for it is lovely. 

Psalm 135:3
The Wounded Angel by Hugo Simberg

Midday Reading

“Don’t shoot the wounded”

     The Love of Jesus took Him to Calvary where He forgave, and offered hope even as He suffered.

      We need to receive His mercy, but also to show it to others. Jesus is Shiloh, the Awaited One to whom all will gather. His wounds are for our cleansing, His blood the cup of our salvation.

      Hear the challenge of this Chuck Girard song:

       Don’t shoot the wounded,

       they need us more than ever.

       Sometimes we just condemn them,

       and don’t take time to hear their story.

       Don’t shoot the wounded,

       some day you might be one.

[8]

Eventide Prayer

Lighten our darkness, we beseech you, O Lord; and by your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. [9]

Short Verse

Let your ways be known upon earth,*

your saving health among all nations. 

Psalm 67:2

Eventide Reading

2 Corinthians 1:12-19, The day of the Lord Jesus

12 Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience: we have behaved in the world with frankness[a] and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God—and all the more toward you. 13 For we write you nothing other than what you can read and also understand; I hope you will understand until the end— 14 as you have already understood us in part—that on the day of the Lord Jesus we are your boast even as you are our boast.

15 Since I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a double favor;[b] 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on to Judea. 17 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to ordinary human standards,[c] ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been “Yes and No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not “Yes and No”; but in him it is always “Yes.”

Eventide Lesson

Instead of defending himself…

“Paul was accused by the dissidents/schismatics in Corinth of speaking murkily, indirectly, by allusion and not by clear, direct statement.” [10] “Paul knew the importance of honesty and sincerity in word and action, especially in a situation as in Corinth, where constructive criticism was necessary. So Paul did not come with impressive human wisdom. God wants us to be real and transparent in all our relationships. If we aren’t, we may end up lowering ourselves to second-guessing, spreading rumors, and gossiping.” [11]

“Paul had recently made a brief, unscheduled visit to Corinth that was very painful for him and the church (see 2 Cor 2:1). After that visit, he told the church when he would return.” [12] But Paul “changed his travel plans. (1) In his earlier letter, he planned to travel to Corinth, passing through Macedonia in northern Greece (iCo 16:5-7). (2) When he felt compelled to go to Corinth immediately, the “sorrowful visit,” he planned to visit Corinth twice (vv. 15, 16); but he actually came only once. (3) In the “sorrowful” letter (now lost), written after that visit, he stated his plan to travel directly from Ephesus to Corinth. Instead, he traveled up through Macedonia (2:12, 13). This was perceived as vacillation by some in Corinth.” [13] His letter to the Corinthians “caused him much anguish and them much sorrow (2 Cor 7:8-9). He had made his original plans, thinking that the church would have solved its problems. When the time came for Paul’s scheduled trip to Corinth, the crisis had not yet been fully resolved (although progress was being made in some areas; 2 Cor 7:11-16). So he wrote a letter instead (2 Cor 2:3-4; 7:8) because another visit might have only made matters worse. Thus, Paul stayed away from Corinth because he was concerned over the church’s unity, not because he was fickle.” [14]

“Paul’s change of plans caused some of his accusers to say that he couldn’t be trusted, hoping to undermine his authority. Paul said that he was not the type of person to say “yes” when he meant “no.” Paul explained that it was not indecision but concern for their feelings that forced him to change his plans. The reason for his trip—to bring joy (2 Cor 1:24)—could not be accomplished with the present crisis. Paul didn’t want to visit them only to rebuke them severely (2 Cor 1:23). Just as the Corinthians could trust God to keep his promises, they could trust Paul as God’s representative to keep his. He would still visit them, but at a better time.” [15]

Instead of defending himself, Paul reminded the Corinthians of God’s faithfulness. There was no duplicity in God. His promises would be fulfilled. There would be no wavering between “yes” and “no.” Jesus Christ was the premier example of this. “All of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!’” Jesus is the embodiment of God’s faithfulness. Because Jesus Christ is faithful, Paul (a messenger appointed by Jesus) would also be faithful in his ministry.” [16]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

Abide with us, Lord, for it is evening, and day is drawing to a close. Abide with us and with your whole Church, in the evening of the day, in the evening of life, in the evening of the world; abide with us and with all your faithful ones, O Lord, in time and in eternity. Amen. [17]


Citations:

[1] Church House Publishing. (2005). Morning Prayer on Tuesday. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 176-181)

[2] Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 68). New York, NY: Image Books.

[3] Admin–. (2018, April 30). 5 Daily Offering prayers from 5 different saints. Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. https://popesprayerusa.net/2018/05/08/5-daily-offering-prayers-5-different-saints/

[4] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Ezra. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 1150). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Ibid. 4

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

[8] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Daily Prayer. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 727-734). London: HarperCollins.

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

[10] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Corinthians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1607). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[11] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 2 Corinthians. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6856). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[12] Ibid. 11

[13] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Corinthians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1607). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[14] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 2 Corinthians. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6856). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[15] Ibid. 14

[16] Ibid. 14, P. 6857

[17] Church House Publishing. (2005). Evening Prayer on Tuesday. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 183-188). 

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