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Mar 7, 2022 Devotional Bible Study

Walk in love as Christ loves us.

March 7, 2022
Lent

Today’s Readings: 

  1. MORNING: Psalm 17, Prayer for protection from evil ones
    • Lesson: Deliver me, O Lord, by your hand.
  2. MIDDAY: 1 Chronicles 21:1-17, Satan tempts David
    • Lesson: Confession and repentance must come before expecting forgiveness.
  3. EVENING: 1 John 2:1-6, Obey God’s commandments
    • Lesson: Walk as Christ walked.

Invitatory

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy: Come let us adore him.

Collect of the Week

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [1]

The Hymn

“Lord Jesus, Sun of Righteousness”

By Anne K. LeCroy, b. 1930


Morning Prayer

Protect us this day,

O Lord, holy Father, 

almighty and eternal God,

and in your compassion and mercy,

help and guide us. 

Enlighten our hearts 

and keep our thoughts, words, and works 

pleasing in your sight,

that we may do your will 

and walk in your path of righteousness 

our whole life long. 

Amen. [2]

Short Verse

O LORD, your love endures for ever;* do not abandon the works of your hands. 

Psalm 138:9

Morning Reading

Psalm 17, Prayer for protection from evil ones

Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry;

    give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.

From you let my vindication come;

    let your eyes see the right.

If you try my heart, if you visit me by night,

    if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me;

    my mouth does not transgress.

As for what others do, by the word of your lips

    I have avoided the ways of the violent.

My steps have held fast to your paths;

    my feet have not slipped.

I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;

    incline your ear to me, hear my words.

Wondrously show your steadfast love,

    O savior of those who seek refuge

    from their adversaries at your right hand.

Guard me as the apple of the eye;

    hide me in the shadow of your wings,

from the wicked who despoil me,

    my deadly enemies who surround me.

10 

They close their hearts to pity;

    with their mouths they speak arrogantly.

11 

They track me down;[a] now they surround me;

    they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.

12 

They are like a lion eager to tear,

    like a young lion lurking in ambush.

13 

Rise up, O Lord, confront them, overthrow them!

    By your sword deliver my life from the wicked,

14 

from mortals—by your hand, O Lord—

    from mortals whose portion in life is in this world.

May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them;

    may their children have more than enough;

    may they leave something over to their little ones.

15 

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;

    when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.

Morning Lesson

Deliver me, O Lord, by your hand.

“In professing his innocence, the psalmist sought God’s protection, the defeat of his enemies, and ultimately the vision of God’s face. To seek God’s face is the mark of a just person (cf. Ps 11), as he or she knows that perfect fulfillment is only in God.” [3]

In verse 8, the psalmist pleaded, Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. “In the Temple, winged cherubs were depicted above the Ark of the Covenant, which was a sign of God’s presence.” [4] St. Augutine wrote, “O Lord, our God, under the shadow of your wings let us hope. Protect and carry us. You will carry us when we are small children even to our old age,” (Augustine’s Confessions 4.31). [5]

Verse 15 says, As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness. “From a Christian perspective we can see this as a reference to eternal life: the awakening is a metaphor for the resurrection of the body, wherein the just enjoy the Beatific Vision forever in Heaven.” [6]

Let us pray.

Generous Lord, deliver us from all envious thoughts, and when we are tempted by the desire for wealth, let us see your face; for your abundance is enough to clothe our lack; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [7]


Midday Prayer

Let us bless the Lord God living and true! Let us always render him praise, glory, honor, blessing, and all good things! Amen. Amen. So be it! So be it! 

St. Francis of Assisi [8]

Short Verse

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. 

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. 

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant us your peace.

Midday Reading

1 Chronicles 21:1-17, Satan tempts David

1 Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to count the people of Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, and bring me a report, so that I may know their number.” 3 But Joab said, “May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundredfold! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?” 4 But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel, and came back to Jerusalem. 5 Joab gave the total count of the people to David. In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and in Judah four hundred seventy thousand who drew the sword. 6 But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.

7 But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. 8 David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.” 9 The Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, 10 “Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Three things I offer you; choose one of them, so that I may do it to you.’” 11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Take your choice: 12 either three years of famine; or three months of devastation by your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you; or three days of the sword of the Lord, pestilence on the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now decide what answer I shall return to the one who sent me.” 13 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but let me not fall into human hands.”

14 So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel; and seventy thousand persons fell in Israel. 15 And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but when he was about to destroy it, the Lord took note and relented concerning the calamity; he said to the destroying angel, “Enough! Stay your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17 And David said to God, “Was it not I who gave the command to count the people? It is I who have sinned and done very wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house; but do not let your people be plagued!”

Midday Lesson

Confession and repentance must come before expecting forgiveness.

“David fell to Satan’s temptation. God provided a way out in Joab’s counsel, but David’s curiosity was spurred on by arrogance. His faith was in his own strength rather than in God’s. If we feel self-sufficient and put confidence in ourselves apart from God, we soon fall to Satan’s schemes. Self-sufficiency pulls us away from God. When tempted, we should examine our inner desires to understand why the external temptation is so appealing. (See 1 Cor 10:13 for more about escaping temptation.)” [9]

AS we see in verse 8, “[w]hen David realized his sin, he took full responsibility, admitted he was wrong, and asked God to forgive him. Many people want to add God and the benefits of Christianity to their lives without acknowledging their personal sin and guilt. But confession and repentance must come before receiving forgiveness. Like David, we must take full responsibility for our actions and confess them to God before we can expect him to forgive us and continue his work in us.” [10]

Re-read verses 13-14. “Sin has a domino effect; once a sin is committed, a series of consequences follows. God will forgive our sin if we ask him, but the consequences of that sin have already been set in motion. David pleaded for mercy, and God responded by stopping the angel before his mission of death was complete. The consequences of David’s sin, however, had already caused severe damage. God will always forgive our sins and will often intervene to make their bitter consequences less severe, but the scars will remain. Thinking through the possible consequences before we act can stop us and thus save us much sorrow and suffering.” [11]

“Why did 70,000 innocent people die for David’s sin [v. 14]? Our society places great emphasis upon the individual. But in ancient times, the family leaders, tribal leaders, and kings represented the people they led, and all expected to share in their successes as well as in their failures and punishments.” [12] “Under the Law, death is the just sentence for all mankind (Rom 6:23); however, seventy thousand, a number suggesting completion, indicates hope that the Law will be overruled and death will end. Ambrose of Milan writes of this Hope, which is Christ Himself, “He who when He could take vengeance, chose instead to be sacrificed.” [13] “David deserved punishment for his sin, but his death could have resulted in political chaos and invasion by enemy armies, leaving hundreds of thousands dead. Instead, God graciously spared David’s life. He also put a stop to the plague so that most of the people of Jerusalem were spared.” [14]

“God made us to work together interdependently. Whether we think it is fair or not, the group usually suffers because of the sins of its leaders. Similarly, our actions always affect other people whether we want them to or not. We cannot fully know the mind of God in this severe judgment. We don’t know where the prophets, the tribal leaders, and the other advisers were during this incident and whether or not they chose to go along with the king. We do know that putting confidence in military might alone is idolatry. To allow anything to take God’s place is sinful, and it may cause disastrous consequences.” [15]


Eventide Prayer

May God, the Lord, bless us with heavenly benediction, and make us pure and holy in his sight. May the riches of his glory abound in us. May He instruct us with the word of truth, inform us with the Gospel of salvation, and enrich us with his love, Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Gelasian Sacramentary [16]

Short Verse

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,* for his mercy endures for ever. Give thanks to the God of gods,* for his mercy endures for ever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords,* for his mercy endures for ever. 

Psalm 136:1-3

Eventide Reading

1 John 2:1-6, Obey God’s commandments

1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

3 Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. 4 Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; 5 but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6 whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked.

Eventide Lesson

Walk as Christ walked.

Today’s reading from 1 John beings with the words, My little children (v. 1). These words are “a reference given by the one who proclaimed the Word of life to them, by which they were brought to the faith and given new birth. John later refers to them as ‘children of God’ because all Christians are ‘born of God’ (3:9).” [17]

“Christians are both sinners and saints at the same time.” [18] In verse 1, “John is writing to enlighten, strengthen, and build up the saints so they may say no to sin… Jesus is the mediator between God and man. As such, Jesus is our defender, our intercessor, who constantly presents evidence in God’s court of justice in favor of our pardon.” [19] “This is the worship that He approves above all other worship, that He be called upon in all afflictions.” [20] Martin Luther wrote, “He is righteous and unstained. He is without sin. Whatever righteousness I have, this my Comforter has, He who cries out for me to the Father: ‘Spare him, and he has been spared! Forgive him! Help him!’ The righteousness of Jesus Christ is standing on our side. For the righteousness of God in Him is ours.” [21] Regarding verse 1, Luther wrote, “This text should be written with golden letters and should be painted in the heart. Therefore you should get understanding and say: ‘Christ, I know Thee alone as the Advocate, the Comforter, and the Mediator; and I do not doubt that Thou art such a Person for me but cling firmly to this with my heart and believe.’” [22]

“Jesus satisfied God’s demands for perfect obedience and perfect payment for sins. Through His life and death on the cross, Jesus became the means of forgiveness, the way of reconciling man to God… Jesus made complete satisfaction for the sins of all mankind from the beginning of the world to the Last Day (objective justification). Jesus came that ‘He might taste death for everyone’ (Heb 2:9)—even for those who reject Him, ‘denying the Master who bought them’ (2Pt 2:1). These verses repudiate the false teaching of a ‘limited atonement’ (that Christ did not atone for all mankind, but only for the elect).” [23] “He does not sit at the right hand of the Father to terrify us, but He is the expiation. . . . Christ, who does not spurn a contrite and humble heart, wants to be the Lord and Author of life, not of sin,” (Martin Luther). [24]

“Only those who know Jesus through faith keep His Commandments [v. 4]. His Commandments are not burdensome because Christ’s teaching (Jn 13:34) is based on the Gospel, not on condemnation. The Law never provided the power to fulfill the commands, but Christ gives His Commandments in view of God’s mercy. He builds on forgiveness, which motivates us.” [25]

Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection (vv. 4-5). “When one’s living does not flow from love, it disproves all claims of knowing Jesus, who is God’s very expression of love and truth. [26] “The love of God reaches its goal in us only when we love others as Christ has loved us. This means that we forgive them when they sin against us and pray for them when they sin, so they may be forgiven.” [27]

“We are brought into Christ by God’s work of faith in us when we are ‘born of God’ by water and the Word of Christ. We remain in Christ also by God’s grace as we trust His Word daily… Walking and living in Christ’s way means always speaking and living the truth in love and forgiving everyone.” [28]

“Only true children who know Jesus as their Savior can truly walk as Jesus walked and love one another as Jesus has loved them. If anyone claims to know Jesus and does not love as Jesus loves, he is a liar. When we are guilty of not loving as Jesus loved us, we have One who defends us before God’s throne and petitions our pardon for the sake of His own blood— Jesus the Righteous One . Through His endless love and forgiveness, we have salvation and have come to know Him. In Him, we love our fellow Christians . • Father, strengthen me in my own salvation, that I might be empowered to keep Your commands and love everyone as Christ has loved me. Amen.” [29]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

*  O Christ, Son of the living God, 

may Your holy angels guard our sleep, 

may they watch over us as we rest 

and hover around our beds. *  

Let them reveal to us in our dreams 

visions of Your glorious truth, 

O High Prince of the universe, 

O High Priest of the mysteries. 

Amen. [30]


Citations:

[1] Episcopal Church. (1979). Collects: Seasons of the Year. 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. 218). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[2] Stratman, P. (2001). Morning Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 13). Rossway.

[3] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Psalms. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 1569). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[4] Ibid. 3

[5] Psalms. (2019). In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1548). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[6] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Psalms. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 1569). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[7] Church House Publishing. (2005). Psalter. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 787). 

[8] Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 41). New York, NY: Image Books.

[9] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 1 Chronicles. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5640). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[10] Ibid. 9

[11] Ibid. p, P. 5641

[12] Ibid. p, P. 5641

[13] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 Chronicles. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 515). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[14] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 1 Chronicles. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5641). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[15] Ibid. 14

[16] Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 56). New York, NY: Image Books

[17] A., E. E. (2016). 1 John. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 8653). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[18] Ibid. 17

[19] Ibid. 17

[20] Ibid. 17

[21] Ibid. 17

[22] Ibid. 17, P. 8653-8654

[23] Ibid. 17, P. 8654

[24] Ibid. 17, P. 8654

[25] Ibid. 17, P. 8654

[26] Ibid. 17, P. 8654

[27] Ibid. 17, P. 8654

[28] Ibid. 17, P. 8654

[29] Ibid. 17, P. 8654

[30] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Daily Prayer: Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92076). London: HarperCollins.

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