Mar 8, 2022 Devotional Bible Study

Cover image: Artist unknown (source: Pinterest)

March 8, 2022
Lent

Today’s Readings: 

  1. MORNING: Psalm 17, Prayer for protection from evil ones
    • Meditation: God’s ability to turn injustice into good
  2. MIDDAY: Zechariah 3:1-10, Satan tempts Joshua
    • Lesson: God removes our filthy clothes.
  3. EVENING: 2 Peter 2:1-21, Believers who fall into sin
    • Lesson: Bold and willful deception

Invitatory

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

Opening Prayer

You are our hope and salvation.

You are our life and strength.

You are our helper in troubles.

You are our defender throughout life in all things, 

God of Israel; 

who lives and reigns,

one God, now and forever. 

Amen. [1]

The Hymn

“Now quit your care and anxious fear and worry”

By Percy Dearmer, 1867-1936


Morning Prayer

O Lord, 

let everyone hear you,

let the rich and the poore bow down their hearts to you. 

May our souls seek you alone. 

May we praise you, with all your saints in eternal joy, 

and find you our exceedingly great reward.

Amen. [2]

Short Verse

He has not dealt with us according to our sins,* nor rewarded us according to our wickedness. 

Psalm 103:10

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 Meditation

God’s ability to turn injustice into good

“David beg[ged] for protection from a bloodthirsty enemy. A tragic consequence of the world’s fall into sin is that we often suffer through no particular fault of our own. Job is the classic case of one who suffers innocently. God’s ability to turn injustice into good is best illustrated by Jesus’ innocent death on the cross. That horrible miscarriage of justice worked life and salvation for all people. • Lord, keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. He saved us by enduring great injustice and now sits at Your right hand. Amen.” [3]


Midday Prayer

God of mercy, this midday moment of rest is your welcome gift. Bless the work we have begun, make good its defects, and let us finish it in a way that pleases you. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Liturgy Of The Hours, Vol. III [4]

Short Verse

I put my trust in your mercy;* my heart is joyful because of your saving help. 

Psalm 13:5

Midday Reading

Zechariah 3:1-10, Satan tempts Joshua

1 Then he showed me the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan[a] standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan,[b] “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan![c] The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this man a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And to him he said, “See, I have taken your guilt away from you, and I will clothe you with festal apparel.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with the apparel; and the angel of the Lord was standing by.

6 Then the angel of the Lord assured Joshua, saying 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. 8 Now listen, Joshua, high priest, you and your colleagues who sit before you! For they are an omen of things to come: I am going to bring my servant the Branch. 9 For on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven facets, I will engrave its inscription, says the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day. 10 On that day, says the Lord of hosts, you shall invite each other to come under your vine and fig tree.”

Midday Lesson

God removes our filthy clothes.

“Joshua was Israel’s high priest when the remnant returned to Jerusalem and began rebuilding the walls (Hag 1:1, 12; 2:4).” [5]

“Satan accused Joshua, who here represents the nation of Israel. The accusations were accurate—Jeshua stood in “filthy” clothes (sins). Yet God revealed his mercy, stating that he chose to save his people in spite of their sin. Satan is always accusing people of their sins before God (Job 1:6). But he greatly misunderstands the breadth of God’s mercy and forgiveness toward those who believe in him. Satan the Accuser will ultimately be destroyed (Rev 12:10), while everyone who is a believer will be saved (John 3:16). To be prepared, we can ask God to remove our clothing of sin and dress us with his goodness.” [6]

“God punished Judah through the fire of great trials, but he rescued the nation before it was completely destroyed, like ‘a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.’” [7]

“Zechariah’s vision graphically portrays how we receive God’s mercy. We do nothing ourselves. God removes our filthy clothes (sins), then provides us with fine, new clothes (the righteousness and holiness of God; 2 Cor 5:21; Eph 4:24; Rev 19:8). All we need to do is repent and ask God to forgive us. When Satan tries to make you feel dirty and unworthy, remember that the clean clothes of Christ’s righteousness make you worthy to draw near to God.” [8]

“The Greek name for Jeshua is Jesus, meaning ‘the LORD saves.’ He is seen here as a symbol of Jesus, the Messiah.” [9]

“There was no priesthood during the Exile, so it had to be reinstated upon the return to the land. In this vision, Jeshua is installed as high priest. One of the high priest’s duties was to offer a sacrifice on the Day of Atonement to make amends for all the sins of the people. The priest was the mediator between God and the nation. Thus, he represented the coming Messiah (Isa 11:1), who would change the entire order of God’s dealing with people’s sin (Heb 10:8-14 explains this in detail). Jesus, the Messiah, was the High Priest who offered, once for all, the sacrifice of himself to take away our sins. In the new order, every Christian is a priest, offering a holy, cleansed life to God (1 Pet 2:9; Rev 5:10).” [10]

“The ‘Branch’ refers to the Messiah. The meaning of the stone with seven facets is unclear. It could mean (1) the Branch himself as the foundation stone of the Temple, (2) the rock struck by Moses that produced water for the Israelites (Num 20:7-11), or (3) the renewed spiritual priesthood of the church (1 Pet 2:5). These verses were fulfilled hundreds of years later by Jesus Christ. God said, “I will remove the sins of this land in a single day,” and this was fulfilled in Christ who “suffered for our sins once for all time . . . to bring you safely home to God” (1 Pet 3:18). You cannot remove your sins by your own effort. You must allow God to remove them through Christ.” [11]

“God promises that each person will have their own place of security during Christ’s reign (see also Mic 4:4).” [12]


Eventide Prayer

Hear, O Lord, your servants, offering evening praises to your Name. Through the silent hours of the night deign to watch over us, whom You have protected in all dangers of the day. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Anglo-Saxon, Traditional [13]

Short Verse

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry;…For I am but a sojourner with you,* a wayfarer, as all my forebears were. 

Psalm 39:13–14

Eventide Reading

2 Peter 2:1-21, Believers who fall into sin

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions. They will even deny the Master who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Even so, many will follow their licentious ways, and because of these teachers[a] the way of truth will be maligned. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced against them long ago, has not been idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell[a] and committed them to chains[b] of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 and if he did not spare the ancient world, even though he saved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood on a world of the ungodly; 6 and if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction[c] and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly;[d] 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by their lawless deeds that he saw and heard), 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment 10 —especially those who indulge their flesh in depraved lust, and who despise authority.

Bold and willful, they are not afraid to slander the glorious ones,[e] 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not bring against them a slanderous judgment from the Lord.[f] 12 These people, however, are like irrational animals, mere creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed. They slander what they do not understand, and when those creatures are destroyed,[g] they also will be destroyed, 13 suffering[h] the penalty for doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation[i] while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 They have left the straight road and have gone astray, following the road of Balaam son of Bosor,[j] who loved the wages of doing wrong, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the deepest darkness has been reserved. 18 For they speak bombastic nonsense, and with licentious desires of the flesh they entice people who have just[k] escaped from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for people are slaves to whatever masters them. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment that was passed on to them.

Eventide Lesson

Bold and willful deception

In verses 1-3, Peter addressed his main concern of his letter: “false teachers who are unholy and communicate heresy.” [14] “Peter implies that false teachers of 2 Peter did not come from outside the Church; they were members in good standing who drifted away from the truth and began introducing false doctrine in subtle, tempting ways.” [15] “The false teachers pretended to be sincere and true. They began with the Scriptures, but then isolated verses from their context… They twisted God’s Word.” [16] False teachers “are arrogant, sensual, and greedy ([Peter] deals with them in much the same way as does Jude) but they deny accountability in their lives. Isolating themselves from apostolic doctrine concerning Christ, they hold their own ‘private interpretations,’ misconstruing doctrines about the second coming and the ultimate authority of Christ over us. But as deceivers, they teach as though they possess true apostolicity.” [17] “False teachers claim to be Christians, yet they defame, revile, and slander the way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.” [18] By claiming Christianity they take Christ’s name in vain and thus “give non-Christian neighbors the impression that Christ endorses sinful, selfish lifestyles.” [19] For all these reasons (and more), Peter warned that “many Christians will accept false teaching as authoritative and will follow its lure.” [20]

In verses 2-10a, “Peter uses the three most renowned evildoers in the Old Testament to illustrate how God doesn’t always wait until Judgment Day to punish the wicked.” [21] Peter began by “bring[ing] up the angels who rebelled against God.” [22] Why? Because “if mighty angels like Satan were not spared punishment (a punishment the false teachers scoffed at) but were cast down from heaven, what makes puny, mortal false teachers think they will get away with their lies?” [23] “When [the angels] fell, they were judged and condemned, but their full confinement and punishment in hell will begin on Judgment Day.” [24]

“Noah [was] a preacher of righteousness (v. 5), in part because by doing righteous deeds he showed to all who saw him how life ought to be lived (see Heb 11:7).” [26] Peter mentioned Noah as an illustration: “The Christians who heed Peter’s warning and avoid false teaching may find themselves in a minority. But Noah is an encouraging example of a believer who faithfully confessed God in an antagonistic world destined for destruction. God remembered him and provided a way of salvation by the ark.” [26]

“God’s past judgments indicate what awaits the heretics: He will divide the holy from the unholy in the life to come. We already have the example of the angels who sinned (v. 4), imprisoned in the lowest part of hell (Gr. tartarus) while awaiting the final judgment. Verse 10 repeats the two main sins of heretics: (1) immorality, (2) disdain for authority, especially that of Christ.” [27] “How do these three punishments (fallen angels, unbelievers in Noah’s time, and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah) help expose false teachers and turn believers away from them?” [28] “These examples remind us of the coming judgment and drive us to seek refuge in God before that great and dreadful day arrives.” [29]

In verses 10b–21, “Peter exposes the motives of false teachers and strenuously warns his readers to avoid being entangled in their deceitful, destructive temptations.” [30] The descriptors bold and willful (v. 10b) are revealing: “Bold indicates that false teachers have no concern about the damage they do to others; they care only about their own pleasures. Willful indicates arrogance; false teachers presume that they know everything, and they close themselves off from learning when they are wrong and need correction.” [31]

“Why does Peter call false teachers ‘blots and blemishes’ on the Christian feasts? (v. 13)… False teachers have arisen from within the congregation. The feast they blot and blemish is Holy Communion itself. They pretend to be part of the flock, but in truth, they are hypocritical unbelievers whom Jesus will remove from His flock on the Last Day.” [32] “False teachers are condemned for both their words and their actions. Those who are natural cannot understand spiritual things (1Co 2:14) and will be destroyed, as false prophets have been in the past.” [33] “When believers turn to false teachings to try to learn something precious, valuable, and eternal, they will be as bitterly disappointed as a thirsty man in a desert finding a dry spring or a farmer eagerly watching an approaching storm that fails to deliver rain,” (waterless springs and mists driven by a storm, v. 17). [34]

“A common misunderstanding of liberty or freedom [v. 19] is to see it as standing apart from all moral restraints, to say there is no such thing as sin. But this results in slavery of the worst kind, bondage to egotistic and sensual passions. True Christian freedom begins with freedom from sin, freedom from immoral activity. A Christian is called to live in purity in an impure world.” [35]

“[B]elievers who are not firmly grounded in Scripture… This underscores the importance of regular Bible study and devotion.” [36]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

*  I will lie down and sleep in peace 

for You alone, Lord,

make me dwell in safety. 

O God, and Spirit, and Jesu, the Three, 

from the crown of my head, O Trinity, 

to the soles of my feet mine offering be. 

Come I unto Thee, O Jesu, my King – 

O Jesu, do Thou be my sheltering. 

Amen. [37]


Citations:

[1] Stratman, P. (2001). Morning Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 15). Rossway.

[2] Stratman, P. (2001). Lent. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 75). Rossway.

[3] A., E. E. (2016). Psalms. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 3647). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[4] Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 15). New York, NY: Image Books

[5] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Zechariah. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6218). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[6] Ibid. 5

[7] Ibid. 5

[8] Ibid. 5

[9] Ibid. 5, P. 6219

[10] Ibid. 5, P. 6219

[11] Ibid. 5, P. 6219

[12] Ibid. 5, P. 6219

[13] Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 47). New York, NY: Image Books.

[14] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Peter. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1724). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[15] Palmer, W. (2019). Warning Against False Teachers. In Books of the Bible Study Questions: 2 Peter (PDF ed., pp. 11). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved at: https://communication.cph.org/hubfs/_books/2018/Books%20of%20the%20Bible%20Study%20Questions/581902_601%2012%20Peter%20201912300842.pdf?hsCtaTracking=52e4ba1b-ccc6-4fc9-8630-f4a8cfe8cc43%7C832baaa0-314d-46c7-a9d4-d34c9fa23278

[16] Ibid. 15

[17] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Peter. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1724). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

[18] Palmer, W. (2019). Warning Against False Teachers. In Books of the Bible Study Questions: 2 Peter (PDF ed., pp. 11). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved at: https://communication.cph.org/hubfs/_books/2018/Books%20of%20the%20Bible%20Study%20Questions/581902_601%2012%20Peter%20201912300842.pdf?hsCtaTracking=52e4ba1b-ccc6-4fc9-8630-f4a8cfe8cc43%7C832baaa0-314d-46c7-a9d4-d34c9fa23278

[19] Ibid, 18

[20] Ibid. 18, P. 11-12

[21] Ibid. 18, P. 12

[22] Ibid. 18, P. 12

[23] Ibid. 18, P. 12

[24] Ibid. 18, P. 12

[25] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Peter. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1724). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

[26] Palmer, W. (2019). Warning Against False Teachers. In Books of the Bible Study Questions: 2 Peter (PDF ed., pp. 13). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved at: https://communication.cph.org/hubfs/_books/2018/Books%20of%20the%20Bible%20Study%20Questions/581902_601%2012%20Peter%20201912300842.pdf?hsCtaTracking=52e4ba1b-ccc6-4fc9-8630-f4a8cfe8cc43%7C832baaa0-314d-46c7-a9d4-d34c9fa23278

[27] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Peter. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1724). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

[28] Palmer, W. (2019). Warning Against False Teachers. In Books of the Bible Study Questions: 2 Peter (PDF ed., pp. 14). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved at: https://communication.cph.org/hubfs/_books/2018/Books%20of%20the%20Bible%20Study%20Questions/581902_601%2012%20Peter%20201912300842.pdf?hsCtaTracking=52e4ba1b-ccc6-4fc9-8630-f4a8cfe8cc43%7C832baaa0-314d-46c7-a9d4-d34c9fa23278

[29] Ibid. 28

[30] Ibid. 28

[31] Ibid. 28

[32] Ibid. 28, P. 15

[33] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Peter. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1724). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

[34] Palmer, W. (2019). Warning Against False Teachers. In Books of the Bible Study Questions: 2 Peter (PDF ed., pp. 16). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved at: https://communication.cph.org/hubfs/_books/2018/Books%20of%20the%20Bible%20Study%20Questions/581902_601%2012%20Peter%20201912300842.pdf?hsCtaTracking=52e4ba1b-ccc6-4fc9-8630-f4a8cfe8cc43%7C832baaa0-314d-46c7-a9d4-d34c9fa23278

[35] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Peter. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1724). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

[36] Palmer, W. (2019). Warning Against False Teachers. In Books of the Bible Study Questions: 2 Peter (PDF ed., pp. 15). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. Retrieved at: https://communication.cph.org/hubfs/_books/2018/Books%20of%20the%20Bible%20Study%20Questions/581902_601%2012%20Peter%20201912300842.pdf?hsCtaTracking=52e4ba1b-ccc6-4fc9-8630-f4a8cfe8cc43%7C832baaa0-314d-46c7-a9d4-d34c9fa23278

[37] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Daily Prayer: Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92138). London: HarperCollins.

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