Mar 23, 2022 Devotional Bible Study

March 23, 2022
Lent

Today’s Readings: 

  1. MORNING: Numbers 13:17-33, The fruit of the promised land
    • Lesson: Toward the land of promise — the world to come
  2. MIDDAY: Luke 13:18-21, Parables of the mustard seed, yeast
    • Lesson: The kingdom of God has humble beginnings.
  3. EVENING: Lenten Self-Examination: On Anger

Invocation

Praise be to thee, O Lord, King of eternal glory.

Before thee only have I sinned, * O Lord, have mercy on me.

Have mercy on me, O God, * according to thy great mercy.

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

May the Father forgive us, may the Son pardon us, and may the Holy Ghost have mercy upon us. 

I pray to Thee, O Father; I beseech Thy prayers, O Son; I plead to Thee, O Holy Ghost.

Amen/ [1]

The Hymn

“Hail, O Once Despised Jesus” 

By John Bakewell

Lyrics:

Hail, O once despised Jesus! 

Hail, O Galilean King! 

You suffered to release us; 

Free salvation did you bring: 

Hail, O agonizing Savior, 

Bearer of our sin and shame! 

By Your merits we find favor; 

Life is given through Your Name. 

Paschal Lamb, by God appointed, 

All our sins on You were laid; 

By almighty love anointed, 

You have full atonement made: 

All Your people are forgiven, 

Through the virtue of Your blood; 

Opened is the gate of heaven, 

Made is peace ’tween man and God. 

Worship, honor, power, and blessing, 

You are worthy to receive; 

Loudest praises, without ceasing, 

Right it is for us to give: 

Help, you bright angelic spirits, 

Bring your sweetest, noblest ways; 

Help to sing our Savior’s merits, 

Help to chant Immanuel’s praise. [2]


Morning Prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, who alone works great marvels: Send down upon our clergy and the congregations committed to their charge the life-giving Spirit of your grace, shower them with the continual dew of your blessing, and ignite in them a zealous love of your Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer

Short Verse

O God, come to my assistance! 

O Lord, make haste to help me!

Morning Reading

Numbers 13:17-33, The fruit of the promised land

17 Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, “Go up there into the Negeb, and go up into the hill country, 18 and see what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, 19 and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the towns that they live in are unwalled or fortified, 20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be bold, and bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now it was the season of the first ripe grapes.

21 So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. 22 They went up into the Negeb, and came to Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the Anakites, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 And they came to the Wadi Eshcol, and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them. They also brought some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Wadi Eshcol,[a] because of the cluster that the Israelites cut down from there.

25 At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. 26 And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Yet the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified and very large; and besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the land of the Negeb; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea, and along the Jordan.”

30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 So they brought to the Israelites an unfavorable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are of great size. 33 There we saw the Nephilim (the Anakites come from the Nephilim); and to ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”

Morning Lesson

Toward the land of promise — the world to come

“Spies who were sent to assess the Promised Land returned with reports of several large armies in the region. The leader of the spies urged Moses to press forward, but the other spies believed Israel was too outnumbered to succeed in battle.” [3]

“The twelve men spied out the land for forty days (v. 25), all the way up to Rehob, near the Valley of Hamath (v. 21). In their journey, Hebron (v. 22) is singled out for notice. Here, in the Valley of Eshcol, the spies cut a cluster of grapes and named the place Valley of Eshcol—or ‘Cluster.’ This cluster confirmed the Lord’s word that the promised land was one of milk and honey.” [4]

“This cluster of grapes was a type of the Mother of God, for God the Word derived His body and blood from her. Moreover, in the Eucharist, the wine of the grapes becomes, in a mystery, His body and blood. The Church’s participation in this mystery is a foretaste of the land of promise—the world to come, the eternal kingdom of God.” [5]

“The spies returned to Israel and showed them the fruit of a land flowing with milk and honey (vv. 26, 27). But there was a barrier—there were well-armed and strategically prepared people in the land: the Amalekites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, along with the descendants of Anak, who were giants (vv. 28, 29, 33). This problem overcame the seeing-is-believing kind of faith, as ten out of the twelve spies gave a bad-news report (vv. 30, 31). Yes, the land flowed with milk and honey, but using only human reason, they concluded that victory against such obstacles was impossible. Thus, their faulty reasoning and unnatural fear destroyed what little faith they possessed. But Joshua and Caleb possessed a bold and saving faith in the Lord, for their faith was beyond the seeing-is-believing kind. They saw Him who is invisible.” [6]

“The various tribes of Gentiles listed here are types of the sinful passions, which at times seem impossible to overcome. But those possessing a boldly confident and saving faith will be zealous like Joshua and Caleb, knowing the Lord Jesus Christ is able to help them overcome their temptations and sins. Such faith propels them toward the land of promise—the world to come.” [7]


Midday Prayer

LORD JESUS CHRIST, you bore our condemnation on the cross; give me a heart that is broken for the wrong I have done, the harm I have caused others, the good I have not done, and, most of all, that I have turned away from you. For these, and for any sins I cannot now remember, and for any failure to recognize and acknowledge my sins, I truly and humbly repent and ask mercy. Give me sorrow for all my sins and trust in your forgiveness. Amen. [8]

Short Verse

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” 

Psalm 14:1

Midday Reading

Luke 13:18-21, Parables of the mustard seed, yeast

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

The Parable of the Yeast

20 And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with[a] three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

Midday Lesson

The kingdom of God has humble beginnings.

“Despite her humble beginnings and history of persecution, the Church founded by Christ, whose mission it is to build the Kingdom of God, will always endure, and no hardships or difficulties will prevail against her.” [9]

Jesus teaches that the kingdom of God, verse 18, “is sown in seeming powerlessness and grows only gradually, over an extended period of time.” [10] The parable in verses 20-21 “repeats the point of vv 18–19. Given enough time, even the tiniest pinch of leaven permeates an entire batch of dough.” [11]

“Though the kingdom of God has humble beginnings, it grows to embrace all creation. Like Jesus’ first hearers, we, too, tend to wish for a more powerful kingdom and more rapid growth. But this kingdom is God’s, not ours. He extends His realm in His way with His timing. • Lord, give us wholeheartedly to the task of extending Your reign, even though we may never see the growth that we would like. Keep us focused instead on the final consummation. Amen.” [12]


Eventide Prayer

HOLY GOD, YOUR KNOWLEDGE of me exceeds what I grasp or see in any moment; you know me better than I know myself. Now, help me to trust in your mercy, to see myself in the light of your holiness, and grant me the grace that I may have true contrition, make an honest confession, and find in you forgiveness and perfect remission. Amen. [13]

Short Verse

And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 

Genesis 7:12

Eventide Reading

Lenten Self-Examination: On Anger

(Excerpted from St. Augustine’s Prayer Book [14])

ANGER is open rebellion against God or our fellow creatures, the disregard of the other, and the desire to eliminate any obstacle to our self-seeking. Anger prompts us to retaliate against any perceived threat and creates a desire to avenge anything that seems an insult or injury. Anger finds satisfaction or release in striking out at others. 

  • Resentment: Refusal to discern or accept God’s purposes in our life. Dissatisfaction with talents or abilities and refusal to use them to God’s purposes. Complaint and objection to reality, with no interest in the work required to improve or change the situation. Transference to others the blame for our own failures or limitations or discounting the reality and the worth of other’s feelings and experience. 
  • Pugnacity: Combativeness or nursing grudges. Injury to another (physical or emotional). Quarrelsomeness, bickering, contradiction, nagging, rudeness, or snubbing. Murder, in deed or desire. Any sexual activity that is abusive or controlling of the other person or forced on another person. 
  • Retaliation: Vengeance for wrongs, real or imagined. Harsh or excessive punishments to those for whom we are responsible. Hostility, sullenness, or rash judgments; refusal to forgive or work toward reconciliation when it is genuinely possible. Pleasure in others’ remorse or sense of failure.

Concluding Prayer of the Church

I will lie down this night with God, 

and God will lie down with me; 

I will lie down this night with Christ, 

and Christ will lie down with me; 

I will lie down this night with the Spirit, 

and the Spirit will lie down with me; 

O God and Christ and the Spirit, 

be lying down with me. 

Amen. [15]


Citations:

[1] WOOD, F. M. (2016). LITURGY OF SAINT JOHN THE DIVINE (Kindle ed.). Kellbridge Press.

[2] Tickle, P. (2006). March. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 170). New York, NY: Image Books

[3] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Numbers. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 384). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[4] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Numbers. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 241). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Ibid. 4

[7] Ibid. 4

[8] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 100). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[9] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Luke. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3876). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[10] A., E. E. (2016). Luke. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7027). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[11] Ibid. 10

[12] Ibid. 10, P. 7028

[13] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 92-93). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[14] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 95). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[15] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Daily Prayer: Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92229). London: HarperCollins.

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