Mar 24, 2022 Devotional Bible Study

March 24, 2022
Lent

Today’s Readings: 

  1. MORNING: Psalm 32, Be glad, you righteous
    • Lesson: Prophecy of Enlightenment
  2. MIDDAY: Joshua 4:1-13, Joshua leads the people across the Jordan
    • Lesson: The twelve stones at Gilgal
  3. EVENING: 2 Corinthians 4:16—5:5, Paul comforts with a promise of glory
    • Lesson: The gift of seeing the unseen

Invocation

O Lord, open our lips 

and our mouth shall proclaim your praise. 

Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love, 

according to your judgment give us life.

Opening Prayer

Blessed are you, God of compassion and mercy, to you be praise and glory for ever. In the darkness of our sin, your light breaks forth like the dawn and your healing springs up for deliverance. As we rejoice in the gift of your saving help, sustain us with your bountiful Spirit and open our lips to sing your praise. Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All Blessed be God for ever. Amen. [1]

The Hymn

“O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”

By Charles Wesley

Lyrics:

O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise, 

The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace! 

My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim, 

To spread through all the earth abroad the honors of your name. 

Jesus! The name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease; 

’Tis music in the sinner’s ears, ’tis life, and health, and peace. 

He breaks the power of canceled sin, he sets the prisoner free; 

His blood can make the foulest clean; his blood availed for me. 

He speaks, and listening to his voice, new life the dead receive; 

The mournful, broken hearts rejoice, the humble poor believe. 

In Christ, your head, you then shall know, shall feel your sins forgiven; 

Anticipate your heaven below, and own that love in heaven. [2]


Morning Prayer

Lord our God, in our sin we have avoided your call. Our love for you is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early. Have mercy on us; deliver us from judgment; bind up our wounds and revive us; in Jesus Christ our Lord. (cf Hosea 6) [3]

Short Verse

I will call upon God,* and the LORD will deliver me. In the evening, in the morning, and at the noonday, I will complain and lament,* and he will hear my voice. He will bring me safely back…God, who is enthroned of old, will hear me. 

Psalm 55:17f

Morning Reading

Psalm 32, Be glad, you righteous

Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,

    whose sin is covered.

Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,

    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

While I kept silence, my body wasted away

    through my groaning all day long.

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

    my strength was dried up[a] as by the heat of summer.Selah

Then I acknowledged my sin to you,

    and I did not hide my iniquity;

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

    and you forgave the guilt of my sin.Selah

Therefore let all who are faithful

    offer prayer to you;

at a time of distress,[b] the rush of mighty waters

    shall not reach them.

You are a hiding place for me;

    you preserve me from trouble;

    you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.Selah

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;

    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,

    whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,

    else it will not stay near you.

10 

Many are the torments of the wicked,

    but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.

11 

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous,

    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Let us pray.

Give us honest hearts, O God, and send your kindly Spirit to help us confess our sins and bring us the peace of your forgiveness; in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [7]

Morning Lesson

Prophecy of Enlightenment

Martin Luther wrote, “The beginning of this psalm teaches two things: first, that all are in sins [no one is righteous] and no one is blessed; second, that no one is capable of meriting forgiveness of sin, but it is the Lord alone who forgives freely by not imputing [guilt].” [4]

Psalm 32 “also shows the physical, mental, and spiritual implications of being silent in sin. God calls us to confess our sins quickly with contrite hearts in order to receive Absolution. Only He can relieve the troubled heart. ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1Jn 1:9). ●  Lord Jesus Christ, grant me the honesty to examine my life according to Your Ten Commandments.  Show me my sins, to know and feel it in my heart and disdain it.  Most of all, grant forgiveness by Your gracious hand. Amen.” [5]

Additionally, Psalm 32 “is a prophecy concerning enlightenment (understanding, vv. 1, 8), which is fulfilled in the Sacrament of Baptism. For this sacrament is known as the Sacrament of Enlightenment, in which sins are forgiven (vv. 1, 5). And on the Day of Pentecost, St. Peter urged those listening to ‘be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins’ (Acts 2:38). Thus, the Creed also says, ‘I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.’” [6]

Psalm 32 Commentary from the Early Church

Psalm 32:5: 

When David said, “I have sinned against the Lord,” Nathan replied, “The Lord has put away your sin, you will not die” [see 2Sm 12:13]. [God] did, however, threaten to fill [David’s] house with calamities of all kinds; here too likewise, “You put away the impiety of my sin”: immediately after perpetrating such things, he is saying, I should have been consigned to death according to the law, but you applied your lovingkindness and did not so consign me, keeping my treatment to moderate censure. 

Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the Psalms 32.3 [8]

Psalm 32:9: 

Our Lord admonishes us through the prophet: “Be not senseless like horses or mules.” . . . As the [horse] or mule is tied to a grindstone with his bodily eyes weakened. . . , so the dissipated soul has the eyes of its mind put out by the filth of its life, and through the errors of its thoughts is guided, as it were, around the turning millstone through laborious compassion, without its own sight and working with that of another. [A dissipated person] stands on the road of sinners, fettered with the bonds of his passions. He is his own prison, filled with the darkness of his error, stiff with the squalor of his conscience, enduring within himself the imprisonment of a mill. He turns the rock of his heart, which has been hardened by perseverance in iniquity, like a grindstone, making flour for his enemy out of the corrupt grain of his soul. 

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 120.3 [9]

Psalm 32:10: 

All people, even if adorned with the works of virtue, stand in need of divine grace; hence the divine apostle also shouts aloud, “By grace you are saved through faith; this is not of your doing—it is God’s gift” [Eph 2:8]. 

Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the Psalms 32.6 [10]


Midday Prayer

All Most merciful God,

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

we confess that we have sinned

in thought, word and deed.

We have not loved you with our whole heart.

We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

In your mercy

forgive what we have been,

help us to amend what we are,

and direct what we shall be;

that we may do justly,

love mercy,

and walk humbly with you, our God.

Amen. [11]

Short Verse

Bow down before the Lord. 

Midday Reading

Joshua 4:1-13, Joshua leads the people across the Jordan

4 When the entire nation had finished crossing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua: 2 “Select twelve men from the people, one from each tribe, 3 and command them, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood, carry them over with you, and lay them down in the place where you camp tonight.’” 4 Then Joshua summoned the twelve men from the Israelites, whom he had appointed, one from each tribe. 5 Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, one for each of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 so that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off in front of the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the Israelites a memorial forever.”

8 The Israelites did as Joshua commanded. They took up twelve stones out of the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord told Joshua, carried them over with them to the place where they camped, and laid them down there. 9 (Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day.)

10 The priests who bore the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan, until everything was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to tell the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people crossed over in haste. 11 As soon as all the people had finished crossing over, the ark of the Lord, and the priests, crossed over in front of the people. 12 The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed before the Israelites, as Moses had ordered them. 13 About forty thousand armed for war crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for battle.

Midday Lesson

The twelve stones at Gilgal

“After the people safely crossed the river, what would be next? Conquering the land? Not yet. First, God directed them to build a memorial from 12 stones drawn from the river by 12 men, one from each tribe. This may seem like an insignificant step in their mission of conquering the land, but God did not want his people to plunge into their task unprepared. They were to focus on him and remember who was guiding them. As you are busy doing your God-given tasks, set aside quiet moments to build your own memorial to God’s power. Too much activity may shift your focus away from God.” [12]

“The twelve stones taken from the Jordan served as a monument to remind future generations of Israel’s miraculous crossing of the river. Gilgal was the site where Saul would later be anointed as the first King of Israel (cf. 1 Sm 11:15).” [13]


Eventide Prayer

Forsake me not, O Lord; be not far from me, O my God. All Forsake me not, O Lord; be not far from me, O my God. Make haste to help me, O Lord of my salvation. All   Be not far from me, O my God. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. All Forsake me not, O Lord; be not far from me, O my God. (from Psalm 38) [14]

Church House Publishing. (2005). Evening Prayer in Lent. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 304). 

Short Verse

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” 

Joel 2:12

Eventide Reading

2 Corinthians 4:16—5:5, Paul comforts with a promise of glory

16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— 3 if indeed, when we have taken it off[a] we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

Eventide Lesson

The gift of seeing the unseen

“Hope in the resurrection and everlasting life can help us endure our hardships. A lifetime of pain is trivial in comparison to eternal happiness in Heaven. As we remain faithful, we are gradually being transformed in preparation for the next life.” [15] “As part of our inner renewal in Christ (v. 16) we gain the gift of seeing the unseen, the things which are … eternal.” [16] 

“Fear of death is overcome by hope in the resurrection, faith in the Holy Trinity (vv. 5, 7), and the love of Christ and our union with Him (v. 14). Our earthly house (v. 1) is our present mortal body. The building from God, the one which is from heaven (v. 2), is the immortal, deified body we shall have in heaven (see 1Co 15). The soul is naked (v. 3), or unclothed (v. 4), when it departs the body, that is, when one dies. Paul longs not for death but for resurrection; he knows God created us not to die, but to be transformed from mortality to life (v. 4; see v. 5). So he speaks not of the bliss of the soul without a body, but of the union of the soul with the glorified body.” [17]

“Living and sharing the life of Christ with others often has a cost. Paul instructs us to look beyond the momentary affliction to the eternal glory of salvation in Jesus. He tells us to look to the treasure, not to the earthen vessel, for our confidence with God. God’s promises of life and salvation are the most real things in our lives. Because that is true, believers can look at afflictions and struggles purposefully as opportunities that make God’s power more evident to those around them. Afflictions are temporary nuisances that will surely give way to the glory of life eternal with our Savior. • Lord, show me Your purpose in the struggles and in the victories of my life. Amen.” [18]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

The Son of God be shielding me from harm, 

the Son of God be shielding me from ill, 

the Son of God be shielding me with power. 

The Son of God be shielding me this night. 

Amen. [19]


Citations:

[1] Church House Publishing. (2005). Morning Prayer in Lent. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 293). 

[2] Tickle, P. (2006). March. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 174). New York, NY: Image Books

[3] Church House Publishing. (2005). Forms of Penitence. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 126). 

[4] House, C. P. (2009). Psalms. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 874). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Psalms. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 731). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Church House Publishing. (2005). Psalter. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 814). 

[8] Theodoret of Cyrus. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 2248). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[9] Caesarius of Arles. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 2248). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[10] Theodoret of Cyrus. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 2248). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[11] Church House Publishing. (2005). Forms of Penitence. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 130). 

[12] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Joshua. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5920). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[13] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Joshua. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 512). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[14] Church House Publishing. (2005). Evening Prayer in Lent. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 304). 

[15] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 2 Corinthians. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3184). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[16] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 2 Corinthians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1608). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[17] Ibid. 16

[18] A., E. E. (2016). 2 Corinthians. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7962). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[19] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Daily Prayer: Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92268). London: HarperCollins.

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