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Mar 30, 2022 Devotional Bible Study

March 30, 2022
Lent

Today’s Readings: 

  1. MORNING: 2 Kings 4:1-7, The widow saved
    • Lesson: God’s immeasurable provision
  2. MIDDAY: Luke 9:10-17, Jesus feeds 5000
    • Lesson: Jesus stands ready to help us.
  3. EVENING: Lenten Self-Examination: The Sin of Greed

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

For Grace (Fifth Century)

O our Lord and God, look not on the multitude of our sins, and let not Your dignity be turned away on account of the heinousness of our iniquities; but through Your unspeakable grace sanctify this sacrifice of Yours, and grant through it power and capability, so that You may forget our many sins, and be merciful when You shalt appear at the end of time, in the man whom You have assumed from among us, and we may find before You grace and mercy, and be rendered worthy to praise You with spiritual assemblies. AMEN. 

—Liturgy of the Blessed Apostles [1]

The Hymn

“Beneath the Cross of Jesus” 

By Elizabeth Clephane

Lyrics:

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand, 

The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land, 

A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way, 

From the burning noontime heat and the burden of the day. 

Upon the cross of Jesus my eyes at times can see 

The very dying form of one who suffered there for me; 

And from my smitten heart with tears two wonders I confess: 

The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness. 

I take, O cross, your shadow for my abiding place; 

I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of his face; 

Content to let my pride go by, to know no gain nor loss, 

My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross. [2]


Morning Prayer

(Fourth Century)
[3]

Short Verse

For you, O LORD, are good and forgiving,* and great is your love toward all who call upon you. 

Psalm 86:5

Morning Reading

2 Kings 4:1-7, The widow saved

4 Now the wife of a member of the company of prophets[a] cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead; and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but a creditor has come to take my two children as slaves.” 2 Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” She answered, “Your servant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil.” 3 He said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not just a few. 4 Then go in, and shut the door behind you and your children, and start pouring into all these vessels; when each is full, set it aside.” 5 So she left him and shut the door behind her and her children; they kept bringing vessels to her, and she kept pouring. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” But he said to her, “There are no more.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your children can live on the rest.”

Morning Lesson

God’s immeasurable provision

This chapter of 2 Kings “records four of God’s miracles through Elisha: providing money for a poverty-stricken widow (2 Kgs 4:1-7); raising a dead boy to life (2 Kgs 4:32-37); purifying poisonous food (2 Kgs 4:38-41); and providing food for 100 men (2 Kgs 4:42-44). These miracles show God’s tenderness and care for those who are faithful to him.” [4]

“Poor people and debtors were allowed to pay their debts by selling themselves or their children as slaves. God ordered rich people and creditors not to take advantage of these people during their time of extreme need [see Deut 15:1-18]. This woman’s creditor was not acting in the spirit of God’s law. Elisha’s kind deed demonstrates that God wants us to go beyond simply keeping the law. We must also show compassion.” [5]

“When reading the Old Testament, it is easy to focus on God’s harsh judgment of the rebellious and to minimize his tender care for those who love and serve him. Seeing God at work providing for his followers helps us keep his severe justice toward the unrepentant in proper perspective.” [6]

“The woman and her sons collected jars from their neighbors, pouring olive oil into them from their one flask. The olive oil was used for cooking, for lamps, and for fuel. The oil stopped flowing only when they ran out of containers. The number of jars they gathered was an indication of their faith. God’s provision was as large as their faith and willingness to obey. Beware of limiting God’s blessings by a lack of faith and obedience. God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Eph 3:20).” [7]


Midday Prayer

May the God of love and power forgive us and free us from our sins, heal and strengthen us by his Spirit, and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. All Amen.

Adapted from Common Worship: Daily Prayer [8]

Short Verse

The LORD is near to those who call upon him,* to all who call upon him faithfully. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;* he hears their cry and helps them. The LORD preserves all those who love him,* but he destroys all the wicked. 

Psalm 145:19-21

By Paige T. Rogers

Midday Reading

Luke 9:10-17, Jesus feeds 5000

10 On their return the apostles told Jesus[a] all they had done. He took them with him and withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.

12 The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so and made them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

Midday Lesson

Jesus stands ready to help us.

“The multiplication of the loaves and fishes recalls the miraculous feeding of the Israelites with manna in the desert and prefigures the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Both events, in turn, prefigure the everlasting life of the heavenly banquet that will take place in the next life. The clear message is that only the bread that Christ gives us can fill us with complete joy and charity. This is reflected in the words of the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ (Mt 6:11; Jn 6:35).” [9]

Theophylact of Ohrid (1055 – 1107, approx.) saw ‘a liturgical parallel with the feeding of the five thousand. Here Christ first healed and spoke of the gospel, and then fed the multitude with the miraculous bread by the hands of His disciples. In the Church, a person is first healed through baptism; then at the Liturgy, the gospel is preached and the bread of life and the cup are received from the hands of the ordained clergy.” [10]

“In a miracle reminiscent of the manna in the wilderness, Jesus feeds the multitude that have come out to the wilderness to hear Him. Like the confused apostles, we often face life’s challenges armed only with our sin-starved wisdom and resources. Yet, Jesus stands ready to help. Just as He miraculously fed the 5,000, He is willing also and able to provide for us in time of need. • Lord, teach me to turn to You in every time of need, for I can do all things through You, as You strengthen me. Amen.” [11]


Eventide Prayer

Lord Jesus, think on me, and purge away my sin; from earthborn passions set me free, and make me pure within. 

Lord Jesus, think on me with many a care opprest; let me thy loving servant be, and taste thy promised rest.

Lord Jesus, think on me, nor let me go astray; through darkness and perplexity point thou the heavenly way. 

Lord Jesus, think on me, that, when the flood is past, I may the eternal brightness see, and share thy joy at last. 

  • George the Sinner, tr: A W Chatfield (Tune: SM) [12]

Short Verse

And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 

Matthew 4:2

Eventide Reading

Lenten Self-Examination: The Sin of Greed

(Excerpted from St. Augustine’s Prayer Book [13])

GREED is the refusal to respect the integrity of other creatures and the desire or the actual misuse of things or people. It is expressed in the inordinate accumulation of material things, in the use of other persons for personal advantage, or in the quest for status, power, or security. 

  • Inordinate ambition: Pursuit of status, power, influence, reputation, or possession at the expense of the moral law, of one’s other obligations, or in disregard of the rights and well-being of others. Ruthless or unfair competition. Putting self or family or other connections first. Participation in what we know to be dishonest or wrong in order to get ahead. Intrigue or conspiracy for self-advancement. 
  • Domination: Seeking to use or control others for our own ends or needs; overprotection of children or other dependents. Refusal to correct or punish them for fear of losing affection. Insistence that they conform to our ideal or expectations though it be contrary to their own vocation and interests. Imposing our will on others by force, guile, whining, or by withholding affections or support. Putting others in a position of dependence or compliance in an unfair manner. Any habit of using others for our own comfort or well-being or seeing them only in relation to our desires or needs. 
  • Favoritism: Partiality, flattery, or fawning to win support or affection. Dishonest praise and refusal to speak for what is true or right in order to ingratiate oneself. Silence in the face of prejudice, abuse, bullying, or cruelty for fear or for desire of favor or acceptance. Leading or encouraging others toward sin in order to be held in esteem or respect. 
  • Avarice: Inordinate pursuit of wealth or material things. Theft or dishonesty. Failure to pay fair and reasonable wages. Cheating in business, taxes, academic work, or at games. Making worldly success the goal of our life and the standard for judging others. Use of funds or resources we hold in trust for our own benefit. 
  • Prodigality: Waste of resources. Waste of personal possessions or misuse of things held in trust for another. Extravagances and expenditures beyond our income to impress others or satisfy our own desires. Failing to pay debts or honor obligations. Gambling more than we can afford to lose or in a desperate attempt to gain wealth. Waste of possessions that are needed for the welfare of those dependent on us. Contempt of normal restraints and disregard of those with less than we have. Waste of natural resources. 
  • Miserliness: Undue protection of wealth. Delight in wealth as an end in itself. Stinginess. Accepting others’ support when we could provide for our own needs. Refusal to support those who have a rightful claim on us. Refusal to develop the habit of generous giving to church and institutions that serve the common good. Lack of gratitude and joy in the material blessings we have received.

Concluding Prayer of the Church

*  The peace of God be over me to shelter me, 

*  under me to uphold me, 

*  about me to protect me, 

*  behind me to direct me, 

*  ever with me to save me. 

The peace of all peace be mine this night 

+  in the name of the Father, 

and of the Son, 

and of the Holy Spirit. 

Amen. [14]


Citations:

[1] Potts, J. M. (2020). Fifth Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 72). essay. 

[2] Tickle, P. (2006). March. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 197). New York, NY: Image Books

[3] Potts, J. M. (2020). Fourth Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 36). essay. 

[4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 2 Kings. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6329). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Ibid. 4

[7] Ibid. 4, P. 6330

[8] Church House Publishing. (2005). Forms of Penitence. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 131). 

[9] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Luke. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 2863). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[10] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Luke. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1412). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[11] A., E. E. (2016). Luke. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7000-7001). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[12] Church House Publishing. (2005). Evening Prayers in Lent. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 301-302). 

[13] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 97-98). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[14] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Felgild Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92231). London: HarperCollins.

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