Apr 4, 2022 Devotional Bible Study

April 4, 2022
Lent

Today’s Readings: 

  1. MORNING: Psalm 20, Victory for God’s anointed
    • Lesson: Pray for our leaders
  2. MIDDAY: Exodus 40:1-15, Anointing the holy things
    • Lesson: When the meadows bloom
  3. EVENING: Hebrews 10:19-25, Jesus, priest for the people of God
    • Lesson: Hearts sprinkled, bodies washed

Invitatory

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

Collect

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [1]

“Purity of Heart”

By J. Keble

Blessed are the pure in heart, 

For they will see our God: 

The secret of the Lord is theirs, 

Their soul is Christ’s abode. 

The Lord, who left the heavens 

Our life and peace to bring, 

To dwell in lowliness with men, 

Their pattern and their king: 

Still to the lowly soul 

He does himself impart, 

And for his dwelling and his throne 

Chooses the pure of heart. 

Lord, we your presence seek; 

May ours this blessing be: 

That we like father Joseph meek 

Providing a housing fit for thee. [2]


Morning Prayer

O God, the King eternal, who dividest the day from the night and turnest the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep thy law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done thy will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when the night cometh, rejoice to give thee thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [3]

Short Verse

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing—grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.”

Joel 2: 12-14 

Morning Reading

Psalm 20, Victory for God’s anointed

The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!

    The name of the God of Jacob protect you!

May he send you help from the sanctuary,

    and give you support from Zion.

May he remember all your offerings,

    and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices.Selah

May he grant you your heart’s desire,

    and fulfill all your plans.

May we shout for joy over your victory,

    and in the name of our God set up our banners.

May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;

    he will answer him from his holy heaven

    with mighty victories by his right hand.

Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,

    but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.

They will collapse and fall,

    but we shall rise and stand upright.

Give victory to the king, O Lord;

    answer us when we call.[a]

Morning Lesson

Pray for our leaders

It is possible that Psalm 20 is “an antiphonal prayer offered before King David led his troops into battle.” [4] It is likely that this psalm was also “used in times of peace as well, just as the British regularly sing ‘God Save the Queen.’” [5]

In Psalm 20, “the people desire God’s blessing for their king as he prepares to lead them into battle. In modern developed countries we are easily tempted to place our confidence in certain leaders and technological wonders rather than in God. Doing so, however, is little more than old-fashioned idolatry.” [6] Instead, we must remember to “humbly pray for the authorities God has placed over us… • Guide and direct our rulers, O King of kings and Lord of lords, so that they ever acknowledge You rather than trust in their earthly might. Lead us in the way of righteousness and peace. Amen.” [7]

Psalm 20 Commentary from the Early Church

Verses 1-9

“This entire psalm voices a prayer as spoken by holy people to the person of Christ. For since for our sakes and on our behalf he received insult when he became man, we are taught to join our prayers with his as he prays and supplicates the Father on our behalf, as one who repels both visible and invisible attacks against us.”

(Eusebius of Caesarea, Proof of the Gospel 4.16.5) [8]

Verse 4

“Yes, may [the Lord] fulfill not only your intention to lay down your life for your friends, so that the seed, by dying, might spring again more abundantly, but also your intention that . . . the entry of the whole Gentile world should be facilitated.”

(Augustine, Expositions of the Psalms 20.5) [9]

Verse 8

“They say these things will happen in the time of the advent of that Savior. Then all the powers of the adversaries and those hidden and secret enemies of God who have turned their backs on the Savior will be laid low. All who receive that Savior will rise from the first fall. Therefore, Simeon says [in Lk 2:34], ‘Behold, this child is destined to cause the rising and falling of many,’ namely, the ruin of his enemies and adversaries and the resurrection of those who, having fallen once, have been rescued by him.”

(Eusebius of Caesarea, Commentary on Psalms 20.8–10) [10]


Midday Prayer

Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [11]

Short Verse

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

Midday Reading

Exodus 40:1-15, Anointing the holy things

40 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. 3 You shall put in it the ark of the covenant,[a] and you shall screen the ark with the curtain. 4 You shall bring in the table, and arrange its setting; and you shall bring in the lampstand, and set up its lamps. 5 You shall put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the covenant,[b] and set up the screen for the entrance of the tabernacle. 6 You shall set the altar of burnt offering before the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, 7 and place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. 8 You shall set up the court all around, and hang up the screen for the gate of the court. 9 Then you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture, so that it shall become holy. 10 You shall also anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar, so that the altar shall be most holy. 11 You shall also anoint the basin with its stand, and consecrate it. 12 Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting, and shall wash them with water, 13 and put on Aaron the sacred vestments, and you shall anoint him and consecrate him, so that he may serve me as priest. 14 You shall bring his sons also and put tunics on them, 15 and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve me as priests: and their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout all generations to come.

Midday Lesson

When the meadows bloom

“Here the Lord directs Moses to set up the tabernacle for liturgical worship on the first day of the first month-one year after Israel came out of Egypt (v. 15).” [12] “Why did God command Moses to erect the tabernacle on the first day of the first month? Because at that time he created the world. The sprouting of the trees attests to this fact. For Scripture says, ‘Let the earth sprout forth grass for fodder, and sow seed according to its kind and its likeness, and fruit-bearing trees that produce fruit, with its seed within it in its likeness, according to its kind upon the earth’ [Gn 1:11]. When spring begins, the meadows bloom, the fields grow like waves, and the trees germinate their fruit. So too in this very season God set Israel free from slavery under the Egyptians and the archangel Gabriel brought the holy virgin the good news of her mysterious childbearing. In this same season the Lord Christ underwent his saving passion. Most fittingly, the Lord God of all ordered the tabernacle to be erected on the first day of the first month because it was the image of the entire world, and also so that the people would prepare for the feast of Passover, which the law commanded the Jews to celebrate as the first feast. At that time, they were going to celebrate this feast for the first time in the desert, for this was the second year after their deliverance from slavery” (Theodoret of Cyrus, Questions on Exodus 72). [13]


Eventide Prayer

O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed: Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee, we, being defended from the fear of all enemies, may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen. [14]

Short Verse

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18

Julia Sudnitskaya/Getty Images

Eventide Reading

Hebrews 10:19-25, Jesus, priest for the people of God

19 Therefore, my friends,[a] since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Eventide Lesson

Hearts sprinkled, bodies washed

“The construction of this passage emphasizes the building up of the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. Hearts sprinkled … bodies washed: A reference to Baptism, which produces an interior cleansing through the external use of water accompanied by the words of Baptism. Baptism makes us members of the Church, the Body of Christ, and gives us a share in the priesthood of Christ, which enables us to participate in Christ’s redemptive Sacrifice and to receive the grace of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Through our participation in the life of the Church, we can find strength and support for living out the Christian life.” [15]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. [16]


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. 219). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[2] Tickle, P. (2006). March. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 215). New York, NY: Image Books

[3] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office, Rite I. 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. 56). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[4] A., E. E. (2016). Psalms. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 3975). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Ibid. 4, P. 3976-3977

[7] Ibid. 4, P. 3977

[8] Eusebius of Caesarea. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1556). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[9] Augustine. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1556). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[10] Eusebius of Caesarea. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1557). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[11] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office. 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. 107). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[12] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Exodus. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 146). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[13] Theodoret of Cyrus. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1162). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[14] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office, Rite I. 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. 69). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[15] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Hebrews. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3345). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[16] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office, Rite II. 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. 133). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

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