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May 5, 2022 Devotional Bible Study

(Image: 5D Diamond Painting Three Sheep Kit, Bonanza Marketplace)

May 5, 2022
Eastertide

Today’s Readings: 

Invocation

O Lord, open our lips 

      and our mouth shall proclaim your praise. 

In your resurrection, O Christ, 

      let heaven and earth rejoice. 

      Alleluia.

Morning Prayers

Rejoicing in God’s new creation, as our Saviour taught us, so we pray…

Our Father, who art in heaven,

    hallowed be thy Name,

    thy kingdom come,

    thy will be done,

        on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

    as we forgive those

        who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

    but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

    and the power, and the glory,

    for ever and ever. Amen.

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us; let us pray with one heart and mind. 

As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and for ever. Amen. [1]

A Collect for Guidance

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [2]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Come let us praise the Lord with song!

Hymn

“This joyful Eastertide”

By George R. Woodward. 1848-1934

Lyrics [3]:
  1. This joyful Eastertide,

away with care and sorrow!

My Love, the Crucified,

hath sprung to life this morrow.

  • Refrain:

Had Christ, that once was slain,

ne’er burst his three-day prison,

our faith had been in vain;

but now is Christ arisen,

arisen, arisen, arisen.

  1. Death’s flood hath lost its chill,

since Jesus crossed the river:

Lord of all life, from ill

my passing soul deliver. (Refrain)

  1. My flesh in hope shall rest,

and for a season slumber,

till trump from east to west

shall wake the dead in number. (Refrain)

Short Verse

Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty,* God reveals himself in glory. “Gather before me my loyal followers,* those who have made a covenant with me and sealed it with sacrifice.” 

Psalm 50:2, 5

Morning Reading

Psalm 23, God our shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

he leads me beside still waters;

he restores my soul.

He leads me in right paths

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I fear no evil;

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff—

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

my whole life long.

[12]

Morning Lesson

The Great Shepherd

“In describing the Lord as a shepherd, David wrote out of his own experience because he had spent his early years caring for sheep (1 Sam 16:10-11). Sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection. The New Testament calls Jesus the good shepherd (John 10:11), the great Shepherd (Heb 13:20), and the Great Shepherd (1 Pet 5:4). As the Lord is the good shepherd, so we are His sheep – not frightened, passive animals, but obedient followers, wise enough to follow one who will lead us in the right places and in right ways. This psalm does not focus on the animal-like qualities of sheep but on the discipleship qualities of those who follow. When you recognise the good shepherd, follow Him!” [4]

“When we allow God, our shepherd, to guide us, we have contentment. When we choose to sin and go our own way, however, we cannot blame God for the environment we create for ourselves. Our shepherd knows the ‘green meadows’ and ‘peaceful streams’ that will restore us. We will reach these places only by following Him obediently. Rebelling against our shepherd’s leading is actually rebellion against our own best interests. We must remember this the next time we are tempted to go our own way rather than the shepherd’s way.” [5]

“Death casts a frightening shadow over us because we are entirely helpless in its presence. We can struggle with other enemies – pain, suffering, disease, injury – but strength and courage cannot overcome death. It has the final word. Only one person can walk with us through death’s dark valley and bring us safely to the other side – the God of life, our shepherd. Because life is uncertain, we should follow this shepherd who offers us eternal comfort.” [6]

“In ancient Near Eastern culture, it was customary at a feast to anoint a person with fragrant oil. Hosts were also expected to protect their guests at all costs. God offers the protection of a host even when enemies surround us. In the final scene of this psalm, we see that believers will dwell with the Lord. God, the perfect shepherd and host, promises to guide and protect us throughout our life and to bring us into His house forever.” [7]

Psalm 23 Commentary from the Early Church

Verse 2:

“The pastures that this good shepherd has prepared for you, in which he has settled you for you to take your fill, are not various kinds of grasses and green things, among which some are sweet to the taste, some extremely bitter, which as the seasons succeed one another are sometimes there and sometimes not. Your pastures are the words of God and his commandments, and they have all been sown as sweet grasses. These pastures had been tasted by that man who said to God [in Ps 103:119], ‘How sweet are your words to my palate, more so than honey and the honeycomb in my mouth!’”

(Augustine, Sermon 366.3) [8]

Verse 5:

“Just as certain rewards are given to the contender in mighty contests, so also in any trial, when that which afflicts is nearby and the powers of the adversaries bring tribulation, know that a spiritual and intellectual table is prepared on account of this trial. Therefore, however many times you will be afflicted, equally [as] many times a spiritual table is placed before you. . . . [G]iving thanks, you may say with the apostle, ‘Not I alone, but we are made glorious in tribulation’ [2Co 7:4].”

(Origen, Selections from the Psalms 23.5.) [9]

Verse 5:

“The cup is . . . the Lord’s blood, which inebriates in such a way that it heals the mind, restraining it from wrongs, not inducing it to sins. This intoxication renders us sober; this fullness empties us of evils. He who is not filled from this cup ends up hungry and in perpetual need.” 

(Cassiodorus, Explanation of the Psalms 23.5) [10]

Verse 6:

“Providing these good things is [God’s] ineffable lovingkindness, not awaiting our request but closely following us like fugitives, anticipating our needs, giving us a share in salvation, providing residence in the divine dwellings, one in the present life, one in the future.”

(Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the Psalms 23.4) [11]

Midday Prayers

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

    maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord;

    who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,

    born of the Virgin Mary,

    suffered under Pontius Pilate,

    was crucified, dead, and buried.

    He descended into hell.

    The third day he rose again from the dead.

    He ascended into heaven,

    and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty.

    From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost,

    the holy catholic Church,

    the communion of saints,

    the forgiveness of sins,

    the resurrection of the body,

    and the life everlasting. Amen.

ACT OF FAITH 

LORD JESUS, IN THY FACE, I see God and know myself. I believe; help thou my unbelief. Amen. [13]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Short Verse

…Surely, there is a reward for the righteous; surely, there is a God who rules in the earth. 

Psalm 58:11b

Midday Reading

Ezekiel 11:1-25, Ezekiel prophesies against the shepherds of Israel

Judgment on Wicked Counselors

11 The spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the house of the Lord, which faces east. There, at the entrance of the gateway, were twenty-five men; among them I saw Jaazaniah son of Azzur, and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, officials of the people. 2 He said to me, “Mortal, these are the men who devise iniquity and who give wicked counsel in this city; 3 they say, ‘The time is not near to build houses; this city is the pot, and we are the meat.’ 4 Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, O mortal.”

5 Then the spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and he said to me, “Say, Thus says the Lord: This is what you think, O house of Israel; I know the things that come into your mind. 6 You have killed many in this city, and have filled its streets with the slain. 7 Therefore thus says the Lord God: The slain whom you have placed within it are the meat, and this city is the pot; but you shall be taken out of it. 8 You have feared the sword; and I will bring the sword upon you, says the Lord God. 9 I will take you out of it and give you over to the hands of foreigners, and execute judgments upon you. 10 You shall fall by the sword; I will judge you at the border of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord. 11 This city shall not be your pot, and you shall not be the meat inside it; I will judge you at the border of Israel. 12 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, whose statutes you have not followed, and whose ordinances you have not kept, but you have acted according to the ordinances of the nations that are around you.”

13 Now, while I was prophesying, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I fell down on my face, cried with a loud voice, and said, “Ah Lord God! will you make a full end of the remnant of Israel?”

God Will Restore Israel

14 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 15 Mortal, your kinsfolk, your own kin, your fellow exiles,[a] the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, “They have gone far from the Lord; to us this land is given for a possession.” 16 Therefore say: Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far away among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a little while[b] in the countries where they have gone. 17 Therefore say: Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. 18 When they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. 19 I will give them one[c] heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations,[d] I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, says the Lord God.

22 Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. 23 And the glory of the Lord ascended from the middle of the city, and stopped on the mountain east of the city. 24 The spirit lifted me up and brought me in a vision by the spirit of God into Chaldea, to the exiles. Then the vision that I had seen left me. 25 And I told the exiles all the things that the Lord had shown me.

Midday Lesson

He has brought us out of the exile

“Using the metaphor of Jerusalem as a cooking pot with meat inside, God contradicts the inhabitants’ arrogant self-assurance that the city walls will protect them. Ezekiel’s outcry at Pelatiah’s sudden death provides an occasion for the comforting Gospel sermon that follows. God certainly will not make a full end of the remnant of Israel, but will provide salvation.” [14]

“Ezekiel the prophet is assured that a remnant will be saved. The glory then leaves the city for the Mount of Olives to the east. This is the final judgment upon those who remain in Jerusalem below (cf Gal 4: 26 ). Thanks be to God; He gives us His Word and Spirit, new hearts, and new lives in His promises of mercy.” [15]

“Lord, through our Savior, who bore our offenses for us on the cross, strengthen us to resist temptation. Grant us refuge in You alone.” [16] “Through our Baptism, You have brought us out of the exile of our natural bondage to sin. Send Your Spirit upon us that we remain faithful until death and share in the return of the glory on the Last Day. Amen.” [17]


Eventide Prayer

For Hope.

Have mercy upon me, O God, have mercy upon me, for my soul trusteth in Thee, and in the shadow of Thy wings will I trust, till these and all other my afflictions be overpast. O send out Thy mercy and truth upon me, even for Jesus Christ His sake. Amen.

  • William Laud, Abp of Canterbury and Martyr [18]

Short Verse

Yours is the day, yours also the night;* you established the moon and the sun. You fixed all the boundaries of the earth;* you made both summer and winter. 

Psalm 74:15–16

Eventide Reading

Revelation 5:1-14, The throne and the elders

5 Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed[a] with seven seals; 2 and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. 4 And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

6 Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. 8 When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 They sing a new song:

“You are worthy to take the scroll

    and to open its seals,

for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God

    saints from[b] every tribe and language and people and nation;

10 

you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving[c] our God,

    and they will reign on earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 singing with full voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might

and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,

“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb

be blessing and honor and glory and might

forever and ever!”

14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

Eventide Lesson

The warrior lamb

“The scroll [v. 1] contains the secret decrees of God concerning the judgment and salvation of humanity (see Ezk 2:9, 10; Ps 138:16; see also 1En 81:1, 2). Included is the greatest of all mysteries, God’s will concerning the events marking the end times (see Dan 10:21), sealed up and hidden in profound security (with seven seals) until the time it will be revealed and implemented. In the twenty-three references to scrolls in Revelation there are five types: (1) the unsealed letters to the churches of Asia; (2) the unsealed Book of Life (13:8ff.); (3) the unsealed books of judgment (20:12); (4) the little open scroll that is eaten (10:8-10); and (5) the present sealed scroll.” [19]

“Who can know the mysteries of the scroll and the seals [vv. 2-5]? Who but Christ, the Son of God Himself, can understand the greatest of all mysteries and how God deals with man in history? The Lion . . . of Judah and Root of David are messianic titles with parallels in the OT and apocryphal books (see Gn 49:9, 10; Is 11:1-10). The One who has conquered Satan decisively, once and for all, in His self-sacrifice on the Cross and in His Resurrection, is alone worthy to open the scroll of destiny, reveal its message, and carry out its words.” [20]

“Jesus is called the Lamb of God in Jn 1:29. Isaiah compares the Messiah’s voluntary self-sacrifice to a lamb being led to slaughter (Is 53). The central theme of Revelation is victory through sacrifice. This Lamb stands between the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders [vv. 6, 7]. St. Ignatius refers to the bishop standing at the center of his flock as an image of both the Father and the Son. In the development of episcopal vesture, the bishop’s outer garment was for a time woven of wool. Seven horns and seven eyes represent the fullness of Christ’s power and knowledge; through Him also the Holy Spirit (the seven Spirits of God) is sent on His mission to the world. Intertestamental Jewish apocalyptic literature portrayed the Messiah as a horned lamb who would fight for His people and conquer the forces of evil. The Jews, however, never expected this warrior-lamb to suffer and die, and did not consider Him to be God. The warrior-lamb is both with God (in the midst of the throne) and with man (in the midst of the elders), for He is the union of God and man without the merging of the two natures.” [21]

“The four angelic beings, the four living creatures, and the glorified saints of all ages represented by the twenty-four elders [v. 8] worship Jesus, thus recognizing His deity, by elevated thanksgiving (each having a harp). And by elevated prayer (golden bowls full of incense) they present to God the prayers of the saints still on earth, manifested in the incense (8:3, 4; see Ps 140:2; Tb 12:15). In the ancient world, incense was used in both secular and liturgical life. God, people, and objects were censed as a sign of honor and dedication. And in the services of the Church, incense is also a symbol of prayer.” [22]

In verses 9-14, “three doxologies are sung by ever-increasing choruses. (1) The elders with the most eminent angels sing a new song, more perfect than any hymn before, to the Lamb (Christ), for He has inaugurated the new age (21:1, 5; Is 42:10). (2) The Church joined by all the holy angels much as the priests are followed by the choir and then by the entire church-sends up to the Lamb a fullness of divine ascriptions in a sevenfold doxology (5:12). (3) All creation, the whole cosmos, joins in a hymn of glory addressed to the Father and to the Son. As heaven’s angels sing to God, so do “we who represent the cherubim.” The Church has always been first and foremost a worshiping community; the Divine Liturgy empowers and inspires evangelism, social service, instruction, and all else.” [23]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

Magnificat 

It is customary to bow at the words: “And holy is his Name…” 

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden. For behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath magnified me, and holy is his Name. And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations. He hath shown strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away. He remembering his mercy hath holden his servant Israel, as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever. [24]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Magnificat gregoriano with lyrics

Citations:

[1] Church House Publishing. (2005). Morning Prayer: Easter Season. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 324). 

[2] 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. 100). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[3] The hymnal 1982: According to the use of the Episcopal church 192. this JOYFUL EASTERTIDE. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://hymnary.org/hymn/EH1982/192

[4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Psalms. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 558). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Ibid. 4

[7] Ibid. 4

[8] Augustine. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1565). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[9] Origen. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1565). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[10] Cassiodorus. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1565). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[11] Theodoret of Cyrus. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1565). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[12] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Psalms to Learn and Love [Image/Graphic]. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 558). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[13] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 51). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[14] A., E. E. (2016). Ezekiel. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 5539). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[15] Ibid. 14, P. 5541

[16] Ibid. 14

[17] Ibid. 14, P. 5541

[18] LAUD, W. (1855). Thursday Compline: For Hope. In The Private Devotions of Dr. William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr (Ebook ed., p. 40). London and Oxford: John Henry & Jas. Parker.

[19] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Revelation. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1751). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[20] Ibid. 19

[21] Ibid. 19, P. 1753

[22] Ibid. 19, P. 1753

[23] Ibid. 19, P. 1753

[24] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 34). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

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