June 28, 2022 Devotional

  • Morning Devotional:
    • Psalm 140, Prayer for deliverance
      • Reflection: Psalm 140 Commentary from the Early Church
  • Midday Devotional:
    • Jeremiah 3:15-18, Nations cease to follow their own will
      • Lesson: Judah startled by God’s promise to Israel’s remnant
  • Evening Devotional:
    • Ephesians 5:6-20, The fruit of the light
      • Lesson: Walk as children of light

Invitatory

The earth is the Lord’s for he made it: 

Come let us adore him.

Hymn

“Help me God”

Morning Prayers

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us… 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]

Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me, that in thy light I may see light: The light of thy grace today, and the light of thy glory hereafter. Amen. 

  • Lancelot Andrewes [2]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

Short Verse

… if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. It is by believing with the heart that you are justified, and by making the declaration with your lips that you are saved. 

—Romans 10:9-10

Morning Reading

Psalm 140, Prayer for deliverance

Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;

    protect me from those who are violent,

who plan evil things in their minds

    and stir up wars continually.

They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s,

    and under their lips is the venom of vipers. Selah

Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;

    protect me from the violent

    who have planned my downfall.

The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,

    and with cords they have spread a net,[a]

    along the road they have set snares for me. Selah

I say to the Lord, “You are my God;

    give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications.”

O Lord, my Lord, my strong deliverer,

    you have covered my head in the day of battle.

Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;

    do not further their evil plot.[b] Selah

Those who surround me lift up their heads;[c]

    let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!

10 

Let burning coals fall on them!

    Let them be flung into pits, no more to rise!

11 

Do not let the slanderer be established in the land;

    let evil speedily hunt down the violent!

12 

I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy

    and executes justice for the poor.

13 

Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;

    the upright shall live in your presence.

Let us pray.
Glorious Saviour, rescue us from the subtle evils that are too strong for us, from poisonous words and the spirit of war; by your judgement overthrow the forces of violence, that all the world may join to worship you in thanksgiving and peace, now and for ever. Amen. [3]

Morning Lesson

Psalm 140 Commentary from the Early Church

Psalm 140:1-3: 

Where, after all, does evil come to a human being from, but from a human being? Count how many evils people suffer from outwardly. Those that are not evidently caused by other people are extremely few. Of evils coming to a human being from a human being there are plenty. Thefts come from a human being, adultery with his wife he suffers from a man, his slave is induced to do something unlawful by a human being, he is hoodwinked by a human being, he is outlawed by a human being, he is overthrown by a human being, he is taken prisoner by a human being. “Deliver me, Lord, from the evil person.” 

Augustine, Sermon 297.9 [4]

Psalm 140:5:

[L]et us walk serenely along this highway without a care in the world, but let us have a healthy fear of the traps set beside the road. The enemy does not dare lay his traps on the highway, because Christ is the way; but next to the road, on the wayside, he certainly never stops doing so. That is why it says in the psalm, “They set trip wires for me next to the path.” . . . These snares we are treading among are not on the highway, but they are by the wayside. Why be in dread, why feel frightened, if you are walking along the way? If you abandon the way, that is the time to be afraid. I mean, the reason the enemy is even permitted to set his snares beside the way is to make sure that in a mood of happy-go-lucky carelessness you do not abandon the way and fall into his traps. 

Augustine, Sermon 142.1 [5]

Midday Prayers

I am giving you worship with all my life, 

I am giving you obedience with all my power, 

I am giving you praise with all my strength, 

I am giving you honour with all my speech. 

I am giving you love with all my heart, 

I am giving you affection with all my sense, 

I am giving you my being with all my mind, 

I am giving you my soul, 

O most high and holy God. 

Praise to the Father, 

Praise to the Son, 

Praise to the Spirit, 

The Three in One. 

  • adapted from Alexander Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica (1900) [6]
For Loved Ones When Away From Home 

O GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, we entrust to thine unfailing providence our families and homes, beseeching the angel of thy presence to guard them from hurt and to watch between them and us continually, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [7]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

Short Verse

“Be still, then, and know that I am God;* I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.” 

—Psalm 46:11

Midday Reading

Jeremiah 3:15-18, Nations cease to follow their own will

15 I will give you shepherds after my own heart who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, says the Lord, they shall no longer say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed, nor shall another one be made. 17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no longer stubbornly follow their own evil will. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your ancestors for a heritage.

Midday Lesson

Judah startled by God’s promise to Israel’s remnant

“The northern kingdom, Israel, was in captivity, being punished for its sins. The people of Judah undoubtedly looked down on these northern neighbors for their blatant heresy and degraded morals. Even so, Jeremiah promised the remnant of Israel God’s blessings if they would turn to him. Judah, still secure in its own mind, should have turned to God after seeing the destruction of Israel. But the people of Judah refused, so Jeremiah startled them by reaffirming God’s promise to Israel’s remnant if they would repent.” [8]

“God promised to give his people leaders (shepherds) who would follow him, filled with knowledge (wisdom) and understanding (v. 15). God saw Israel’s lack of direction, so he promised to provide the right kind of leadership. We look to and trust our leaders for guidance and direction. But if they do not follow God, they will lead us astray. Pray for God-honoring leaders in our nations, communities, and churches—those who will be good examples and bring us God’s wisdom.” [9]

“In the days of Solomon’s reign over a united Israel, the people had a beautiful Temple where they worshiped God. The Temple housed the Ark of the Covenant (vv. 16-17), the symbol of God’s presence with the people. The Ark held the tablets of the Ten Commandments (see Exod 25:10-22). Those days with the Ark wouldn’t be missed in the future Kingdom because God’s presence by the Holy Spirit would be there personally among his people.” [10]

Eventide Prayers

As our evening prayer rises before you, O God, so may your mercy come down upon us to cleanse our hearts and set us free to sing your praise now and for ever. Amen. [11]

Show us your mercy, O Lord;

    And grant us your salvation.

Clothe your ministers with righteousness;

    Let your people sing with joy.

Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;

    For only in you can we live in safety.

Lord, keep this nation under your care;

    And guide us in the way of justice and truth.

Let your way be known upon earth;

    Your saving health among all nations.

Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;

    Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

Create in us clean hearts, O God;

    And sustain us by your Holy Spirit.

Amen. [12]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

Short Verse

Out of the depths have I called to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice;* let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication. 

—Psalm 130:1

Eventide Reading

Ephesians 5:6-20, The fruit of the light

6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,

rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eventide Lesson

Walk as children of light

Paul warned the Ephesians not to be associated with the disobedient (v. 7). “Some Jews (such as the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls) demanded total separation; food and other customs often separated other Jews from Gentiles in other respects. Paul does not demand such strict separation or purity rituals, but rather demands moral character (v. 9)… Many Gentiles criticized Jews as antisocial and Christians could face similar criticisms.” [13]

Paul implored them to walk as children of light (v. 8). “Hearers would likely comprehend this Semitic expression for people of the light. The strict Jewish authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls called their group the ‘children of light,’ regarding others as children of darkness (evil).” [14]

Paul also warned the Ephesians to have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness (v. 11). “People who committed acts that they would be ashamed for others to know about often acted secretly, at night. Initiations into Greek mystery cults, some of which had acquired immoral reputations in Rome, were normally at night. Travelers who stayed at inns often had prostitutes available especially at night; so did some nocturnal banquets. “ [15]

Besides separating from darkness, Christians are also to expose (v. 11) it. But we must first come out of hiding in order to be exposed ourselves. That is, we must confess our sins and repent of them (see Jn 3:19-21).” [16] “This task is laid on the shoulders of all professing Christians.” [17] All are called to “show [our] disapprobation of [sin] by seasonable and suitable reproof, (Leviticus 19:17; Matthew 18:15,) and especially by the holiness of [our] conversation. Observe, reader, to avoid such things is not sufficient.” [18] It is not only for individual Christians to be exposed – to “confess our sins and repent of them” – and to expose, but for the institutional church as well. [19]

“Filthy lusts must be rooted out. These sins must be dreaded and detested. Here are not only cautions against gross acts of sin, but against what some may make light of. But these things are so far from being profitable that they pollute and poison” the Church. [20] “Dare we make light of that which brings down the wrath of God?… There are many ways of abetting, or taking part in the sins of others; by commendation, counsel, consent, or concealment. And if we share with others in their sins, we must expect to share in their plagues. If we do not reprove the sins of others, we have fellowship with them.” [20]

“A good man will be ashamed to speak of what many wicked men are not ashamed to do. We must have not only a sight and a knowledge that sin is sin, and in some measure shameful, but see it as a breach of God’s holy law. After the example of prophets and apostles, we should call on those asleep and dead in sin, to awake and arise, that Christ may give them light.” [21] How dreadful it is then for any individual, for any institutional body to be found to be asleep in a bed of their own sin or the sin of others!

Vers 14 says, “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Here, “Paul cites lines familiar to his audience but foreign to us today.” [22] “The verse cited here is not from Scripture but is likely from an early baptismal hymn.” [23] “Baptism is illumination (see Acts 26:18; 2Co 4:6; Heb 6:4; 10:32). To walk in the light is to walk in one’s baptism.” [24]

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is (vv. 15-17). “The goal is not to abandon the world, but to keep oneself in Christ and salvage as much as possible from the evil world. Christians renounce the fallenness of the world, not creation itself.” [25]

“Intoxication with alcohol and other substances (v. 18) reduces our ability to reason and stifles our will, and thus makes it impossible to live according to the Spirit. We should be examples of temperance and moderation in the consumption of food and alcohol.” [26]

“People in antiquity understood that songs (v. 19) could be inspired (cf. v. 18), and this was also the case with the prophetically-inspired worship in the OT temple (1Ch 25:1–6) that generated many of the original psalms (2Ch 29:25, 30). (Cf. the movement between prophecy and praise in, e.g., 2Sa 23:1–2; Ps 46:1, 10; 91:2, 14.) In Paul’s churches this might sometimes include singing in tongues and interpretation (1Co 14:14–15). Other ancient worship often used hymns, but not normally spontaneously composed at the time, as may be the case for some worship here (cf. 1Co 14:15).” [27] “Hymns and musical accompaniment were already part of the liturgical experience of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament and were adapted to Christianity. This tradition has continued to be developed throughout Church history, incorporating a variety styles, languages, and instruments in keeping with a diversity of cultures and tastes.” [28]

“Baptism casts light amid the darkness of sin and illuminates the path to holiness. To walk along this path is to seek friendship with Christ, practice moderation, and to praise and thank God constantly for all he has done for us. Since time is short for following Christ and carrying out his work of evangelization, we must turn every moment of our lives into an occasion for deeds of love.” [29]

Let us sing together:

Concluding Prayer of the Church

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should live another day,

I pray the Lord to guide my way. 

Amen.

Citations:

[1] Church House Publishing. (2005). Morning Prayer in Ordinary Time. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 176). 

[2] Forward Movement. (2013). Prayers for Guidance and Surrender. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 465). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[3] Church House Publishing. (2005). Psalter. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 1018).

[4] Augustine. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 2486). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Church House Publishing. (2005). Prayer During the Day. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 61).

[7] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Various Prayers. In Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 62). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[8] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Jeremiah. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 6574). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[9] Ibid. 8, P. 6574-6575

[10] Ibid. 8, P. 6575

[11] Church House Publishing. (2005). Evening Prayer in Ordinary Time. In Common worship: Daily prayer (pp. 183). 

[12] 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. 121). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[13] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). Ephesians footnotes. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 10327). essay, Zondervan.

[14] Ibid. 13

[15] Ibid. 13

[16] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Ephesians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1636). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[17] Maclaren, A. (n.d.). Ephesians 5 Maclaren expositions of holy scripture. Bible Hub. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from https://biblehub.com/commentaries/maclaren/ephesians/5.htm 

[18] Benson, J. (n.d.). Ephesians 5 Benson Commentary. Bible Hub. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from https://biblehub.com/commentaries/benson/ephesians/5.htm

[19] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Ephesians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1636). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[20] Henry, M. (n.d.). Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Ephesians 5. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://biblehub.com/commentaries/mhc/ephesians/5.htm

[21] Ibid. 20

[22] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). Ephesians footnotes. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 10328). essay, Zondervan.

[23] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Ephesians. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3229). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[24] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Ephesians. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1636). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[25] Ibid. 24

[26] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Ephesians. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3229). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[27] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). Ephesians footnotes. In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 10328-10329). essay, Zondervan.

[28] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Ephesians. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3229). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[29] Ibid. 28

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