Subject: Devotional | May 20 | morning (full)
As you enter into his presence this morning, remember that God is with you and for you, because he loves you. Use this email as you are able, in whole or in part.
Call to Prayer
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. (Psalm 65:8)
Almighty God our heavenly Father, who declares his glory and shows forth his handiwork in the heavens and in the earth: Deliver us in our various occupations from the service of self alone, that we may do the work which you give us to do in truth and beauty and for the common good; for the sake of him who came among us as one that serves, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP 210)
Confession of Sin
Eternal God, in every age you have raised up men and women to live and die in faith. Forgive our indifference to your will. You have commanded us to speak, but we have been silent. You have called us to do what is just, but we have been idle. You have called us to live faithfully, but we have been afraid. Have mercy on us and forgive us. Keep before us faithful people to follow so that living with courage and love, we may work for and inherit the kingdom promised in Jesus Christ. Amen.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
Praying the Psalms
For the director of music. According to gittith. Of Asaph.
1 Sing for joy to God our strength;
3 Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon,
I heard an unknown voice say:
6 “I removed the burden from their shoulders;
11 “But my people would not listen to me;
13 “If my people would only listen to me,
New Testament Reading
The most systematic of Paul’s epistles. This letter explains the plan of salvation for the Gentiles and the Jews. Filled with deep theological concepts in lofty language, Romans proclaims the gospel as the power of God and challenges our ideas of human wisdom.
Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Paul’s Anguish Over Israel
1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
God’s Sovereign Choice
6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”
10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea:
“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
“In the very place where it was said to them,
27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:
“Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
29 It is just as Isaiah said previously:
“Unless the Lord Almighty
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
Prayers of Intercession
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors. 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.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
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For a handy guide to the devotional elements and an archive of past issues, visit redeemer.com/daily.
Biblical summaries by David Whitehead, author of Making Sense of the Bible.
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