Bible Readings and Devotion for April 22, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for April 22, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Psalm 119 has a common theme throughout. It is an ode or sorts to the Word and Law of God. As you read this psalm in its entirety you will discover a wide variety of descriptions of how we get to encounter the Word. In today’s reading we have this comforting and amazing message of how we gain understanding of the Word. We read in verse 130: “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”
That phrase, “The unfolding of your words gives light…” What a beautiful concept. God unfolds his words to us. This gives an image of something being carefully wrapped in cloth. It reminds me of a precious item which has been put away for safe keeping. It is not hidden from us. Rather, it has been wrapped as a gift to us.
Throughout our days of faith on this earth we are given this Word of God. In one sense, the Word of God is fully available. The Bible is a public document. It is important that this be shared far and wide in the world. This is clearly God’s will, for our Lord commanded that we spread his teachings to the world. We read in Acts 1:7-8, where Jesus said to his Apostles, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The witness of the Apostles is the core of the New Testament. What they saw, and what the Holy Spirit stirred them to write, is what became the Gospel books, as well as various Epistles. Their witness, the vision given by Jesus, and the work of the Holy Spirit, became Paul’s letters and other documents of the New Testament.
In another sense, the Word of God is more fully revealed to us throughout our lifetimes. Most fully through God, the Holy Spirit, we grow in our understanding of the Word. The Holy Spirit unfolds the word of God for us in many and various ways. Here are some of the most familiar and common sources of God’s provision of deeper understanding and joy in God’s Word:
1) Repeated reading of the Bible.
2) Discussion, group study, and learning opportunities
3) Listening to sermons and Bible teaching
4) Seeking ways to live out what you have learned. When you actually follow through with God’s instructions you get your life lined up with God’s work through you. Focus your attention on the New Testament interpretation of God’s commands. If something seems odd or uncomfortable, seek guidance from your pastor, a friend, or fellow Christians.
5) Praying for the Holy Spirit to be stirred up in your spiritual life. This is the greatest thing for which we can pray in our lives. In Luke 11:13, when teaching about prayer, Jesus says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” This teaching passage in Luke 11 notes that even sinners want the best for the children. He then teaches us that God’s love is immensely greater than the love of sinners. Our loving God seeks to give us the best, and that very best thing is God the Holy Spirit in our lives. Therefore, pray for the Holy Spirit to be more fully in your life. In this, the Holy Spirit will unfold the scriptures for you.
6) Strive to understand how the Sacrament of Holy Communion reveals Jesus and his word to us.
7) Study teaching books about God and his Word. Some authors who are especially excellent to read include: Martin Luther, C. S. Lewis, and N. T. Wright.
8) Prayerfully mediate on the Word of God. Read a passage, a story, a verse, a psalm, etc. from the scriptures. Pray for understanding, for the word to be unfolded for you. Quietly ponder what you have read. Seek to recognize what new things you have observed.
9) If you like to draw, paint, sketch, etc., use these to mediate on the word.
10) Write notes and reflections on what you have read.
These are just ten ways and suggestions for you. The unfolding of the Word of God takes place throughout your lifetime. Pray for love for God and his Word. As you grow to love God more, you will grow in your patience with the process of unfolding the Word. God is there for us. Let us receive this unfolding of the Word as a wonderful grace of God.
Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, which you have given us in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.