Bible Readings and Devotion for June 19, 2020
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Devotion for June 19, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
There is something I greatly appreciate about God’s Holy Word. What I appreciate is that the events of God’s work take place within the context of human history. What the Lord has done has taken place, and continues to take place, on the stage of life in this world. The examples in scripture of the connections with human history are more numerous than can be shared here.
One prominent example is in Luke 2, which begins with, “In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.” Luke, by the Holy Spirit, make a connection with the timeline of history by noting who was ruling at the time, namely Emperor Caesar Augustus.
A prominent example of this in the Old Testament is from Zechariah 1:7, “7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah son of Iddo; and Zechariah said…” In this the prophet records the exact date on which he received the revelation of God.
In our reading from Acts 7 we have part of the sermon of St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr. While not giving an exact date, he does plant the message of God in the midst of human history and the action of the Lord over time. He tells the broad story of the Lord from Abraham forward, and then connects it with the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. The whole sermon of St. Stephen is presented in Acts 7:2-53.
This reminds us again and again that God’s action is not something away from us. Rather, it is right here among us in this real world. God the Son has entered the fullness of humanity and human history. God the Son has taken action which has changed history by working to reconcile humanity to God through the forgiveness of sin. This is the one real God loving us in our real situation in life, and calling us to respond with love for God, for our truly present neighbors, and for one another. We are given the opportunity to know, worship and serve a real God, loving real people, addressing the intensely real problem of human sin and brokenness.
As we look back on all that God has done, we can see that he has been working on caring for our world throughout time. We give thanks today that his work is for right now in history.
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we humbly thank you for your goodness to us and to all that you have made. We praise you for your creation, for keeping us and all things in your care, and for all the blessings of life. Above all we bless you for your immeasurable love in redeeming the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies that with thankful hearts we praise you, not only with our lips but in our lives, by giving ourselves to your service and by living in your gifts of holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be all worship and praise, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.