Devotions and Readings for June 24-26

Bible Readings and Devotion for June 24-26, 2020

Special Note:  There have been some technical issues with the web site which prevented sending of these devotions for a couple of days.  We are working to correct these issues.  Thank you for your continued support.

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

June 24

Luke 1:5-25, 57-80

Psalms 127-131

1 Samuel 23

June 25

Mark 3:31-35 

Acts 8:4-13

Psalms 54, 57, 134, 135 

1 Samuel 24

June 26

Mark 4:1-12

Acts 8:14-25

Psalms 136-138

1 Samuel 25

Devotion for June 24-26, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

Many years ago I discovered the powerful and comforting message from Peter’s first letter.  It is from 1 Peter 5:7, which reads, “Cast all your anxiety on him (God), because he cares for you.”  We are invited to tell God anything.  Whatever is dragging us down, whatever is stirring up fear or anxiety, whatever is burdening us, we are invited to hand this over to our God in prayer.  No burden, no loss, no pain, no anger, is too big for God’s loving care for us.

That bring us to today’s reading from Psalm 137.  One of the most challenging passages of scripture for many people has been this psalm.  It is full of hard feelings and rash responses.  It expresses the immense anguish of the people of Judah.  They had been beaten down, many were killed, their city and temple were destroyed, all by the Babylonian Empire army.  The healthiest of the people of Judah and Jerusalem had been dragged off to slavery in Babylon. Everything seemed to be lost.  They are angry and resentful toward the whole situation.  They long for the Lord and for their former life.

The psalm is written as they languish in Babylon.  Their captors tormented them about the loss of their homeland.  While in this place of sadness and separation from their homeland and seemingly their faith, they begin to pray.

Their prayer lament for their situation.  They grumble against their neighbors.  These neighbors, the Edomites, had cheered on the Babylonians as they attacked Jerusalem.

Then they turn their frustration and deep anger toward the Babylonians themselves.  These cruel warriors had done their best to be their worst toward the people of Judah.  The cruelty of the Babylonians is reflected back in their prayers.  They pray, “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!”  The Babylonians, in their cruelty, killed the infants and toddlers of Jerusalem right in front of their parents.  As a parent of a 2-year-old toddler, I can get a glimpse of their grief and helplessness.  “Nobody better lay even a pinky finger on my little boy in harm.”  To be unable to stop this act by their enemies would be devastating.

So, they express to God that they wish these cruel enemies would face that fate.  As I have prayerfully worked through this passage in my life I have come to a set of conclusions.

  1. This passage does not endorse the murder of small children. Rather, ultimately it is a condemnation of such horrific cruelty. In a sense, “Do you see what such gross acts do to a parent and a community?  Never do this!”
  2. This passage is a prayer. It is a prayer which is an expression of what he Holy Spirit taught St. Peter to teach in his letter.  We can cast all of our anxiety, our burdens, on God, because he cares for us.   Even our most frightening thoughts and responses to the harsh situations of life can be brought to the Lord in prayer.
  3. It is dramatically better to bring our most painful feelings to God in prayer than it is to act out things which would bring harm to others, to ourselves, or to our relationship with the Lord.

So, in all this, remember that our Lord loves us beyond measure, and that he can receive anything and everything which burdens us.  We have a true friend in Jesus, because he cares for us.

Prayer

As our prayer, pray through, read, sing or meditate on this favorite old hymn of the church.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

1    What a friend we have in Jesus,

all our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

ev’rything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit;

oh, what needless pain we bear–

all because we do not carry

ev’rything to God in prayer!

2    Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged–

take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful

who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our ev’ry weakness–

take it to the Lord in prayer.

3    Are we weak and heavy-laden,

cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge–

take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do your friends despise, forsake you?

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

In his arms he’ll take and shield you;

you will find a solace there.  Amen

Text: Joseph Scriven, 1820-1886

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