Devotionals

  • Ora et labora. Pray and Work.

    By ruth

    Ora et Labora. Latin for pray and work. A young man sits scribbling on a manuscript lit by candlelight. Above him are the cool walls of his monastery, the only home he has known since he was seven. He will die here. Outside the walls, men and women walk in uncertainty regarding their government, their livelihood, and even their national identity. Everything has changed seemingly overnight. Fear quickly leads to anger and then despair. But inside the priest keeps writing. Doesn’t he get it? Doesn’t he care about the people’s needs? Yes, yes he does. He’s changing their world one word at a time. He is changing the shape of history itself. The man is Bede and the book, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, is his record of how the gospel of Jesus Christ went forth from Rome and came to the shores of England, Ireland, and Scotland—ultimately…

    Continue Reading >

    November 17: The Glory of the Lord

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 42-44, Job 15:17-35, John 11:45-57, 1 John 4:7-21 Ezekiel 42-44: This continued description of the temple in these chapters amounts to much the same as Ezekiel’s previous description—namely a timely reminder of the temple, but in a non-literal sense pointing to the fulfillment of the temple in Christ, in Christ’s people, the gospel-church, and ultimately the New Heaven and the New Earth where God shall be with his people and they shall be glorified with him forever. In these chapters are various elements that are hard precisely to tie down or grasp, but various elements that evoke feelings of awe and magnitude—all of which are intended to lead us to worship God, be awe in of him, repent of our sins, and from a gospel fulfillment point of view, be led to Christ, the fulfillment of the temple in his own body. This glory is shown as very great in…

    Continue Reading >

    November 16: A Temple Vision

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 40-41, Job 15:1-16, John 11:38-44, 1 John 4:1-6Ezekiel 40-41:Matthew Henry, of famous reputation, says this is “justly looked upon to be one of the most difficult portions of scripture in all the book of God. The Jews will not allow any to read it till they are thirty years old, and tell those who do read it that, though they cannot understand every thing in it, ‘when Elias comes he will explain it.’” We are then verging on matters that have perplexed the brilliant, and caused plentiful head scratching among the learned.What shall we make of this vision? To begin with, we should be prosaic. The most obvious answer to the question is that Ezekiel is encouraging the exiles with a vision of the temple—a vision that for them would have seemed strange, after so long away from the former temple. It is practical, in that it gives dimension and…

    Continue Reading >

    Psalm 46 in a World Gone Mad

    By ruth

    There is a place in Acadia National Park, in Maine, where you can see the ocean’s strength displayed, see the forces that batter and smash. It is called Thunder Hole, and is so dramatic that visitors to the park flock dutifully to stand a moment and watch. Dark water, surging into a hidden cave, collides with a pocket of air, creating a roar like thunder, splashing as high as 40 feet into the air. We visited Acadia, paused there and watched the waves crash angrily against the rock. Who is mightier than the thunder of the sea? Who is mightier than the raging nations? God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling...…

    Continue Reading >

    November 15: Know that the Lord is God

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 38-39, Job 14, John 11:17-37, 1 John 3:19-24 Ezekiel 38-39: In Ezekiel 38 and 39, we hear of God’s judgment and opposition upon Gog and Magog, the continued trouble that Israel would face even after it had returned from exile, but God’s final victory over that trouble. We do not know exactly who these opponents of Israel were, perhaps the kings of Syria, as biblical history does not record these later events that are here prophesied. Also, from Revelation 20:8, we know that there is a final further fulfillment related to Gog and Magog that is still yet to come. Throughout these chapters God’s purpose to reveal who he is, his holiness and glory, even in this world of trouble and difficulty, is again and again made clear. “You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring…

    Continue Reading >

    November 14: God’s Word Renewing God’s People

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 35-37, Job 13, John 11:1-16, 1 John 3:11-18 Ezekiel 35-37: Chapter 35 begins with a prophecy against Edom (“Mount Seir”) for their sinful opposition to God’s people: “Because you cherished perpetual enmity and gave over the people of Israel to the power of the sword” (35:5). As if to ensure pride does not thereby ensue to Israel, chapter 36 then announces prophecy against the mountains of Israel (36:1). But, nonetheless, there will be a return from exile: “But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they will soon come home. For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown” (36:8-9). This is not because Israel is more holy but because of God’s concern for his own name: “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel,…

    Continue Reading >

    November 13: Shepherds and Sheep

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 33-34, Job 12, John 10:22-42, 1 John 3:1-10 Ezekiel 33-34: If any had been tempted to think that God’s message through Ezekiel was mere “doom and gloom,” God makes it clear that the warnings that have been given are intended so that people can repent and live. What is more, he makes it clear that there is a responsibility on the “watchman” to issue these warnings; otherwise, the blood of the people who have not been warned, and thus cannot repent, will be on the head of the mute watchman. A messenger then comes to Ezekiel from Jerusalem saying “the city has been struck down” (33:21). Apparently, the inhabitants remain unreasonably confident in Abraham’s blessing, and the covenant commitment of the land (33:24), even though they are not following God or keeping the terms of the covenant. “You rely on the sword, you commit abominations, and each of you defiles…

    Continue Reading >

    November 12: The Fear of God

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 31-32, Job 11, John 10:11-21, 1 John 2:24-29 Ezekiel 31-32: When we read this continuing litany of judgment through Ezekiel from the mouth of God, it is important, critically so, that we do not, if we are Christians, become uncertain of our salvation. We, if we are in Christ, have been rescued. These words then are intended to motivate us to evangelism, proclamation, mission, ministry—but they should not make us doubt our relationship to God, or our standing with Christ in God’s holy presence, perfect and established in a realm of grace and glory. That said, we also need to hear these words of judgment with their full intentionality and resonance. The nations, not just the individuals among them, but whole societies—when outside Christ—are brought low, even to the place of death and judgment. Chapter 31 begins with Pharaoh. “Whom are you like in your greatness?” (31:2). Assyria was…

    Continue Reading >

    November 11: Know that God is Lord

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 29-30, Job 10, John 10:1-10, 1 John 2:18-23 Ezekiel 29-30: Two more chapters of Ezekiel declaring God’s judgment—this time against Egypt. A “sword” will come upon them (29:8). Egypt has expressed overweening arrogance: “Because you said, ‘The Nile is mine, and I made it,’ therefore, behold, I am against you” (29:9-10). There will be restoration, “I will restore the fortunes of Egypt and bring them back to the land of Pathros” (29:14), but this will not be restoration to its former glory. “It shall be the most lowly of the kingdoms, and never again exalt itself above the nations” (29:15). The tool that God will use will be Babylon: “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and he shall carry off its wealth and despoil it and plunder it; and it shall be the wages for his…

    Continue Reading >

    November 10: The Word About God

    By Josh Moody

    Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 27-28, Job 9:21-35, John 9:26-41, 1 John 2:12-17 Ezekiel 27-28: A predominant emphasis throughout the book continues: “The word of the LORD came to me” (27:1, 28:1, 11, 20). Ezekiel speaks God’s word and does not make up his own. Here he is to raise up a “lamentation” against Tyre (27:2)—to speak God’s word against Tyre. Tyre is proud: “You have said, I am perfect in beauty” (27:3). Then for many verses Ezekiel lists all the ways that Tyre thinks that she is special and so great—it goes on and on like listening to someone endlessly boasting about their achievements. Before too long it leaves you somewhat sickened. But, in the end, all this apparent prosperity will turn against her: “The merchants among the peoples hiss at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever” (27:36). Again, in chapter 28, the word of…

    Continue Reading >