Devotions are short reflections on bible verses. The reflection may help us understand the verses and historical context better, remind us of important teachings of Jesus or help us to see a story from a different perspective.
Calvary's weekly devotions are written by Pastor Zach, Synodical Deacon Tanya, Synodical Deacon Bob and members of Calvary. They are emailed out weekly, posted here and on our Facebook page. The most recent is below. To view more, visit our Facebook page.
Wednesday, February 28th
Today’s devotion is from Synod Deacon Tanya, based on Genesis 15:1-6.
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
your very great reward.”
But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
This was part of the story shared with the Sunday School this past Sunday as part of their Lent Activity Eggs. Their egg's have glow in the dark stars in them for them to place in their prayer area. They're encouraged to name their whole extended family and discuss things they love about the various family members. Even as I put out the stars on my table from the egg, I was surprised how many stars were in there (even though I filled the eggs). More stars than I see most nights when I look up at the sky. But, I hope we've all been out on a clear night and had the experience of looking up at the night sky seeing more stars than we could ever possibly count!
I imagine that for Abram and Sarai, there were even more stars visible in their night sky, before light pollution became a thing. To be told, your offspring will be more than the night sky is unbelievable. Especially when you're as old as Abram and Sarai were. But here we see the faith that they have in God. The faith that if God said it were to be true, it will be true. It is through this trust that their lineage continues straight down to Jesus.
Lord, we thank you for the stars in the sky, even when we cannot see them all. We thank you for our family near and far, knowing that we are always under the same night sky. We especially thank you for __________ (fill in family members you are thankful for). Amen
Friday, February 23rd
Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written:
‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written:
‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
I'm sure we've all been there, in that conversation with someone who memorizes Bible passages to use as standalone arguments. It's frustrating. I remember years ago telling a friend that I will never be able to quote Bible passages as he can because I am not good with memorization like that. Doesn't mean his arguments were correct, pulling one quote in order to argue a point without looking at context or themes or motivation or anything other than standalone words. That's what I am reminded of when reading this passage.
Was the devil incorrect in his quote of Psalm 91, no. Psalm 91 says "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone". But Psalm 91 is all about finding shelter and refuge in the Lord. It's about trusting in God to protect us. Not an invitation to throw ourselves down from a high point to see if we'll be caught.
I envision the devil and Jesus as two people who have all the verses memorized, but the devil looks for what fits his narrative, while Jesus looks at the whole picture to see intent. The intent of the quoted words was not to test the Lord, as Jesus rebuts. And in the end, holding onto trust in God, the angels did come. Just because Jesus and the devil didn't see God's protection, didn't mean it wasn't there.
It's the same for us, during hard difficult times, we often may feel like we're battling the devil. But that doesn't mean we're alone. God is always there with us, watching over us and protecting us.