Weekly Devotions & Daily Readings

2023 Devotional – Week of January 22
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Reflection for the Week of January 22

By Rev. Dr. Jenny Smith

The beginning of the story is breathtakingly beautiful. The Holy Spirit moves over chaotic water and brings forth life. God nourishes and forms the earth and calls his masterpiece “very good.” The Mighty One then moves into the garden and fashions humanity in the image of a good God. 
All was just right in Eden…until it wasn’t. Adam and Eve disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit. In guilt, they hide from God as he calls out to them in the garden. God’s nature has not been changed – the God of grace pursues them, still! But their nature has changed. They feel guilt, and they recognize the distance they have put between them and their creator. God does not destroy them. He gives room for a new relationship to be formed, but the damage is done. 
This week you will read about the unraveling of humanity. Our “goodness” gets stained by the blood of the siblings we abuse. Greed, violence, and competition corrupt the humans and destroy their community. “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.  The Lord was grieved… and his heart was filled with pain” (Genesis 6:5-6). Our harshness pains the heart of our creator to the point of action.  God will wipe away this depraved humanity through a flood – except for this one Noah who somehow has escaped sin’s suffocating grasp and who lives in God’s goodness.   
As you read the flood story, consider the depths of God’s grief over the evil of his people. Take time to ask the Lord if anything about your life grieves him. Consider the just and deadly consequences for sin.  What do you think God hoped to accomplish by the flood? Ponder God’s promise marked by the rainbow. If God will no longer wash away the sinful by a flood, how will God make a way for sin to be delt with? What will wash away our sins now?  

Our Journey In Grace
Begin each day by reading the daily scripture and drinking a refreshing glass of water! End your day with the prayer for the week.

Prayer For The Week

Creator God, your formed us in your image and entrusted us with your good creation. You showed us the way of life and love and advised us to live within your protective boundaries. But we are selfish, ignorant, and fearful. We resist your guidance. We take advantage of your earth and harm your people.  We cause brokenness and are broken. Forgive us for our rebellion, our selfishness, and the harm we have caused. By your grace wash us clean; rid us of our sin; restore us to the goodness for which we were created. Amen.