Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK TWO
ORBIT – DAY SEVEN
Hello and welcome to another Orbit – the daily devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Each day we give you a short passage of the Bible to reflect on, a way of putting it into practice in your life, and a chance to pray and reflect.
BIBLE READING: Acts 13: 16-23
It’s a bit of a long one today – but it’s all so important. Here’s the background: Saul is now called Paul, and he’s travelled to what’s now called Turkey to speak in the Jewish synagogue. Here’s what happens:
Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness; and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. All this took about 450 years.
“After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
“From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Saviour Jesus, as he promised.”
Paul gets through a lot of history, very quickly! In this passage, he tells the entire story of the nation of Israel – how God chose them, led them into the promised land, then installed a series of kings over them – the best of whom was King David, who tried to keep Israel in a good relationship with God. This story would have been incredibly familiar to everyone listening – it was the story on which they built their whole lives.
But Paul’s story has a twist – it’s the same story they’ve told themselves for hundreds of years, but with a new ending. He’s telling the Jewish people that the saviour that their entire history was always pointing towards, has arrived – and his name is Jesus. This is a pretty controversial thing for him to be saying – and while some people are immediately won over by his arguments, others are less impressed. For some people hearing this story though, this news makes sense of everything they’ve ever known and talked about. Until now they only had the first part of their story – and now Jesus provides the conclusion – the happy ending.
For us, this same realisation kind of happens in reverse. We tend to discover God through meeting or hearing about Jesus. But then, when we join God’s family, we start to learn all the family history. And perhaps just like Paul’s Jewish listeners discovered the second part of the story, we need to do our best to discover the first part.
The Old Testament – which tells the story of God’s people from the beginning right through to a few hundred years before Jesus arrived – is incredibly important to Christians, because it tells us much more about what God is like, and how he relates to us and the world. And while we might have a stereotypical understanding of the Old Testament God as angry and warmongering, when you actually read the story, you realise that this is exactly the same God of love and grace, who has been trying to build connection with the people he created, all throughout history.
We are part of an incredible story – and we can discover much more of that story, and find our place in it, when we read the Bible. But even though we’re probably much more comfortable with the New Testament, the Old Testament is rich, and varied and exciting – and we don’t need to be scared of it. One of the most incredibly fulfilling things a person can experience is the realisation that we’re part of something much bigger, and the Bible – the whole Bible – is the greatest tool we have to help us to understand that.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
God, I thank you for the incredible story of how you have been at work, and are now at work in the world – and I thank you even more that I am a part of that unfolding story today. Help me to read and get excited about the whole of your word, and please speak to me through it about my own life. Amen.
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
This might not surprise you – but today’s challenge is to choose a passage of the Old Testament to read and think about. Since there are a few more tricky bits, here’s a few sections to choose from – Deuteronomy 6; 1 Samuel 3; or Psalm 19 (which might just be my favourite Psalm) – but of course you’re welcome to choose any part you like. Just read the passage, see what you think it tells you about God, and then maybe talk to one other person about what you read, and what it meant to you.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!