Daily Devotional

The Words of Hope Devotional is a non-profit, donor-supported publication whose goal is to encourage readers to grow in faith through the practice of daily Bible reading and prayer.

Today's Devotional: 
January 21, 2022

Crescendos of Grace

Read: Romans 11:11-24

So do not become proud, but stand in awe. (v. 20 NRSV)

Lake Emma sits nestled in a small canyon at 12,000 feet in the shadow of Colorado’s Mount Democrat. Standing on one side, I yelled “Hello!” at the top of my lungs, counting four or five echoes before fading out. An echo provides an apt metaphor for Paul’s understanding of God’s mission with one exception. The echoes of God’s grace don’t fade; they grow in volume with each reverberation.

Listen for the echo of grace in today’s reading. God fulfills his promises to Old Testament Israel in Jesus. The gospel sounds off! Many Israelites rejected Jesus. In their “stumble” and “trespass” (v. 11), the gospel echoes to Gentiles, who are “grafted in among the others” (v. 17). Paul experienced this pattern through Acts. He began in each city by preaching to Jews. When they rejected Jesus, he preached to Gentiles, and many were saved (see Acts 18, for example). Paul desires for his own Jewish people to see the echo of God’s grace towards Gentiles and become jealous, and so be grafted in again by God (v. 14). Their return will be as “life from the dead” (v. 15), exploding in good news to the world. The crescendo of grace grows.

There is only one response for those of us grafted in after others’ rejection: “do not become proud, but stand in awe” (v. 20 NRSV). We did nothing to deserve being included. The growing crescendo of grace simply swept over us. May our inclusion lead many others to become followers of Jesus. —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, bow in awe of God’s grace.

Jon Opgenorth

Not Alone

Read: Romans 11:1-10 I have kept for myself seven thousand . . . (v. 4) “It is very hard to be all alone in your faith.” A young Iranian shared those words behind tear-filled eyes as she recounted her testimony

Jon Opgenorth

Beautiful Feet

Read: Romans 10:5-21 And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? (v. 14) Two years ago I sat around a small fireplace high in the mountains of Arunachal Pradesh, India, among a few Monpa-language

Jon Opgenorth

When To-Do Lists Fail

Read: Romans 9:30-10:4 They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (10:2) I love my daily to-do list. It keeps me focused on activities that will help accomplish my goals. I take pleasure in checking the boxes

Jon Opgenorth

A Place to Belong

Read: Romans 9:19-29 Those who were not my people I will call “my people.” (v. 25) In today’s passage, Paul deals with a challenging question about God’s mercy: why are some saved and others are not? It’s a question that

Jon Opgenorth

Children of Promise

Read: Romans 9:1-18 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (v. 16) Having older sisters who excelled in the high school and college I would attend brought an unexpected advantage. Professors

Laura Sweet

The New Jerusalem

Read: Revelation 22:1-14 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (v. 4) Think about the great nations of the world, and you will probably think of their capital cities: London, Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, and

Laura Sweet

New Heaven and New Earth

Read: Revelation 21:1-14 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. (v. 1) Any fan of TV home makeover shows will tell you that there is a

Laura Sweet

A New Body

Read: 1 Corinthians 15:48-58 This mortal body must put on immortality. (v. 53) Eventually, everything will wear itself out. Cars, refrigerators, your smartphone and your favorite pair of jeans—they will either break or wear out or become obsolete. The same

Laura Sweet

A New Future

Read: Isaiah 25:1-9 He will swallow up death forever. (v. 8) We have looked at what God has done for us to make us new creations in Christ, and what he is doing to conform us to the image of

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