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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Daily Devotion for November 25, 2015

Moses on Mount Sinai, Siena Duomo
Moses on Mt. Sinai (detail) by Domenico Beccafumi ca. 1520. This work is, remarkably, a marble inlay on the floor of the Duomo (Cathedral) in Siena, Italy. (See full-size)



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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Morning Thanks and Praise

I thank You for the temporal blessings of this world — the refreshing air, the light of the sun, the food that renews strength, the raiment that clothes, the dwelling that shelters, the sleep that gives rest, the starry canopy of night, the summer breeze, the flowers' sweetness, the music of flowing streams, the happy endearments of family, kindred, and friends. Things animate, things inanimate, minister to my comfort. My cup runs over.

Do not allow me to be insensible to these daily mercies. Your hand bestows blessings; Your power averts evil. I bring my tribute of thanks for spiritual graces, the full warmth of faith, the cheering presence of our Spirit, the strength of Your restraining will, Your spiking of hell's artillery. Blessed be my sovereign Lord!


Concerning Forgiveness

Father, I ask you to help me to be generous when I think of the attitude and actions of others. Forgiving someone isn't an easy option, and I know that forgiveness isn't somehow pretending that something wrong hasn't happened. For what I have done wrong, forgive me Father. Let me remember your words, that as we forgive others, so shall we be forgiven, and to live in obedience to your word.



[The daily mercies of God.]


Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you”; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

endless knot

Exodus 20:18-21 (ESV)

The Israelites Are Afraid of God

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”

Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.”

The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

Notes on the Scripture

If we were to witness this today — a mountain covered with cloud, with bright flashes of lightning showing through at the top, and an ear-splitting noise like a trumpet, and then a loud voice speaking to us — we would look around for the person responsible, David Copperfield perhaps, the "man behind the curtain". But the Hebrews could not explain it by technology. It did not exist.


hey knew for certain that it was God they were seeing and . . . they did not like the experience. They had seen the actions of this Being, done for their benefit, to deliver them from Egypt, and those were terrifying enough: a great body of water opening to let them pass and then collapsing on the Egyptians; a silent angel who came in the night and killed every firstborn. How terrified would we be, if one night the eldest child of every woman and female beast were to die, for no discernible cause.

The fact is, seeing and hearing the overwhelming sensory experience of Mount Sinai, and knowing what a fearful Being God actually is, they realize that they cannot experience Him without dying. For, like us, they are full of sin. God, in the presence of sinfulness, becomes an angry God to be feared to the utmost. A human being cannot face Him and survive.

God appears to the Hebrews to give them the Ten Commandments directly; and here, we see a second purpose. He intends to save the Hebrews (and, eventually, all those who will follow His Son). But the beginning of salvation, like the beginning of wisdom, is fear of the Lord. If we do not fear God, we will die. For we and the world we live in are His creation and like any creator, He will edit His work. The parts that are true to His vision will live on for eternity, for God is not bound by time; but the parts that offend Him, He will remove.

So this is the second purpose of God's appearance to the Hebrews. No longer will any of them desire to see God. Rather, they will take instruction from His prophet, so that they might become worthy to appear before Him some day.

Death on a Pale Horse, Bible Book of Revelation
Death on a Pale Horse, another fearful depiction of the Divinity, this one a scene from Revelation by William Blake, ca. 1800.

Daily Inspiration

“Reflecting Our Father”

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