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Friday, August 22, 2014

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Daily Devotion for August 22, 2014

<i>Jeroboam Sacrifices to the Golden Calf</i> by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, ca. 1656.
Jeroboam Sacrifices to the Golden Calf by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, ca. 1656. This is the first Jeroboam, the initial King of Israel after the kingdom divided, who built the two golden calves that would, eventually, lead to the utter destruction of Israel.



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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.


The great Karl Richter playing the great Toccata and Fugue in D minor by the great J.S. Bach on the great 1766 Riepp organ at Ottobeuren Monastery, Germany, is just, well, too great for words.

Prayer for the Morning

Dear Lord, thank you for this beautiful day. Look after me and protect me throughout the day. Give me the wisdom to see and experience Your world in all its beauty. Let me experience the wonder of your creation.

Protect my family and those closest to me. Let me share with the world today, learning, growing, and contributing, and make the world a better place for all who know me, and for those who don't.


Prayer for Deliverance

Dear Lord, grant me, I beseech you, your divine helping grace. Endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to your will. You know my misery and suffering. I flee to you, my only hope and refuge, for relief and comfort, trusting to your infinite love and compassion; that in due time, you will deliver me from all the trials of this life and turn my distress into comfort. I rejoice in your mercy. I exalt and praise your holy name, oh Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: now and forever.



[I flee to you, my only hope and refuge.]


Let me not forget you as I go forth into the world this day, blessed Lord; may my every word be a prayer, and my every act be testimony to your love and truth, and may I know your presence every second of this day.


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

<i>Interior of a Church</i> by Max Emanuel Ainmiller, ca. 1860.
Interior of a Church by Max Emanuel Ainmiller, ca. 1860.

Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.

Blue Latin Cross

Hosea 6, 8 (excerpts) (ESV)

Come, let us return to the LORD.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.

He will revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live before Him.

What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
For your loyalty is like a morning cloud
And like the dew which goes away early.

For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

         *         *         *

They made kings, but not through me.
They set up princes, but I knew it not.
With their silver and gold they made idols
for their own destruction.

For it is from Israel;
a craftsman made it;
it is not God.
The calf of Samaria
shall be broken to pieces.

For they sow the wind,
and they shall reap the whirlwind.

Notes on the Scripture

Israel after Solomon (19): Hosea’s Prophecies

in Chapters 1 to 3 of Hosea, he provides a visible symbol of the broken relationship between God and the people of Israel, the ten tribes in the Northern Kingdom. At the end, Hosea finds and redeems Gomer, buying her back to be his wife; a message of hope to the Hebrews that God might someday forgive them.

The remaining 12 chapters are long, somewhat disjointed and sometimes difficult to follow unless one wants to really invest a few hours to read them thoroughly. Most people will choose not to and, indeed, with good reason. There are many parts of the Bible to study, and most of them are more profitable to growth in faith than the enormous body of prophecy. Most of the prophecy states one basic message in 1,000 different ways: The Hebrews have forsaken God by worshipping idols and He is going to punish them for it, by destruction of their kingdoms. Repent and turn back to God. Then, in a much smaller number of verses, there is the promise of a Messiah who will effectuate their redemption.

There are two famous passages from Hosea. First, the phrase, “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” As a famous quote in popular culture, it has lost some of its impact in the past 100 years, but it is still recognizable to most educated people.

Second is the sentence, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6, KJV) This will ring a bell with most Christians, because Jesus quotes it, twice in Matthew and once in Mark. (Matthew 9:13) It sums up a primary point of His teaching in His early ministry; that love and faith in one’s heart, not the empty formal practice of religious ritual, underlay even the law of Moses. It is His criticism of the Pharisees, the way in which He shows them how they have gone wrong, even under the Old Covenant.

Hosea has one peculiarity: He uses the tribe of Ephraim, the largest and most powerful of the ten tribes in the Northern Kingdom, as his whipping boy. It is a synecdocheA synecdoche is a specific kind of metaphor, in which a part of something is used to represent the entirety. The expression “hired hand”, for example, is meant to represent a person, not just his hand.: where we read “Ephraim” we are to understand that he is talking about the entire Kingdom of Israel.

Also finally, you might have noted the phrase, “He will raise us up on the third day,” a prophecy of Christ.

endless knot

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“Our Whole Heart”

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Update — July 12, 2014

We hope we have fixed a small problem that has been bugging us for a long time: how to center both the top picture and the headling (Daily Devotion for . . .) across a wide variety of screen sizes and platforms. We have also added a subtle grey line to separate the advertising column from the content, which we hope will make the page just a tiny bit more attractive, and the ads a tiny bit less distracting.

Update — July 4, 2014

If you look at Page Two, you will notice that we have begun to transition from informational or editorial comment to a more inspirational message. The name of the link has been changed to “Daily Inspiration”. It's hard to tell how long it will take us to put this into a different format and, eventually, an email; but it will take a while, at least several months. This will be a Monday-Friday deal, probably.

By Mason Barge