Daily Devotion for July 7, 2012
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.
(Note: Composers frequently repeat, omit, or put phrases out of order.)
O magnum mysterium,
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
A string of opinions no more constitutes faith, than a string of beads constitutes holiness.
~ John Wesley
Micah 1:1-7 (The Message)
The Destruction of Sin
God's Message as it came to Micah of Moresheth. It came during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. It had to do with what was going on in Samaria and Jerusalem. God Takes the Witness Stand.
Listen, people — all of you. Listen, earth, and everyone in it: The Master, God, takes the witness stand against you, the Master from his Holy Temple.
Look, here he comes! God, from his place! He comes down and strides across mountains and hills. Mountains sink under his feet, valleys split apart; The rock mountains crumble into gravel, the river valleys leak like sieves.
All this because of Jacob's sin, because Israel's family did wrong.
You ask, "So what is Jacob's sin?" Just look at Samaria — isn't it obvious? And all the sex and religion shrines in Judah — isn't Jerusalem responsible?
"I'm turning Samaria into a heap of rubble, a vacant lot littered with garbage. I'll dump the stones from her buildings in the valley and leave her abandoned foundations exposed. All her carved and cast gods and goddesses will be sold for stove wood and scrap metal, All her sacred fertility groves burned to the ground, All the sticks and stones she worshiped as gods, destroyed.
These were her earnings from her life as a whore. This is what happens to the fees of a whore."
Notes on the Scripture
The Message is a translation by Eugene Peterson, published in 2002, in a "contemporary idiom that keeps the language of the Message (Bible) current and fresh and understandable." It is not intended as a primary Bible, but as an aid to help two very different groups of people: Those who have spent their lives studying the Bible and are getting a bit stale, who benefit from reading it in a new light; and those who have never been exposed to it and are alienated by the archaic and difficult language. So take it for what it is worth. Try to enjoy it, rather than being critical.
The verses presented today predict the destruction of the northern half of the Hebrew kingdom. After Solomon's death, Israel was divided into two kingdoms. Israel (Samaria) in the north was ruled by usurpers, starting with Jeroboam, wicked men who promoted idolatry. Judah (Jerusalem) in the south struggled to keep the Old Covenant under the old line of kings. The baleful Old Testament prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah, came from this period, warning of the destruction that would follow the diminishing righteousness of the Hebrew nations.
Soon after Micah's prophesy, the northern kingdom — whose capital was Samaria — was conquered and devastated by the Assyrians. The people were largely sold into slavery.
One thing this translation accomplishers is to make us wonder what will happen to the United States and Europe, as the population moves away from a general acceptance of Christianity and Christian morality, into an ethos entirely determined by worship of self, fame and money. If you replace "Samaria" with "Hollywood", the idea that it might be turned into "a heap of rubble, a vacant lot littered with garbage" sounds very disturbing.
Oddly, Christians themselves are less affected than the general population, for we are more concerned with our own conduct and the salvation of others' souls than with political and economic power. But one has to wonder whether the general decline in moral standards in the West is connected to their ongoing decline as the world's leaders.