Daily Devotion for August 14, 2012
Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicholas Poussin, c. 1634
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.
Pastor Dewey Smith gets everybody going with an old gospel song.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
1 Corinthians 10:1-12 (JBP)
Spiritual experience does not guarantee infallibility
For I should like to remind you, my brothers, that our ancestors all had the experience of being guided by the cloud in the desert and of crossing the sea dry-shod. They were all, so to speak, “baptized” into Moses by these experiences. They all shared the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink (for they drank from the spiritual rock which followed them, and that rock was Christ).
Yet in spite of all these wonderful experiences many of them failed to please God, and left their bones in the desert. Now in these events our ancestors stand as examples to us, warning us not to crave after evil things as they did. Nor are you to worship false gods as they did. The scripture says — 'The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.'
Neither should we give way to sexual immorality as did some of them, for we read that twenty-three thousand fell in a single day! Nor should we dare to exploit the goodness of God as some of them did, and fell victims to poisonous snakes. Nor yet must you curse the lot that God has appointed to you as they did, and met their end at the hand of the angel of death.
Now these things which happened to our ancestors are illustrations of the way in which God works, and they were written down to be a warning to us who are the heirs of the ages which have gone before us.
So let the man who feels sure of his standing today be careful that he does not fall tomorrow.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul describes the eternal war between God and the temptations of the human mind, using the Exodus as the framework for showing how powerful temptation may be. We sometimes hear people with a difficult decision say that they wish they had "a sign from God", but they are kidding themselves. The enemy is always with us, and does not lose his power simply because we are baptized, or witness a miracle.
If there was ever a group of people who got a sign from God, it was the Hebrews leaving Egypt. Aside from the florid account of the Exodus itself, the Hebrews in the desert were given a miracle every day, for they were fed in a place with no source of food, and water was given to them in a place that was, by definition, utterly dry. God rose before them as a pillar of smoke to show them their path.
Paul's assertion that "many of them left their bones in the desert" because they failed to follow God's law, even in the direct vision of daily miracles, is an understatement. Of the men who left Egypt, only Aaron and Caleb reached the Promised Land. Even in the direct face of repeated miracles, the tribe devolved into lechery, idolatry, and who-knows-what-all. And the Corinthians, similarly, had let themselves slip into pride, lust, greed, and idolatry.
But how about us? Where are our miracles? We don't wander in a desert with God raining food down upon us. Except, of course, we do. Did we make the soil, the rain, the sun, the air, or the corn and wheat? But even so, we do not have a pillar of smoke leading our way. Except, again, we do. God is not leading our bodies to a place, as he did with the Hebrews. He is leading our hearts, minds and souls to a place where we can love Him and be saved, and our pillar of smoke is the Bible, which will guide our way every day and night.