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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Daily Devotion for January 21, 2013



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lessons and scripture

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.


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 of Thanks for This Life

O  God in heaven, I was born a weak, defenseless child, but your angel spread his wings over my cradle to defend me. From birth until now your love has illumined my path and has wondrously guided me towards the light of eternity; from birth until now the generous gifts of your providence have been marvelously showered upon me. I give you thanks for every step of my life's journey, together with all who have come to know you, who call upon your name. All glory be to you, O God, from age to age,


Benediction (from Colossians 3)

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me all this day; and whatever I do in word or deed, may I do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.


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

Marc Chagall painting of Moses and the Serpent staff
God Turns Moses' Staff into a Serpent by Russian primitivist Marc Chagall, ca. 1966.


An honest man with an open Bible and a pad and pencil is sure to find out what is wrong with him very quickly.

~ M.L. Tozer

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 4:1-9 (ESV)

God Gives Moses Two Signs

Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.

But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail” — so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand — “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

Moses, burning bush, staff: modern stained glass

Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh.

“If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”

Notes on the Scripture

There is little wonder at Moses' confusion. He hardly knows who God is; in fact, Moses is only barely "Jewish". He was raised like an orphan, part Egyptian by training, and for forty years he has been living as a Midian shepherd. Moreover, God has been silent for centuries. Having set the creation of the Hebrew nation into motion, He has simply let it grow.

When God appears to this unlikely prophet, this nobody all alone in the middle of nowhere, it does not seem like a moment of great significance, especially after the momentous events of Genesis. But it is a turning point in the relationship between man and God; the beginning of the redemption of mankind from the pit of sin it had built (and always continues to build) for itself. For Moses is anti-Adam.

His first action when God calls him is to come, to obey; we must immediately remember, by contrast, Adam hiding when called. And once we bring Adam to mind, the wooden staff and serpent take on another dimension, for the serpent symbolizes Satan. Moses (again, unlike Adam) shrinks from the serpent in fear. When He transforms the serpent back into a staff, God shows Moses something more than a magic trick to impress Egyptians; He shows him the power to overcome the serpent and make it the servant of man.

The second sign is one of healing. God makes Moses appear sick so that He can show his power to heal; and this will be a great sign for Christ and his disciples, for as illness is the corruption of the human body, sin is the corruption of the human soul.

The third sign, water into blood, runs as a theme throughout the Bible. Again, we see a hint of Christ to come (and there is no shortage of parallels between Christ and Moses). This miracle is a promise, that God will bring His righteousness to flesh-and-blood humans.

The water of the Nile is also physical life to Egypt; the Nile is the source of Egypt's water and thus its food. To pour out water onto the desert hardscrabble is to waste it, just as Pharaoh wastes the lives of God's chosen people to create great idolatrous monuments to his pride. But they will not be wasted. The signs or symbols Moses will show Pharaoh are both a demonstration and a warning, that it is God, and not Pharaoh, who truly has the power of life and death. And God has no intention of allowing Pharaoh to waste the Hebrews; they are His chosen people.

endless knot

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