Daily Devotion for January 25, 2013
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.
Tennessee Ernie Ford was a popular gospel singer in the 50s. His style sounds corny today, but it is full of heartfelt Christian spirit.
But I must go alone
Till the Lord comes and calls, calls me away.
Well the morning's so bright
And the lamp is alight
And the night, night is as fair as the day.
[Alt: And the night is as dark as the sea.]
There will be peace in the valley for me,
There will be peace in the valley for me,
oh Lord I pray.
There'll be no sadness, no sorrow
No trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me.
Well the bear will be gentle
And the wolves will be tame,
And the lion shall lay down by the lamb.
And the beasts from the wild
Shall be led by a child,
And I'll be changed, changed from this creature
That I am.
Prayer at Daybreak (by Archimandrite Sophronios)
O Lord Eternal and Creator of all things, who with your unknowable goodness called me to this life; I have no life, no light, no joy or wisdom, no strength except in you, O God. I entreat you, teach me to pray aright. Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit. Bless this day which you give to me, your unworthy servant.
By the power of your blessing enable me, throughout this day, to speak and act to your glory with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage and wisdom. Let me be always aware of your presence. By the power of your love, grant me to hold fast to that which is good. Preserve me from every word or deed that corrupts the soul; from every impulse unpleasing in your sight and hurtful to my fellow man, my brothers and sister.
This in Christ's name, I pray,
Prayer for the Nation
Almighty God, who has given us this good land for our heritage; I humbly pray that we may always prove ourselves a people who remember your favor and are glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought here from so many different lands and languages. Grant the spirit of wisdom those to whom we entrust with the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may demonstrate your praise among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in days of trouble, do not let our trust in you fail; all which I ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in his sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 18:9 (NKJV)
He who is slothful in his work
Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.
Exodus 4:27-31 (ESV)
Moses Returns to Egypt
The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which he had sent him to speak, and all the signs that he had commanded him to do.
Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people.
And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.
Notes on the Scripture
In this world, things constantly become less organized if left to themselves. There is actually a law in physics that says this (in a very complicated way) called the "Second Law of Thermodynamics". If you build anything, it will begin to disintegrate the second it is built. If you build a house, you either have to repair it as time goes by, or it will become more and more decrepit until it eventually falls down.
The law applies (unfortunately!) to our own bodies, as it does to all animals. We begin to die the minute we are born, because our cellular structure begins to gradually become disorganized.
And more to the point, the principle applies to our relationship with God. Unlike our house, we don't call the fixing up of our relationship with God "repair" — we use the term "renewal" or, in the case of widespread societal religion, "revival". But the principle is the same. Because we are part of this world, either we renew and revive our spiritual life, or else it will gradually become more and more corrupt and, eventually, fall into ruin.
In today's Scripture, we see the first great example of deterioration of faith in God over time, followed by a great revival. We don't know exactly how long the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt; 300 years is a reasonable estimate. But we do know that the two simple rules of God's covenant with Abraham — worshipping the Lord and circumcising male infants — had fallen into disregard among the Hebrews by the time of Moses.
The first chapters of Exodus do not address the Hebrews' idolatry directly, but we know of it indirectly. Both Joshua and Ezekiel condemn the widespread idolatry of the Hebrews in Egypt. (Joshua 24:14; Ezekiel 20:7) As we saw in yesterday's Scripture, Moses himself failed to circumcise his son! And before we even finish Exodus, we will see the Hebrews build the famous golden calf.
But for now, we see a huge renewal of faith, sparked by God Himself through his reluctant agent, Moses. Aaron is moved by the Lord to find Moses in the wilderness, where Moses tells him all that has happened. Then they go together to gather up all of the tribal elders, and Moses demonstrates for them the three signs given to him. Their belief in God is rekindled. It is the first great revival meeting.