Daily Devotion for January 26, 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.
Bocelli performs an ancient hymn, words by St. Augustine of Hippo.
Lyrics by St. Augustine; Music by Cesar Franck
Prayer for God to Dwell with Us Today
Holy Jesus, who has promised that if we love you, you and the Father will love us and come to us and make your home with us, I give you my love without reservation. Your words are sacred and I aspire to live by them, this day and always, and I glorify you for your sacrifice of pain and death, for no other reason than to give salvation and eternal life to me and to all who follow you.
Bless me this day to live with your Spirit, to resist temptation to evil, and to show your joy and love to all. Make your home with me, that I might be truly blessed, I pray,
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Dedication to Service
Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray,
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
When life caves in, you do not need reasons, you need comfort. You do not need some answers, you need someone. And Jesus does not come to us with an explanation . . . He comes to us with His presence.
~ Bob Benson
Exodus 5:1-12 (ESV)
Making Bricks Without Straw
Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”
Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.”
But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.” And Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens!”
The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our god.’ Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.”
So the taskmasters and the foremen of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. Go and get your straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced in the least.’” So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw.
Notes on the Scripture
Pharaoh is the prototypical jerk boss. He is a bully with complete power. How would we feel if we asked our boss, "Can I have three days off to attend my sister's wedding?" and he answered, "If you have so much idle time you can just take off for three days, you don't have enough to do," and then gives you additional work instead of the time off you'd requested. We'd start looking for another job — and this is just what God has planned.
Of course, the stakes are higher for the Hebrews; they are slaves and Pharaoh has life-and-death power over them. And most of us do not have jobs approaching the harshness of making mud bricks in the hot Egyptian sun, from dawn to dusk.
But Pharaoh has not simply treated the Hebrews cruelly; he has also interfered with the worship of the one true God, the God of real power. The Hebrews are not asking for a long weekend in the Bahamas, but rather, time to make obeisance to the Lord. Pharaoh certainly mistreats the Hebrews; but he makes an even greater mistake by effectively preventing God from being worshipped.
Pharaoh asks "Who is Yahweh", meaning two things. First, he simply doesn't know who God is. But more, it is a statement of disdain: Who does this "Yahweh" think he is, to give orders to the Pharaoh of Egypt? He then refuses to use the name again, paraphrasing their request as "let us go and sacrifice to our god" as if Yahweh is just another half-man, half-beast statute.
Pharaoh's concept of a god does not give him the background even to understand what Moses and Aaron are saying.He thinks that they are, essentially, lying. Like every nonbeliever, then as now, God's Word is just a bunch of nonsense that impedes his ability to set his own terms for life, a silly morality invented by someone else to impede his creative power and interfere with his enjoyment of life.