Daily Devotion for February 7, 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.
And perhaps we'll never meet any more,
Till we gather in Heaven's bright city
Far away on that beautiful shore.
If we never meet again this side of Heaven
As we struggle through this world and its strife,
There's another meeting place somewhere in Heaven
By the side of the river of life.
Where the charming roses bloom forever
And where separations come no more,
If we never meet again this side of Heaven
I will meet you on that beautiful shore.
Oh, they say that we shall meet by the river,
Where no storm clouds ever darken the sky,
And they say that we'll be happy in Heaven,
In the wonderful sweet by and by.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,
Prayer for Humility
Heavenly Father, who sent your Son to ride on an ass and to work as a simple carpenter: if you so humbled yourself to save me, how can I puff myself up with pride above others? Let me follow Christ's example, never to inflate myself with pride of status, of opinion, or of any of the gifts you have bestowed upon me.
Give me the grace to realize my ignorance, admit my mistakes, recognize my needs. Let me welcome good advice and sound rebuke, without defensiveness. Grant me always to praise rather than criticize, sympathize rather than discourage, build rather than destroy, and when I am angry at the ignorance of another, to recall my own ignorance and remember that we are all your beloved children. Let my hope and glory be ever in you, and not in my own vanity. This I ask in Christ's sake,
May I go in peace, with God and with his other children, and may we love one another as Christ taught us. May I follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort and help me and all who believe in Him, both in this world and in the world which is to come.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Take a Break
Come now . . . fly for a moment from your affairs, escape for a little while from the tumults of your thoughts. Put aside now your weighty cares and leave your wearisome toils. Abandon yourself for a little to God and rest for a little in him.
~ Anselm of Canterbury (1088 A.D.)
Exodus 8:16-19 (The Message)
The Third Plague: Gnats (Strike Three: Gnats)
God said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and strike the dust. The dust will turn into gnats all over Egypt.’”
He did it. Aaron grabbed his staff and struck the dust of the Earth; it turned into gnats, gnats all over people and animals. All the dust of the Earth turned into gnats, gnats everywhere in Egypt.
The magicians tried to produce gnats with their incantations but this time they couldn’t do it. There were gnats everywhere, all over people and animals.
The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is God’s doing.” But Pharaoh was stubborn and wouldn’t listen. Just as God had said.
Notes on the Scripture
A Bit About Bible Translations
The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language was translated from the Greek and Hebrew by Eugene H. Peterson; he published it piecemeal for eight years, finishing in eight years. The language is so informal that it often sounds like slang. His purpose was "to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who hadn't read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become 'old hat'."
The Message is not very accurate; Petersen was trying to create a document that would stimulate and encourage more than one that would be useful as a theological tool. All Bible translators face a tension between accuracy and readability, called the "dynamic and formal equivalence spectrum". The Message falls at the extreme end of the "dynamic" side. In fact, Petersen himself admits to being a bit uneasy when a passage from The Message is read in church as teachable Scripture.
I hated it when I first read it, but I have gradually come to realize what Petersen meant by having a translation that might shake up people who were getting a bit jaded. Now, I get a kick out of it. The passage today is actually reasonably accurate, enough to learn the lesson of the verses fully.
"Strike Three: Gnats"
The third plague shows a clear progression in the nature of the signs given to, and inflicted upon, Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The frogs were irritating, but they did not physically attack people. The gnats go a step further, because they actually assault the body, getting into people's eyes and noses. It is not a serious assault; the gnats do no harm. But still, there is a distinct difference between making the environment less comfortable, as in the first two plagues, and directly attacking people's bodies.
The plague is also now higher-level, because it cannot even be reproduced by Pharaoh's magicians, much less reversed or stopped. God is giving Pharaoh the chance to relent with a minimum amount of damage, raising the bar one step at a time. It is an Old Testament form of "progressive discipline".