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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Daily Devotion for February 8, 2013

Fifth Plague of Egypt (Exodus 8), Joseph Turner ca. 1800
The Fifth Plague of Egypt by Joseph Turner ca. 1800. Although the dead horse in the foreground ties this to the fifth plague, Turner captures the general drama of the plagues of Egypt with his use of scope, contrast, and his trademark tumultuous sky. Full-size



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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.


Old movie buffs will recognize this scene immediately. Unlike later movies about the Titanic, the quartet here plays an older British tune of Nearer My God to Thee, which was the one actually played on the Titanic.

(from A Night to Remember, 1958)

Prayer for the Morning

You are ushering in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God if You'll renew me too?

Forgive the many errors, that I made yesterday, And let me try again dear God, to walk closer in Thy way.

But Father, I am well aware, I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.


Prayer for Physical Renewal

Lord, I come before you today in need of your healing hand. In you all things are possible. Hold my heart within yours, and renew my mind, body, and soul.

I am lost, but I am singing. You gave me life, and you also give me the gift of infinite joy. Give me the strength to move forward on the path you've laid out for me. Guide me towards better health, and give me the wisdom to identify those you've placed around me to help me get better. In your name I pray,



As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.


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

Guardian angel, Come unto me all you who travail weary, Bible Matthew 11:28

Psalm 116:5-7 (ESV)

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.
The Lord protects the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 8:20-30 (ESV)

The Fourth Plague: Flies

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh, as he goes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. Or else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants and your people, and into your houses. And the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand.

But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.”’”

And the Lord did so. There came great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his servants' houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt the land was ruined by the swarms of flies.

blue bottle fly

Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” But Moses said, “It would not be right to do so, for the offerings we shall sacrifice to the Lord our God are an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice offerings abominable to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? We must go three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as he tells us.”

So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you must not go very far away. Plead for me.”

Then Moses said, “Behold, I am going out from you and I will plead with the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow. Only let not Pharaoh cheat again by not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.”

So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. And the Lord did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; not one remained. But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go.

Notes on the Scripture

Commentary can add little to this straightforward narrative. The plagues are progressive. As miserable as swarms of gnats may have been, flies are worse, for flies are associated with death. Perhaps they were not understood fully as vectors of disease; but in ancient Egypt, just as today, they seem to appear from nowhere when a corpse or dead animal is left unattended. The flies are thus not merely a misery, but a warning; it is as if Egypt is a corpse.

As the plagues are progressive, Pharaoh's responses are progressive. He has abandoned his magicians. Although he will never fully grasp the nature of Yahweh, the one true God, his primitive theology at least realizes that the juju of this Hebrew god is powerful.

He has also begun to bargain. Pharaoh will never become trustworthy; his pride, which will lead him to break any promise at his will, will thus lead him to ultimate destruction. But, his pride bends enough to offer concessions. He finally agrees to let the Hebrews travel into the wilderness to worship. He just cannot bring himself to actually fulfill his promise.

endless knot

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Romans 10:9: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved

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