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Monday, October 24, 2016

Daily Devotion for February 14, 2013

Seventh plague Egypt from Exodus, John Martin painting
The Seventh Plague by John Martin (ca. 1823). (We know we showed this painting Tuesday but we love it so much we thought it deserved a second showing.)



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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

Heavenly Father, I thank you this morning for all that I have. Even if I have problems with my health, I am alive today. If I have money problems, I will eat today. I have clothes to wear, a roof to protect me, and air to breathe.

Let me never take for granted these gifts of life, oh Lord, but always remember that they come from you; without you, no man could make the sun shine or the tree bear its fruit. I pray to live this day in joy and thankfulness for what I have, remembering always who made me and who keeps me. In the name of Christ I pray,


A Prayer for Lent

Father in Heaven, the light of your truth bestows sight to the darkness of sinful eyes. May this season of repentance bring us the blessing of Your forgiveness and the gift of Your light. Grant this through Christ our Lord.


Prayer for Personal Conduct (from 1 Timothy)

Lord God, I pray that this day my conduct will be like that you have set for your clergy: Above reproach. May I be this day temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, and not violent, but gentle. May I never be quarrelsome, always seeking peace even in disagreement, and may my love be for you and my fellow man, not for money. I pray that I manage my own household well. If I have any children in my charge, I pray to that I may take the time to see that they are in control and behaving with proper respect. Grant me a good reputation with outsiders, so that I will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil. This I pray through my Lord Christ, whose love and attention ever gave us an example of conduct,



All through this day, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.


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

<i>Moses and the Burning Bush</i>, Sebastian Bourdon
Moses and the Burning Bush, Sebastian Bourdon (ca. 1865). Note the symbolic use of color; the earth and all things earthly - even God's earthly manifestations (the burning bush and angels) are shades of brown, while the glorious red and blue of God's robe is barely reflected in the sky.

Risk and Reward

“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy... It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.”

~ David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 9:25-35 (NIV)

The Seventh Plague: Hail [2]

Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree. The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.

Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.”

Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.”

Exodus seventh plague of hail

(The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom. The wheat and spelt, however, were not destroyed, because they ripen later.)

Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the Lord; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.

Notes on the Scripture

In the progression of severity, the seventh plague crosses the line into loss of human life. This is implied rather than stated directly; in the last lesson we learned that those who remained in the field would die, and today, we learn that some Egyptians did, in fact, fail to take cover.

It is a lesson within a lesson. Overall, Pharaoh is being taught that opposition to God means, ultimately, death and ruin. But in the short run, Egypt learns to heed the Word of God in at least a short-term, immediate setting; those who learn the intermediate lesson and have the sense to get indoors, live.

The ruination brought by Pharaoh's continued exercise of pride is moderate. Those who bring their people and animals into shelter lose only part of their food crops; God has not condemned them to starvation.

But Moses makes a grand statement. The great lesson is not that Pharaoh must let the Hebrews go, but that "the earth is the Lord’s."

At Pharaoh's mouthing the right words, praising God's power and promising to let the Hebrews go, Moses prays for the storm to cease, and it does. But note, Moses now realizes that Pharaoh is not sincere and will go back on his promise as soon as the plague ends. Moses is learning a lesson himself: patience. God works His plans in His own good time. To paraphrase an old saying about the law, "The wheel of God grinds slow, but it grinds exceeding small."

endless knot

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2 Peter 1:20-21: First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

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