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Daily Devotion for February 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.
Prayer for the Day
Holy God, you have given me another day. Bring your Holy Spirit into my mind and my life, so that I may walk this day in your presence. Let me feel your presence throughout the day, remembering always that you sent your Spirit that you might be a living force in all I see and all I do. When I feel temptation or begin to stray, show me your path. Correct me, comfort me, let me live your will; that I may be happy in this life and blessed in the life to come. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord.
A Prayer for Fasting
Holy Lord God, who by your word reminds us of all who have offered you the gift of fasting as a symbol of contrition; Guide me in my denial of worldly pleasure during this season of repentance, that I may always be reminded of the sin that Christ died to overcome; and accept, I pray, the offering I give you with my body in memory of Christ's suffering.
Prayer of Abandonment
Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all Your creatures — I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence,
For you are my Father.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
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.
Proverbs 19:15 (NKJV)
Laziness casts one into a deep sleep,
And an idle person will suffer hunger.
Exodus 12:29-32 (ESV)
The Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn
At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock.
And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead.
Then he summoned Moses and Aaron by night and said, “Up, go out from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as you have said. Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone, and bless me also!”
Notes on the Scripture
When reading this chilling narrative, we must first call to mind the very first events in Exodus 1. A new Pharaoh, fearful of the size and strength of the Hebrews in Egypt, orders that all male children be killed at birth. We have come, after a long event-filled interval, to God's justice. In fact, Julia Ward Howe's line, "He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword," is only half right. For God's retribution is often slow in our perspective.
The Tenth Plague
We see analogies in everyday life. The heavy cigarette smoker lives without consequences for decades. Bernie Madoff lived like a king off the billions of dollars he has swindled for 30 years. Perhaps, in these cases, God simply wants us to learn about sin and long-term consequences. For He often calls upon us to put aside the immediate pleasure for a great gain, far in the future. The sinner, the idolater and atheist, the thief and the licentious: they live among us, often, like Pharaoh, as the rich, beautiful, and powerful of society. But they are called to account, as are we all.
The Lord has told Moses that the Exodus is a lesson for all generations; let us learn it well.
When the terrible event occurs, the Hebrews are ready to walk out the door. They are wearing their sandals and their staffs are in their hands; they have gathered gold and jewels from their neighbors; and, symbolically, they even ate their supper standing up.
So when Pharaoh summons them and says "Leave!", they do not say, "give us time to prepare." The Lord has taught them and they have wisely followed His instruction.
And as a final note, Pharaoh asks for their blessing. He is defeated, not merely in battle, but also in pride. He acknowledges (at least for the moment) the supremacy of Yahweh; his voice, accustomed only to command, is used in supplication.