Daily Devotion for March 9, 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.
Oldie Goldies Saturday this week gives us Sam Cooke and his group "The Soul Stirrers". Cooke was a prolific gospel singer as well as a pop star.
Sam Cooke (V. Davis and Theodore Frye)
He's wonderful, God He's wonderful.
The Lord is my shepherd, He's my guide,
Whenever I need, the Lord will provide,
And praise my Lord's name,
I know He's so wonderful.
And O, He's wonderful and I better believe
The Lord is wonderful, oh yes He is.
And O, He's wonderful, I know the Lord,
He's so wonderful.
And O, if you never tried God, try the Lord one day
And see when my father come down and make a way,
And O, I can't help it but love God,
He's so wonderful, wonderful etc.
He's been my mother and my father too,
There's no limit to what my Lord can do
and O, I love God, He's so wonderful.
Prayer for the Work of This Day
Almighty God, thank you for the work my hand may find this day. May I find gladness in all its toil and difficulty, its pleasure and success, and even in its failure and sorrow. I would look always away from myself, and behold the glory and the need of the world, that I may have the will and the strength to bring the gift of gladness to others; that with them I stand to bear the burden and heat of the day and offer you my work, as well as I may accomplish it, as praise.
A Lenten Prayer
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan; Come quickly to help me, who is assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of myself and all people, let all of your servants find you mighty to save; in Jesus name I pray,
Prayer for One's Home (by Edgar Guest)
Peace, unto this house, I pray,
Keep terror and despair away;
Shield it from evil and let sin
Never find lodging room within.
May never in these walls be heard
The hateful or accusing word.
Grant that its warm and mellow light
May be to all a beacon bright,
A flaming symbol that shall stir
The beating pulse of him or her
Who finds this door and seems to say,
"Here end the trials of the day."
Hold us together, gentle Lord,
Who sit about this humble board;
May we be spared the cruel fate
Of those whom hatreds separate;
Here let love bind us fast, that we
May know the joys of unity.
Lord, this humble house we'd keep
Sweet with play and calm with sleep.
Help us so that we may give
Beauty to the lives we live.
Let Thy love and let Thy grace
Shine upon our dwelling place.
I pray that I may be blessed every step of my path this day by the great God of light. May your sun shine upon me; as the moon moves the tide, may your Spirit move my emotions with every grace and magic; may my heart sing with the voice of your angels and my hearth be warm; and may this and every blessed day You have given me be filled with joy.
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.
Psalm 4:6-8 (NKJV)
There are many who say,
“Who will show us any good?”
Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Exodus 14:1-14 (ESV)
The Egyptian Pursuit
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal Zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?”
So he made ready his chariot and took his army with him, and took six hundred chosen chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while the people of Israel were going out defiantly. The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh's horses and chariots and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.
When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Notes on the Scripture
When the Hebrews make camp for the third time, next to a large body of water (which we really can't identify), they are still in Egypt, moving more or less along the border. Pharaoh believes that they are trapped by the desert because they cannot survive in it. But they are not; they are following God, literally, and God is baiting a trap. We must never forget God's wrathful nature against those who defy Him. It is part of His plan to demonstrate both His might over the most powerful human on earth, His punishment of one who despises Him, and at the same time His love and protection of those who worship Him.
One might think the Egyptians incomprehensibly stupid. But they merely demonstrate a phenomenon we see time after time, even today, when nations go to war. There is something in our nature akin to amnesia when we go to war. If one reads any history, one knows what happens: millions die, massive poverty and human misery ensue, even the governments are replaced. What were the Germans, French, Russians, Austrians, Hungarians, etc. thinking in 1914? Pharaoh's circumstances are peculiar, but the blind pride and puerile anger that lead him to attack the Hebrews are a recurring theme of human history.
The Hebrews show similar human foibles: the confusion and rapidly changing mentality of a mob. Suddenly they recall the naysayers, whose objections had been overcome when they decided to leave Egypt; and like any confused mob, their opinion changes rapidly to another extreme.
(It sounds like the Hebrews had an early Borscht Belt comedian in their company:"What, they don't have graves in Egypt? We had to come out here to die?")
But God has chosen well, and Moses, the reluctant leader, steps up. In fact, it is at this point he begins to characterize the attributes of God for all time. We begin to see the revelation of the God we know.
Reading Moses' speech carefully we see, first, that God is a comforter of his people. He quells our fear. In a similar vein, God delivers us from our distress. Third, God asks and expects that those who believe in Him will trust Him and will act on their trust: "Fear not," Moses declares, "stand firm."
Fourth, God delivers us from danger and death. He will fight for us. And fifth, God despises and fights against evil, with enormous power and might; and when His time comes, He destroys both the people who embrace evil and, ultimately, evil itself.