Daily Devotion for March 11, 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.
A song about God's forgiveness by the Sharon Singers (of the Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute)
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Turn me, O good Lord, and so shall I be turned. Be favorable, O Lord, be favorable to your people, who turn to you in weeping, fasting, and praying. For you are a merciful God, full of compassion, long-suffering, and of great pity. You spare us when we deserve punishment, and even in your wrath think upon mercy. Spare your people, good Lord, spare them, and do not let your heritage be brought to confusion. Hear me, O Lord, for your mercy is great, and after the multitude of your mercies look upon me and all your people; Through the merits and mediation of your blessed Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
For a Sense of Wonder at God's Creation
Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe. Delight me to see how your Christ plays in ten thousand places, in limbs and eyes not His, to be the father through the features of men's faces. Each day enrapture me with your marvelous things without number. I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all.
May God Almighty send me his light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may His mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
A farmer too lazy to plant in the spring has nothing to harvest in the fall.
~ Proverbs 20:4 (The Message)
Exodus 14: 15-22 (ESV)
The Parting of the Red Sea 
The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.
Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
Notes on the Scripture
The first line might seem puzzling: Why would God criticize the Hebrews for crying out to Him? The reason is that it shows lack of faith. He has already provided for them. They should have enough faith to break camp and travel towards the pillar of fire and cloud, where God Himself is manifest, as He has already instructed them.
From a human perspective, one can understand the Hebrews' fear. They appear to be trapped by a mighty army, one they can neither fight nor outrun. They cannot even run, because they are in camp. It would have taken them many hours to pack up for travel. And even if they could run — where to? Into the sea to drown? Into the desert, leaving their posessions behind, to be cut down by chariots in a matter of hours?
But the angel of God, which has been leading them, now changes roles and becomes their protection. It moves behind them, like a great wall blocking the Egyptian advance.
Both the pillar and the wind tie into two enduring Biblical symbols. The pillar lights the Hebrews' preparations but plunges the Egyptians into a darkness; they cannot go forward, cannot find the Hebrews or even move, because they are blind. This is the darkness of the universe without God, the void, the emptiness and confusion of life when one will not hear God's truth. Whereas the Hebrews are "enlightened", both literally and figuratively.
God does not exist in a place, but just as He sometimes chooses a name or a form by which people can know Him, here he chooses to center his existence to the east, for that is the direction of the promised land of Canaan. The Hebrews travel literally towards Canaan, and figuratively towards God's power. We have seen an east wind before, during the eighth plague: "So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the Lord made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts." (Exodus 10:13)
And finally, we get the big scene, as Moses raises, not the sword of human might, but the staff of holy might. The sea parts with high walls on either side and, not mud, but "dry ground" beneath the Hebrews' feet. This is the straight and narrow path, the path of righteousness, the path to salvation.