Daily Devotion for April 1, 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.
Alan Jackson’s soft country style is perfect for this old favorite.
Prayer for Goodness
Lord, save me alike from foolish Pride or impious Discontent,
At anything thy wisdom has denied, or anything that goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe, to right the fault I see:
That mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me.
Mean tho' I am, not wholly so, since quicken'd by thy breath;
O lead me whereso'er I go, thro' this day's life or death!
From Universal Prayer by Alexander Pope
Prayer the Gospel May Be Spread
Almighty God, you called your church to be united in faith. By your grace you have given us new life in Jesus Christ, and by your Spirit you have called us to proclaim his name throughout the nations. Awaken in me such a love for you and your world that I may so boldly proclaim Jesus Christ by word and deed that all people may come to know him as Savior and follow him as Lord. And bless and strengthen all those who dedicate their lives to the increase of your church, both at home and abroad. Send your spirit to fill their tongues with your message, and protect them from all harm, to the glory of your Name.
Dedication (from St. Teresa of Avila)
May it please you, my good Lord, that there may come a day when I can repay a little of my great debt to you. O Jesus, strengthen my soul, you who are good above all good, and since you have inclined my soul in this way show me how I may act for you, whatever it may cost, O Lord. Here is my life, my honor and my will; I have given them all to you and they are yours: use me to do whatever you want.
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 20:6 (NKJV)
Most men will proclaim each his own goodness,
But who can find a faithful man?
Exodus 17:8-13 (ESV)
Israel Defeats Amalek 
Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
Notes on the Scripture
Our reading of Exodus has been interrupted for over a week, but the hiatus came at a good point. Verses 1-7 described Moses leading the Israelites into the deep desert and, at the point where thirst became a survival issue, striking a rock to bring forth a gushing spring of water.
Amalek had been the grandson of Esau (Gen. 36:12), and his descendants had become a tribe of Bedouin-like bandits, camel-riding desert dwellers who lived by robbing traders and disappearing into the hostile vastness of Sinai. The Amalekites were surely far fewer in number, but superior in skill, experience, aggression and armament. They likely sent scouts to give the Hebrews the choice of surrendering their livestock and valuables without a fight; whatever the reason, the Hebrews have a days' warning before the attack.
We meet Joshua (Yehoshua, "Yahweh is salvation") for the first time, a vigorous young man clearly marked for military command. Moses gives him total military control; we can safely assume that there is much unwritten about Joshua's previous life for such a young man to be given such extraordinary responsibility.
We also meet Hur. Hur will simply disappear from the narrative of Exodus (long before the Israelites enter Canaan), so most Christians have never heard of him, but he is a much more prominent figure in Judaism. Joshua, of course, will become the great conqueror of Israel.
The direct symbolism of Moses' staff is impossible to miss. Israel will triumph against the Amalekites as long as the symbol of God is kept above Moses' head, and Israel will triumph over all of her enemies as long as God is held in importance above all men. But God demands that Moses — an old man — perform the excruciating physical task of holding a heavy staff over his head for hours. To succeed, Moses needs the help of the priesthood, represented by Aaron, and the government, represented by Hur.