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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Daily Devotion for April 2, 2013

<i>Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse</i> by Victor Vasnetsov ca. 1887.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Victor Vasnetsov ca. 1887.



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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.


We don’t play a lot of contemporary Christian music, but this song by Laura Story is superb and even profound. The lyrics are provided, but we suggest you listen to them in the song rather than reading them.

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,


Prayer to Treat Others Well

Father, thank you for bringing me into your family. May I never disappoint you in the way I treat others. Teach me to show love, patience, and acceptance to all who come to me; let me show peace of soul and firm conviction that your will governs all. And I pray that others may see in me the qualities of character that can only be attributed to your presence in my life.

Make my life a window for your light to shine through and a mirror to reflect your love to all I meet. To you be the glory and the honor, forever and ever, through Jesus my Lord.


Parting Prayer

Lord, pour your love into my heart, that I may love you above all things, and my neighbors as myself. Through Christ our Lord.

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

Moses, Aaron and Hur at the Battle of Rephidim, Exodus
Rephidim by John Dubrow, ca. 2003. Hur, shirtless and powerful, stands in the center supporting Moses' right arm, with Aaron seated on the other side.

Psalm 90:1-4 (NKJV)

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

You turn man to destruction,
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 17:13-16 (ESV)

Israel Defeats Amalek [2]

And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner, saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

Exodus Map - Hammond   Exodus Map 2

Notes on the Scripture

One of the most difficult concepts for a modern Christian to grasp is the distinction between the value of human life, as presented in the Bible, and the value of human life as accepted by contemporary liberal humanism. The feeling that human life is the highest and greatest good derives from Christian doctrine, but it is subtly different from Christian truth.

Christianity teaches us not to kill other people because Christ, the human manifestation of God, told us to love and forgive one another for all things. But we do not revere other people because human life is intrinsically sacred; we revere it because God has commanded us to do so. The secular humanist makes man into his god. He has absorbed the teaching of Christ, but then taken Christ out of the equation.

The reason for making this distinction at this point is that, in today's lesson, God instructs the Israelites to destroy the Amalek. The battle itself is one of self-defense; but the subsequent instruction to the Hebrews is one of holy war. This will become clearer and more pronounced as the Old Testament unfolds. We must always remember that God creates His covenant with us, and for the Hebrews. "The Lord is a man of war." (Exodus 15:1-4)

Ikon of Joshua, Russian
Russian icon
of Joshua

The battle at Rephidim is a major turning point, for although God destroyed a huge Egyptian army in the Red Sea, the Hebrews were passive observers; in fact, they were running away. Here, however, it is Hebrew men fighting under God's standard who defeat the Amalek. The Amaleks do not drown; they are slain by Jewish swords.

Moses builds an altar and gives it a name that refers directly to his staff, the staff of Yahweh, which had been held over his head throughout the battle. The ESV calls it "The Lord is my Banner", but "Standard" might be a better word; it refers to the flag or pole representing an army. And unlike, say, the standards of a Roman legion, Moses' staff is a "hand upon the throne of the Lord."

God instructs Moses to perform two other notable acts. First, to write down the events in a book. That humanity is expected to read this book is self-evident although, unlike the Passover instructions, the duty to read is not stated.

Secondly, Moses is to recite into the ears of Joshua that "I will utterly blot out the memory of the Amalek . . . ." This is where it becomes important to understand why we value human life; for Joshua, with God's instruction, will slay entire tribes.

At this point, it is not at all clear how important Joshua is. Unlike the extensive background on Moses, we know nothing about Joshua. That God singles him out for Moses' prophesy is our first indication of Joshua's greatness. He has, in fact, been chosen by God, just as Moses was, but for a different purpose.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 5:16: In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

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