Daily Devotion for April 20, 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.
The path rugged and steep?
Are there briars and thorns on the way?
Do sharp stones cut your feet
As you struggle to rise
To the heights thru the heat of the day?
2. Is your heart faint and sad,
Your soul weary within,
As you toil ’neath your burden of care?
Does the load heavy seem
You are forced now to lift?
Is there no one your burden to share?
3. Let your heart be not faint
Now the journey’s begun;
There is One who still beckons to you.
So look upward in joy
And take hold of his hand;
He will lead you to heights that are new —
4. A land holy and pure,
Where all trouble doth end,
And your life shall be free from all sin,
Where no tears shall be shed,
For no sorrows remain.
Take his hand and with him enter in.
Music by George D. Pyper
Lyrics by Joseph Fielding Smith
Prayer for the Day Ahead
Who can tell what a day might bring? Therefore, gracious God, cause me to live every day as if it were to be my last, for I cannot know not that it not. Help me to live this day as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
Prayer for Personal Conduct (from 1 Timothy)
Lord God, I pray that this day my conduct will be like that you have set for your clergy: Above reproach. May I be this day temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, and not violent, but gentle. May I never be quarrelsome, always seeking peace even in disagreement, and may my love be for you and my fellow man, not for money. I pray that I manage my own household well. If I have any children in my charge, I pray to that I may take the time to see that they are in control and behaving with proper respect. Grant me a good reputation with outsiders, so that I will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil. This I pray through my Lord Christ, whose love and attention ever gave us an example of conduct,
Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.
~ Francis Chan
Exodus 20:13 (Young’s Literal Translation)
The Sixth Commandment
Thou dost not murder.
Notes on the Scripture
This phrase is rendered in just two words in the original Hebrew: "never murder". The King James translation, "thou shalt not kill", simply got it wrong. If one reads the Old Testament, interpreting this as a general prohibition against taking human life cannot be correct, anyway. Those who would argue against the death penalty, for example, need to look to the New Testament for their arguments.
Just to be crystal clear, Daily Prayer does not advocate for or against, or take any position concerning, capital punishment or any other political controversy. Our purpose is to read what is written without preconception, to derive the meaning from the Bible, rather than imposing our own biases upon it.
Reading Exodus, we study the law of Moses, and not just the Ten Commandments. The attitude towards taking human life is quite different from most of modern Western society. God prescribes the death penalty for numerous offenses; even more pointedly, in the early history books, He will allow or even encourage what we would call genocide. In the conquest of Canaan, where a city chose to fight against the Israelites, they were commanded to kill all the men (although they might take women and children as "plunder"). (Deuteronomy 20:10-18) In other cases, however, heathen women and children are put to the sword. (E.g. Numbers 31:7-18)
This raises a very basic issue of the origin of morality. Atheism has no regard for human life. It has no moral source. When Christ came along, the civilized world was the world of Rome, and the Romans certainly had no concept of any inherit sanctity in human life! This is an almost exclusively Christian concept.
Over the course of 2000 years, the prevailing Christian culture of Western Europe has, with painful slowness and difficulty, implanted the idea that killing people is immoral. It has sunk deeply into our cultural fabric.
One of the great stupidities of atheist thought is that this regard for human life will survive without its anchor to God. Probably a majority of the people in the west are post-Christian atheists. They will tell you that murder is wrong, but they have no concept of why they believe this.
And, in point of fact, where Christianity is repressed, regard for human life disappears. Three words prove this beyond argument: Mao, Stalin, and Hitler (in approximate order of number of people killed), who collectively have at least 100 million deaths to their credit.
We hold the lives of others as sacred because Christ tells us to do so, not because we are naturally good or moral. God is always right. If He told the Israelites to kill all the inhabitants in a town, He had a good reason. We cannot understand God's plan.
But here, at the dawn of morality sometime prior to 1000 B.C., God forbids us from committing murder, that it, an individual decision to take another human life for our own purpose. This has not changed, and there is never an exception in the Bible, Old Testament or New.