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Daily Devotion for April 26, 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.
Mozart’s glorious motet Exsultate, jubilate is sung here by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Prayer at Daybreak (by Archimandrite Sophronios)
O Lord Eternal and Creator of all things, who with your unknowable goodness called me to this life; I have no life, no light, no joy or wisdom, no strength except in you, O God. I entreat you, teach me to pray aright. Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit. Bless this day which you give to me, your unworthy servant.
By the power of your blessing enable me, throughout this day, to speak and act to your glory with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage and wisdom. Let me be always aware of your presence. By the power of your love, grant me to hold fast to that which is good. Preserve me from every word or deed that corrupts the soul; from every impulse unpleasing in your sight and hurtful to my fellow man, my brothers and sisters.
This in Christ's name, I pray,
Prayer for Peace
I thank you, master and lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. I appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hate for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in us the fear of you and confirm in us love for one another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
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 21:2 (The Message)
God examines our motives.
Exodus 20:18-21 (ESV)
The Israelites Are Afraid of God
Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”
Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.”
The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
Notes on the Scripture
If we were to witness this today — a mountain covered with cloud, with bright flashes of lightning showing through at the top, and an ear-splitting noise like a trumpet, and then a loud voice speaking to us — we would look around for the person responsible, David Copperfield perhaps, the "man behind the curtain". But the Hebrews could not explain it by technology. It did not exist.
They knew for certain that it was God they were seeing and . . . they did not like the experience. They had seen the actions of this Being, done for their benefit, to deliver them from Egypt, and those were terrifying enough: a great body of water opening to let them pass and then collapsing on the Egyptians; a silent angel who came in the night and killed every firstborn. How terrified would we be, if one night the eldest child of every woman and female beast were to die, for no discernible cause.
The fact is, seeing and hearing the overwhelming sensory experience of Mount Sinai, and knowing what a fearful Being God actually is, they realize that they cannot experience Him without dying. For, like us, they are full of sin. God, in the presence of sinfulness, becomes an angry God to be feared to the utmost. A human being cannot face Him and survive.
God appears to the Hebrews to give them the Ten Commandments directly; and here, we see a second purpose. He intends to save the Hebrews (and, eventually, all those who will follow His Son). But the beginning of salvation, like the beginning of wisdom, is fear of the Lord. If we do not fear God, we will die. For we and the world we live in are His creation and like any creator, He will edit His work. The parts that are true to His vision will live on for eternity, for God is not bound by time; but the parts that offend Him, He will remove.
So this is the second purpose of God's appearance to the Hebrews. No longer will any of them desire to see God. Rather, they will take instruction from His prophet, so that they might become worthy to appear before Him some day.