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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Daily Devotion for June 21, 2013

 The Trials of Moses, fresco in the Sistine Chapel by Sandro Botticelli, ca. 1482. There are seven scenes from Exodus in this single painting. Moses is always distinguishable by his yellow dress and the green cloak.

Starting in the lower right, Moses kills the Egyptian who had harassed a Jew, and flees to the desert. Moving to right center, Moses fights the shepherds at the well and, in the bottom center, a wonderful portrayal of Zipporah and a sister meeting Moses. In the upper left, Moses removes his shoes and then speaks God in the burning bush. Finally, in the lower left corner, he leads the Jews our of Egypt. (See Full-size.)



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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.


This beautiful ballad was adapted from an Irish folk song.

Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation

O  Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,


Prayer for the Holy Spirit's Guidance

Gracious God,
Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life.
Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church.
Open my heart to the people who are different from me.
In Jesus' name, I pray.



Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.


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

Devotional painting of
Detail from the painting at the top, The Trials of Moses, depicting the exodus from Egypt. Despite the general Renaissance Italian appearance of the people, Botticelli accurately reflected the racial diversity of the Jews.

Proverbs 26:11 (NKJV)

As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly.

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 40:33-38 (NIV)

The Fulfillment of the Covenant

Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses finished the work.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out — until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.

Notes on the Scripture

[We have omitted Exodus 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, and most of 40. These chapters are long and detailed descriptions of the actual construction of the Tabernacle. They are substantially identical to Chapters 25-31. If you have committed to reading Exodus cover-to-cover, use the links given or read them in your own Bible.]

Thus ends Exodus. It is a happy ending: the Covenant has been reaffirmed and God is with the Hebrews, His presence guiding them directly. The pillar of cloud and light which had gone before them when they left Egypt now resides in the magnificent tabernacle they have built.

It took them sixty days to travel from Egypt to Mount Sinai, and they stay at Sinai for a total of about two years. (We do not know how long it took to build the Tabernacle.) The forty years in the wilderness does not occur at Sinai, but to the east, in the Wilderness of Paran. After an unsuccessful attempt to invade Canaan from the south, they will travel north up the right bank of the Jordan and eventually, led by Joshua, invade Canaan from the east.

Exodus Map - Hammond   Exodus Map 2

Reading Exodus closely has been quite a journey for us, as well: almost five months. We hope it has meant as much to all of you as it has to us, but it was a bit exhausting: do not look forward to reading Leviticus cover-to-cover on Daily Prayer any time soon!

Of the three remaining books of the Pentateuch, Leviticus is the most tedious to read. It consists entirely of an exhaustive collection of laws and rituals for the guidance of daily life.

Much of Deuteronomy, similarly, consists of discussion of laws, although it is more oriented towards how the Hebrews will conduct themselves once they have entered Canaan. It also recapitulates much of Exodus. But Deuteronomy appears to end the Hebrew wilderness saga, for it ends as the Hebrews are about to enter Canaan. Moses dies without entering the Promised Land, and Joshua is named as his successor.

Numbers is an odd duck, as it is outside the time flow of the four-book epic. The history of God and man, from the beginning of time until the Hebrews enter Canaan, is completed at the end of Deuteronomy. Numbers begins at Mt. Sinai with a census of the Hebrews — hence its name. A census, as we discussed previously, was a preparation for war, and Numbers concerns itself much more with matters of conquest and land division than the other books of the Pentateuch. It also gives more detail about the forty-year journey to Canaan, with many anecdotes not found elsewhere.

There are interesting matters in all three books, especially for the serious Bible scholar, but if you want to read one or more of them, be forewarned: they are heavy sledding. Numbers is probably the most readable, but even it contains thousands of words about legal minutiae; it is actually longer than Exodus.

endless knot

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