Daily Devotion for June 18, 2014
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 emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.
To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he'll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I'll share.
Music and Lyrics by George Bennard, 1910
Good Morning, Heavenly Father
Good Morning Heavenly Father, and thank You for the glory of the sun.
And thank You for the health I have to get my duty done.
I shall devote the hours of this golden day to You,
by honoring Your Holy Name in everything I do.
I shall pursue my daily art without complaint or fear
and spend my every effort to be friendly and sincere.
I know there have been many days that I have whiled away.
But this is one that I will try, to make Your special day.
And so once more, Good Morning Heavenly Father.
And please depend on me
because I want to honor You for all eternity.
Prayer to Put My Trust in Christ
Oh Holy Christ, Son of God and King of all humanity, I bring to you my hurts, my fears, my disappointments; I am filled with worries about my health, about money, about my place in the world, and about the health and safety of my loved ones. The struggles, the cruelties, and the tribulations of this life sometimes seem unfair and overwhelming. I cannot handle them alone, my Lord; I lay them at your feet.
You have promised to shoulder our burdens, Lord Jesus, and I am taking you up on your promise. I give myself to you, with all my emotional baggage. Teach me to lean upon you, to trust you, to know that in your ultimate victory, all of my fears will prove illusory, and my pains, short-lived.
Do not leave me to suffer alone, Lord; do not turn your face away. Forgive me my every sin and take me to your bosom, for I am your child and I know you love me. This I pray in your name, whose every word is truth,
[I surrender my pain to Jesus.]
Let me not forget you as I go forth into the world this day, blessed Lord; may my every word be a prayer, and my every act be testimony to your love and truth, and my I know your presence every second of this day.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 103:1-14 (NKJV)
The Love of God (Part 1)
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
Notes on the Scripture
This great psalm is too long for one day, but there's a lot to it, so we will start on it today and finish up tomorrow. But first things first. Unlike some parts of the Bible, you have to read every word of a psalm. So if you skimmed it, take the time to go back and read it with a sense of patience and relaxation.
God and King David
We have talked about parallelism before, so the psalm today has the second line indented, as it follows the two-line parallel form strictly. Notice the different ways in which the second line relates to the first. It might be a variation or restatement of the first line in different words. Especially in the third section, the second line might complete a simile begun in the first. Notice also the final verse, where the second line narrows and defines the first. There is a technical grammatical name for this kind of construction, appositionWe do not normally think of nouns as modifiers, but apposition is very common and we hardly notice it, as it becomes intuitive to us. “President John Adams” is nothing but a string of three nouns in apposition. In fact, whenever we use a first and last name, it is technically appositional: “Adams” is a noun that defines and limits the preceding noun, “John”. It is partly noun and partly modifier, because it answers the question, “which John?” For you hardcore grammar geeks, yes, “John” also answers the question “which Adam?” But it is conventional to parse the first noun in such a construction as the primary noun, and those following it as standing in apposition to the first..
Now notice the difference between the three sections. The first section is a prayer of praise. David blesses God and then describes Him with three verses beginning with “Who”. The second section also describes positive attributes of God, but notice the difference in tone and purpose. David is now instructing the listener directly. But the attributes are stated in a more general sense. In the third section, there is against a slight shift in emphasis toward the personal. Here, David tells the reader/listener not so much what God has done in general that is wonderful, but what He has done and will do specifically in relation to the listener. There is some overlap, but the psalm has a general direction from the general character of God towards the specific relationship of God with the faithful. The theme of Section one is “Bless the Lord”; section two is “the Lord is righteous”; and section three is “He has not dealt with us according to our sins.”
We don't want to get so caught up in structure that we ignore the meaning. The psalm is very Christian-sounding, especially the theme that God does not deal with us according to our sins; and we are fortunate that He does not! God forgives us, something that we must remind ourselves about. How great is His mercy? At what point will His mercy run out?
God's mercy towards those who fear Him is as high as the heavens above the earth, which is to say, infinite, beyond our ability even to imagine. As far as east from west; and again, the distance from east to west was, to David, the entire world; to us it actually has an even greater significance, because we know that we can go east forever.
One word about the expression “fear the Lord.” In English, “fear” has a single meaning, but in both Greek and Hebrew — neither of which had nearly as many words available as we do in English — the same word also meant “have a profound sense of respect and reverence”. Certainly one might be afraid of God, and at times He was indeed fearful to the Hebrews, as when they were at Mt. Sinai. (Exodus 19) But the meaning of profound reverence, rather than being afraid, is more the sense that is intended when the expression is used by David (and Solomon).