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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Daily Devotion for August 5, 2014


<i>Elijah Fed by an Angel </i> by Ferdinand Bol, ca. 1660.
Elijah Fed by an Angel by Ferdinand Bol, ca. 1660.

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Amen.



Prayer for the Morning

I  bless you for the day you have made, Mighty Lord God, and pray that I may spend this day rejoicing in your creation. I pray for your Holy Spirit to fill me with the joy of my salvation, so that your light may shine through me into the world, that your honor and glory may be known to all people.

Remind me of your blessings, I pray, with every tribulation I may face, so that I may act with energy, forgiveness and love, ever mindful of the grace You have shown to me. Through Christ I pray,

Amen.

Ancient Prayer for Those Who Govern

Lord God, I pray for all kings and others in authority. You, Master, have given them the power of sovereignty through your majestic and inexpressible might, so that we, acknowledging the glory and honor which you have given them, may be subject to them, resisting your will in nothing. Grant to them, Lord, health, peace, harmony, and stability, that they may blamelessly administer the government which you have given them.

For you, heavenly Master, King of the ages, give to the sons of men glory and honor and authority over those upon the earth. Lord, direct their plans according to what is good and pleasing in your sight, so that by devoutly administering in peace and gentleness the authority which you have given them they may experience your mercy. You, who alone are able to do these and even greater good things for us, we praise through the high priest and guardian of our souls, Jesus Christ, through whom be the glory and the majesty to you both now and for all generations and for ever and ever.

Amen.

Meditation

[Give me the gift of respect and obedience to civil authorities, even when I want to hate them.]


Prayer of Penitence

Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, now fulfill in my contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all my sins, and cleansing me from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. And turn my heart to your will at every moment, I pray.

Amen.


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.



Illustration the angel feeding Elijah, from a Victorian Bible
Illustration the angel feeding Elijah, from a Victorian Bible (1893).


Blue Latin Cross

1 Kings 19 (ESV)

The History of the Northern Kingdom (5) - Elijah Speaks to God

Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.”

Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life to Judah, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.

There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.

And after the fire a still small voice. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. And the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.


Notes on the Scripture

Three important events occur in 1 Kings 19: First, we see Jezebel's reaction to Elijah's humiliation of the priests of Baal. (See Saturday’s Devotion or 1 Kings 18.) There is no more evil human being in the Bible; she has been given dramatic proof that God is real and powerful, but rather than falling on her knees and worshipping Him, she vows to kill the prophet who proved it.

There is a lesson in this for all of us. Who has not felt resistance to change in some belief, even when faced with convincing evidence to the contrary? It comes from vanity, from pride of self. It is sometimes more important to us that a belief is “ours” than that it is true (or false). We must always stand open to change, or we will never grow. Jezebel is a negative role model in every way.

The scene where God comes to Elijah is a magnificent scene of poetry and power. Although Moses, Abraham, and David are the iconic characters of the Hebrew covenant, Elijah is the icon of holiness and the early precursor of Christ. (Notice that he even spends forty days and forty nights in the wilderness — cf. Matthew 4:1-11.) It is Elijah whom the Jews believe will return to save them. (E.g. Malachi 4:5) The revelation he is given by God in today's passage is the beginning of the promise of a new covenant, the first ray of light before the dawn.

God shows Elijah that He does not live in the whirlwind or the earthquake; but He can be found in the silence of a solitary man, isolated in the wilderness. God comes to Elijah as a “still small voice.” Moses found Him on a fearful fiery mountain; and Elijah, similarly, has recently been God's servant in a scene of dramatic fire and slaughter. But God's relationship with humanity will change; the period of fire and earthquake will end; and here, He gives Elijah a glimpse of the future, when His Holy Spirit will come to those who believe, as a whisper to one who prays in quiet and calm.

Elijah recruits a disciple, another act reminiscent of Christ. Their names are unfortunately near-identical, but we need to keep them straight: Elijah and Elisha. For Elisha will become a great prophet in his own right. He will be to Elijah much what the apostle Peter was to Christ.

The final instructions, concerning Jehu (clearly, Ahab is in trouble), Elisha, and the seven thousand, we must file away for future reference.



endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Colossians 3:12: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.


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