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Daily Devotion for September 2, 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.
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Prayer of Love
God, my Father, may I love you in all things and above all things. May I reach the joy which you have prepared for me in Heaven. Nothing is good that is against your will, and all that is good comes from your hand.
Place in my heart a desire to please you and fill my mind with thoughts of your Love, so that I may grow in your wisdom and enjoy your peace.
For Courage to Speak the Truth
Holy God, whenever I am in fear that someone will be angry with me for telling the truth, let me remember that Christ did not come bearing a sword to kill his enemies, but a cross upon which his enemies would kill him. Be with me, Holy Spirit, when I am afraid to speak up against falsehood, knowing that people will be angry with me, for to follow Christ means to carry the cross. If I know that the powerful might hurt me, I also remember that the wounds of Christ were momentary. The power of this world will fade, but your truth will remain forever; it will reward me for such good and truth as I can accomplish in my life, no matter what hostility it encounters from the evil of men. I pray you will imbue confidence in the depth of my heart, dear God. For I know with the utter certainty that wounds suffered in your name will be healed forever; that they will be rewarded in this life by the knowledge of your approval, and in the life to come, by the peace of heaven. In Christ's name, I pray,
[Christ did not come bearing a sword, but a cross.]
Oh God who has made me, oh God who keeps me, oh God who will be my Lord through all eternity, shine down Your blessings and wisdom upon me like the sun upon a field; and may I keep You in the forefront of my every thought and deed, throughout this day, and evermore.
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.
The greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender.
~ William Booth
Isaiah 64 (KJV) (excerpts)
Oh that thou oldest rend the heavens,
that thou oldest come down,
that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,
as when the melting fire burneth,
the fire causeth the waters to boil,
to make thy name known to thine adversaries,
that the nations may tremble at thy presence!
When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for,
thou camest down,
the mountains flowed down at thy presence.
But we are all as an unclean thing,
and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;
and we all do fade as a leaf;
and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
And there is none that calleth upon thy name,
that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee:
for thou hast hid thy face from us,
and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
Be not wroth very sore, O Lord,
neither remember iniquity for ever:
behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.
Thy holy cities are a wilderness,
Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and our beautiful house,
where our fathers praised thee,
is burned up with fire:
and all our pleasant things are laid waste.
Notes on the Scripture
Israel after Solomon (27): Isaiah’s Prophecies of Jerusalem’s Destruction
Isaiah prophesied the conquest of the Kingdom of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, which would occur roughly 150 years later; variations on this prophecy takes up much of his book. Today's reading, from the next-to-last chapter, is an example.
One of the earmarks of Isaiah is the writing of prophecy in mixed tenses, of which today’s selection is a perfect example. All this is seen in vision; and, though a hundred fifty years would occur before it would be realized, yet, according to his prophetic manner, he describes the scene as actually passing before him, as if he is sitting in some unknown place, remembering when Jerusalem and Judah were destroyed and praying.
It is an odd prayer, to us. The first paragraph actually pleads with God to devastate the earth. He has made His wrath known to His people; now, Isaiah prays that he make His wrath known to the world, “to thine adversaries,” as He has done to His “holy cities”.
There seems to be, in the modern collective unconscious, some sense that the world will be destroyed by fire. Perhaps this is in part non-Biblical, the result of nuclear proliferation in the late 20th century and the image of our cities being flattened in great balls of hydrogen-bomb conflagration; or perhaps, scientific assurances that the sun will explode before it dies.
But some credit must go to Isaiah, with his imagery of melting mountains and boiling seas; and (remembering that the book is 66 chapters) these images recur in the book. As early as Ch. 24, he writes:
But the ultimate point of the prayer, and much of Isaiah’s writing, is that God might spare at least a few. In the inimitable language of the KJV, “Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever.” This hearkens back to an idea that had been developing for some time; remember the prophecy of Elijah: “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.” (1 Kings 19:18)
The concept of preservation of a remnant of righteous Jews pops up again and again in the Bible, from the first book to the last; historically, in the story of Noah (Genesis 5-7) and of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19); and prophetically, from Elijah all the way to Revelation (Rev. 7).