Daily Devotion for October 15, 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.
Emeli Sandé performs the song she sang at the London 2012 Olympics in a quiet studio with a single mike.
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Music (Eventide) by Wm H. Monk, 1861
Lyrics by Henry Lyle, 1847
For the Day Ahead
Oh Lord God, I come to you in the morning, full of hope that the day to come might be filled with joy and energy. Grant that I may do my work with a light and happy heart; and if there are tasks that I do not look forward to, or even dread, let me undertake them with courage and resolve. For this day could be perfect, if I can only live it in You and with You and for You.
Where I face frustration today, let me handle it with acceptance and faith that the outcome is in Your hands. Lead me away from anger or judgment of other people. Let me tend to my own garden instead of looking over the fence. If my neighbor's yard is filled with weeds, help me not to criticize, and keep me from envy of those whose tree bears more fruit.
And let everything I attempt be filled with the knowledge and guidance of Your Holy Spirit. I pray that the Spirit will be with me at every moment, and that I will always be aware of Him, and live every moment of this day in Your presence. In Christ's name, I pray,
Prayer to Receive God's True Word
Holy Lord, who has given me the facility to hear and understand, let me receive your Word with an open mind and clear eye. Whenever I read your Scripture, let your Holy Spirit guide me to the truth, setting aside my preconception and self-justification.
I pray to hear what you intend for me to hear. Lead me to remember that, where we disagree, You are right and I am wrong. And help me always to an attitude of humility in my study, keeping in mind always to use your Word as a guide that will lead me on the path to salvation, never as a tool to justify my faulty and selfish thought; for I am justified by faith.
[Open my ears to Your Word.]
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.
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.
"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home."
Exodus 19:7-9 (ESV)
Israel Accepts God’s Covenant
So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord.
And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”
Notes on the Scripture
This is a short passage, but with many implications. Throughout Exodus, God represents Himself visibly in two forms: fire and cloud (or fire within cloud). These are not "God". There is not a human-looking being, no old man with a grey beard, standing inside the cloud; the cloud is not there to hide God. It is, rather, a visible metaphor for our inability to see God with human eyes. God is there, but we cannot see Him.
The metaphor represents not only a spiritual truth, but also, a physical truth about our universe. The universe appears to astrophysicists like a great sphere, and this is how they conceive and describe it. But they cannot see outside it; in fact, they cannot see anything even close to the edge, because the limits of "reality" are obscured by energy that hides whatever is on the other side.
But God can make Himself known to us. He chooses the most elemental form with which to make his covenant with the Hebrews, for He wants them to separate their knowledge of Him from their previous religious training, where a "god" was a statue or a physical phenomenon. He wants them to understand He is irreducible; He cannot be made into a package (and we will see more of this in the Second Commandment).
That said, the first paragraph in the passage contains the direct significance: the Hebrews "sign the contract." Of course, this is an oral contract, but they give their formal and binding assent. We think of the major covenants of the Bible as one-sided — God tells us what it is and we obey — but the Hebrews' assent to this great covenant adds a dimension of free will.
Every human being can deny God; the consequences might be frightful, but we have the option. Of course, God is holding all the cards here, for the Hebrews are stuck in the middle of a desert, with hostile bandits at large; but they still have the option to leave, and perhaps they could live. Remember, Moses had left Egypt and found a life among the Midianites (and actually, came to Sinai while grazing livestock).