Daily Devotion for March 14, 2015
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.
“Gov't Mule” was started by the Allman Brothers to play traditional blues. This song, John the Revelator, is known only from Blind Willie Johnson, who may have written it or simply preserved a traditional song.
“A Little Prayer”
Let us be thankful, Lord, for little things
The song of birds, the rapture of the rose;
Cloud-dappled skies, the laugh of limpid springs,
Drowned sunbeams and the perfume April blows;
Bronze wheat a-shimmer, purple shade of trees -
Let us be thankful, Lord of Life, for these!
Let us be grateful, God, for health serene,
The hope to do a kindly deed each day;
The faith of fellowship, a conscience clean,
The will to worship and the gift to pray;
For all of worth in us, of You a part,
Let us be grateful, God, with humble heart.
To Speak in Sympathy
Lord God, I pray that you will give me the strength to speak up for the woebegotten and those isolated in any way, even when no other person will; let me refrain from the unkind silence created in a hard heart, the unkind silence that clouds the bright sunshine of human sympathy and truth. Give me strength to be the first to speak the tender word of healing and friendship; make your Spirit powerful in my heart, that I may not remain silent when Christian love requires that something be said. And give me a sense of purpose, that I might actively forge the bonds of love among my brothers and sisters in Christ; this I ask in His name,
[When has my silence been unkind?]
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions today, and always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 115:1-3 (ESV)
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
Exodus 17:1-7 (ESV)
Water from the Rock
All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?”
But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.”
And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Notes on the Scripture
Although place names in Exodus, especially the Sinai, are nearly impossible to locate with any accuracy, by the time this incident occurred, the Israelites had certainly moved into the lower half of the Sinai Peninsula, but still to the west. It is a land filled with deserts, and the Hebrews found a good one; there is no water at all in that area.
The Hebrews seemed to face certain death. They complained loudly, for their trust in God was weak and their tribulation considerable. God, communicating through His prophet Moses, intervened; and in this case, the miracle God brings, to reinforce the lesson He intends to pound into their minds for forty years, is spectacular.
Moses' act was, in and of itself, remarkable enough: striking a hot, bare, dry boulder in the middle of a scorched desert, whereupon a spring of potable water gushed forth, sufficient for 30,000 people and their livestock. But even more, it demonstrated God's fundamental creative power. Fresh water determines where life can exist on earth, and thus creates a natural and frequently-used Biblical metaphor for God's grace, without which spiritual life cannot exist. E.g.:
oses performs an act of physical salvation; but layered onto it is a broader message of spiritual salvation, looking ahead to Christ and even Peter, the founder of Christ's church, the "rock upon which" Christ would ensure the continued salvation of the faithful after His ascension. When the crucifixion occurred, “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” (John 19:34) We thus have a prophecy of Christ by Moses' act, for as God gave the Hebrews life through His agent, Moses, by supplying literal water in a literal desert, God will give the world eternal life through His Son, Jesus, by supplying spiritual water in a spiritual desert, the water of eternal life.
The desert itself plays a part in this symbolism. It has come to embody a retreat into a state of spiritual openness, for being there deprives one of physical distraction. It symbolizes (and brings about) what Jesus called becoming "poor in spirit", that is, being free of internal suppositions and thus open to God's word. One must be thirsty to want water; one must have spiritual thirst to want the water of life that Christ gives.
But returning to the Old Testament story, the water of life gushes into the Hebrews, when they are the most thirsty, setting the stage for God to bring His commandments to humanity. So there is a hint of the same symbolism; the Hebrews must thirst, before God will give them His law, setting the stage for their ultimate redemption many centuries later.