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Daily Devotion for April 6, 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.
Prayer for God‘s Protection
Heavenly Father, I live in your shelter. You are my refuge and my fortress. You are my God, in whom I trust. Deliver me and all those who love You from the dangers of the world, both the physical dangers that can crush our bodies and the deadly pestilence that can lay waste to our souls. Cover us with your mighty wings and protect us with your steadfast shield, and we will not fear the terror of the night or the perils of the day.
The world in its darkness curses you, the only truth, the only love, the only salvation; it seeks to destroy us by force, by sarcasm, by seduction, by compromise. But if a thousand fall to the lies of the world, if ten thousand should fall away, it will not affect me. For I have made you my dwelling place, O God. You have sent your angels to guard the faithful. On their hands, they bear us up, that no stone shall strike our foot, and no viper strike our heel.
Deliver me, O Lord, for I hold fast to you even in my fear. No temptation or power of earth can separate me from your love. You answer me when I call to you; you protect me because I call on your name. You have satisfied me with long life and salvation. All praise to the God of Jacob, all praise to Jesus Christ.
Prayer of St. Jerome
Lord, thou hast given us thy Word for a light to shine upon our path; grant us so to meditate on that Word, and to follow its teaching, that we may find in it the light that shines more and more until the perfect day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[The Bible is like a light shining on a path at night.]
If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
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.
Matthew 5:17 (DP Bible)
Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Galatians 3:15-18 (DP Bible)
The Covenant of Abraham (Galatians #33)
15-18 This was a promise of God, a testament established 430 years before Moses; so how could the Law nullify it or add to it, so as to invalidate the promise? Even in the world of men, nobody nullifies or adds to someone’s last will and testament. If our inheritance came from the Law, then it did not come from a promise; but this is impossible, because God’s promise to Abraham was not revoked.
15 Brothers, even in human terms, when a covenant has been ratified nobody nullifies or adds to it.
16 Now to Abraham was said the promises and to the descendant of him. Not says it, “And to the descendants,” as for many, but as for one, And the descendant of you, who is Christ.
17 And this I am saying, covenant previously-established by god the after four-hundred and thirty years being-established law not annuls, in order to invalidate the promise.
About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.
It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.
The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible..
Notes on the Scripture
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the words “covenant” and “testament” in the Bible. We learn, sometimes, simply to accept things that we hear time and time again without full understanding. This makes for a special “religion vocabulary” — gobbledygook to the new believer and often vague even to the long-time faithful.
Our specific focus, today, stems not from English but from confusion in the Greek itself; apart from “religion vocabulary,” the English is perfectly clear. A “testament” in regular English is a “Will” or, more formally a “Last Will and Testament.” A “covenant” is fundamentally a contract. There are two differences. First, a testament is written (or spoken) by one person; it is what he wants, literally an expression of his will. A covenant exists between two or more people; they must both agree to it. Secondly, a testament becomes effective only when the testator dies. A covenant is usually (but not necessarily) effective while the parties to it are alive.
ebrew had a word that was understood to mean the relationships initiated by Yahweh; He would make certain requirements that, if accepted by a person or people, would bring His favor to them. Greek did not such a word. Like English, it had two words, “contract” and “testament”. And here is the source of the problem: the Greek word for contract implied equal status of the parties, at least in the eyes of the early translators of the Old Testament into Greek, @ 300 B.C. They did not want to use a word that would place God on the same level as human beings. They did not want the covenants between God and humanity to smack of marketplace haggling
So they used the word for “testament.” It is a more elevated, more dignified term. It more strongly connotes the will of God; it places Him as the author, with no insinuation that He was bargaining with equals. But the word is incorrect, because God, unlike a testator, will not die. In English, we do not have the same problem; our word “covenant” does not imply equality of the parties. Therefore, we call them covenants, and the Greek word for “testament” is translated “covenant” in most English-language Bibles. (Now you know why we call the Hebrew Scripture the Old “Testament”: it was the literal translation adopted in the first Bibles — the Vulgate uses the word testamentum — and became traditional. This had the side-effect of adding a special religious entry for “testament” to dictionaries!
Are we done with the confusion? Hardly! We stumble upon a new problem in today's passage, because Paul uses the word “testament” to mean . . . “testament” — not to mean a covenant between God and man, as it is used in the rest of the Bible. So some English Bibles mistranslate it, e.g. “Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established . . . .” (Gal. 3:15, NIV)
There was a covenant between God and Abraham, that Abraham's seed would inhabit Canaan and be special to God. This was a promise made to Abraham on account of his faith. But in regard to Abraham, the promise was something that his heir(s) would inherit; it took on the nature of a testament. What Paul is saying here, then, is that God's promise to Abraham, that would be passed on to his seed, cannot be extinguished or changed; he illustrates this by saying that even in human terms, the testament of a human being cannot be changed.
God, who is all-powerful, could hypothetically change anything He pleased, but He will not renege on His promise to Abraham; for one of the attributes of God is that He is faithful. (E.g. 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Deuteronomy 7:9. Therefore, Paul tells us, the Law of Moses, even though it was a covenant of God, did not extinguish, change, or in any way affect the promise made to Abraham.
With perfect consistency, the Gospels tell us that the coming of Christ did not abolish the Law of Moses, either in terms of the promises made by God or the moral force of the laws it contained. (Matthew 5:17-20)