Daily Devotion for April 10, 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.
This gorgeous chorale, Cantique de Jean Racine (Song of Jean Racine), won young Gabriel Fauré first-place when he graduated from a Paris conservatory. The text is a poem by the 17th century French dramatist, Jean Racine.
Répands sur nous le feu de ta grâce puissante,
O Christ, sois favorable à ce peuple fidèle
Music by Gabriel Fauré (1865)
Lyrics by Jean Racine (1680)
Prayer for the Day Ahead
Who can tell what a day might bring? Therefore, gracious God, cause me to live every day as if it were to be my last, for I cannot know that it is not. Help me to live this day as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
Prayer to Love Others
Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom you have taught us that love is the greatest good; defend me this day against all the instincts that tempt me away from love of my fellow man. Let me put aside every sort of prejudice and bias against other people who are different from me: those who have a different gender, or skin color, or accent, or who have different ideas about politics or how to drive a car or any of the thousand other differences that Satan uses to drive a wedge between me and all the other people of earth.
Let me accept others for who they are. Let me know that they are your creatures, and that you love them just as you love me. Let me not be stingy with my affection or my support of others out of jealousy, or greed, or pridefulness; but look upon the work of others, and their well-being, as I look upon my own.
I am weak, Lord, and I often stumble and let myself lapse into irritation or anger at others; but through your Holy Spirit, all things are possible; and I ask that today you be with me at every moment, and fill me with the capacity for love that only your Spirit can bring to me. In the name of my Lord Christ I ask this,
[Not being stingy with my support of others, out of jealousy.]
I pray that I may be blessed every step of my path this day by the great God of light. May your sun shine upon me; as the moon moves the tide, may your Spirit move my emotions with every grace and magic; may my heart sing with the voice of your angels and my hearth be warm; and may this and every blessed day You have given me be filled with joy.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
1 Timothy 2:5-6 (ESV)
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
Galatians 3:19-20 (DP Bible)
The Mediator (Galatians #36)
19b-20Angels delivered the Law to humanity through a mediator, to serve until the descendant should come, the one who was heir to the promise. And consider this: A mediator by definition serves more than one person, but there is only one God.
19 Why then the law? Because of Or on account of; or for the sake of. This could hardly be less clear. Does the law “restrain” sin, or “define” sin, or “deal with” sin (on an interim basis), or “increase” sin? All four meanings are possible and have been argued by eminent scholars. transgressions it was added, until when might have come the descendant to whom it was promised, being established through angels by hand of mediator.
20 And the mediator of one not is, but god one is.
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
Paul’s long exposition of the relationship between the promise God made to Abraham, the Law of Moses, and the redemptive power of the crucifixion, has a rather odd little secondary argument in these verses. It is easy enough to understand that the Law established transgressions, if we have followed the preceding verses of Galatians 3. And we have seen that there was one heir of the promise to Abraham — Jesus Christ — and that the Law served until His coming. But the idea that the Law was given by angels, and the odd little verse 20 concerning the mediator, present problems.
Paul's assertion that the law was delivered by angels is nowhere to be found in Exodus, which depicts only direct interaction between Moses and Yahweh. God specifically stated His identity: I AM. The only reference to some sort of beings in God's company, on Mt. Sinai, is Deuteronomy 33:2.
Unfortunately, the Hebrew of Deut. 33:2 is virtually untranslatable. The best estimate of its meaning is that, when God delivered the law, He had with Him a great “host” — a vast retinue of persons or entities — but one really cannot identify who or what they were from the Hebrew text. In the version of Scripture Paul used, however — the Greek Septuagint — this host is, in fact, identified as “angels”.
Paul might also be referring to Scripture which has since been lost; he does not identify his source. There is a strong Jewish tradition that God acted through or with angels in delivering the law on Mt. Sinai, and since we trust Paul, we might trust that this tradition was rooted in Scripture outside our modern Bible.
Fortunately, although this mention of angels is interesting, it is peripheral. When Paul talks about the “mediator”, it is as clearly singular in Greek as in English, and therefore (despite the mention of the angels) the focus of his teaching has to be Moses.
oses received the Law from God and delivered it to the Hebrews. Dictionary.com defines mediate thus: “to act between parties to effect an agreement, compromise, reconciliation, etc.” A mediator stands between two parties to some legal or personal interaction, not representing either one of them exclusively, but acting as a go-between to facilitate a successful resolution.
So the law was given to the Hebrews using a middleman, whereas God always dealt with Abraham directly. Therefore, Paul teaches us, the promise God made directly to Abraham had greater status (in some respects) than the law. But how and why the direct promise was superior to the mediated one takes us into another difficult passage.
If the logic and meaning of the brief verse 20 perplexes us, we are not alone: it puzzles everyone. J.B. Lightfoot, in his classic The Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1957), stated that there were 250 to 300 different interpretations of it! I will simply take one good one: Abraham's dealing with God was one-on-one, just as we were enabled to have a direct, one-on-one relationship with God by virtue of Christ and the Holy Spirit. We do not need to deal with multiple persons to petition God or to be instructed or sanctified by Him. Instead of a mediated relationship involving ourselves and at least two other persons (e.g. Moses and God), our relationship involves only God.
Do not confuse this with the New Testament concept of Jesus as a “mediator” between ourselves and the Father, or with the concept of Christ as our High Priest delineated in Hebrews. Christ is God; in some sense, not fully comprehensible to the human mind, Christ and the Father are one. John 1 teaches us this, without question, without qualification.
With the coming of Christ, there is no longer a mediator situated between us and God; because of Christ's sacrifice, we are acceptable in God's sight, and He will deal directly with us no matter how badly we have sinned in the past. So although Paul’s language is puzzling here, his meaning is crystal clear. Why would the Galatians want a secondhand relationship with God, by becoming circumcised, when they have already been given a direct spiritual relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit?