Daily Devotion for May 3, 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.
The picture is a man named Horatio Spafford, a prominent attorney in Chicago married to the love of his life, Anna Larsen. In 1870, their 4-year-old son died of scarlet fever. Six months later, the Great Fire of Chicago destroyed his entire fortune. Two years later, the ship on which his wife and four remaining children were traveling to England sank; only his wife survived. He wrote this hymn while sailing to his wife in England.
The Spaffords lived out the rest of their lives as charity workers in Jerusalem.
For Sunday Morning
Oh heavenly Lord, who decreed that we should take one day of rest, one special day in remembrance of you, today I celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the moment of His glorious victory over death. I add my voice to countless millions of others in thanks, in praise, and in awe of Your sacrifice for us.
Help me, dear Lord, to dedicate these few moments to You completely. You have taught us that we may dwell with you, even while we are caught in this difficult world, and I pray to dwell with you fully now. Guard me against wandering of mind and the intrusion of mundane thought, so that I may be fully present with you, through the power of Your Holy Spirit.
And in the coming week, I pray that my mind may constantly turn to you, so that I may always remember you when I am tempted to anger, to selfishness, to lust for power and the vanities of this world, or any of the myriad temptations that might assail me in the course of life. In the name of Christ and through faith in Him, I pray,
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the week and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me today and throughout the coming week, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
Prayer of Praise to Christ
Lord Jesus, You are the First and the Last, and the Living One; You were dead, but You are alive forevermore, and You have the keys of death and of Hades. You are the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David and the Overcomer. You are the Lamb who was slain and whose blood purchased for God people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You are worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.
The kingdom of the world has become Your kingdom, and You will reign forever and ever. You are called Faithful and True, and in righteousness You will judge and wage war. You are King of kings and Lord of lords. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. And You are coming quickly, and Your reward is with You. Come, Lord Jesus.
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.
Psalm 2:10-12 (NKJV)
Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
Exodus 23:20-33 (ESV)
Conquest of Canaan Promised
Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him.
But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces.
The Hittites were
You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. I will send my terror before you and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.
And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.
And I will set your border from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River [Note: the Euphrates], for I will give the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.
Notes on the Scripture
Much of this is familiar territory for anyone who has followed the story of the Hebrews from Abraham to the gathering at Mount Sinai, but it is the best and most thorough statement of the old covenant in Exodus, and adds several elements people often overlook or forget.
There are really three ideas introduced here, following the timeline of Exodus. We associate the exodus with God appearing as a pillar of fire and smoke, and as a cloud over Mount Sinai. But here, He announces that He is going to withdraw in His present form, as a mighty presence atop the mountain so powerful that, for most men, merely coming close to Him will result in death. He will, instead, send an angel to go before the Israelites on their journey.
The actual angels in the Bible are never sweet, innocuous pink children with wings and harps. At their most friendly, they might appear as men (as with Abraham) or a blazing light with a semi-human form, as to Mary before Christ's birth and at his tomb. But just as often, they are terrifying creatures of enormous power, with a capacity for destruction.
The angel in this case is more akin to the latter category, for he is the instrument of God's wrath against the idol-worshipping tribes of Canaan. Whether they are manifestations of God himself, or always separate beings (messengers), we are often not certain. Most likely, we simply lack the the capacity to understand fully the nature of their existence.
Secondly, God promises not only land and prosperity, but good health, and especially fertility for the women. This hearkens all the way back to Abraham, for the bloodline of the entire race comes from Isaac, a man whose mother was barren and aged when he was born.
Finally, we learn that the conquest of Judea is to be gradual. God will not lead the Israelites to simply depopulate Canaan, for they are still a small people, perhaps roughly 20,000 (estimates vary enormously, some in the millions). In fact, as it turns out, it will be many centuries until they actually control the mass of land described — the time of Kind David — and even then, they will not follow God's clear directions. The Hebrews will never drive out the numerous heathen tribes and will, as a result, constantly fall into the worship of idols and every other practice forbidden by God.