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Daily Devotion for May 10, 2015
Mothers Day (U.S. and New Zealand)
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 Purity of Worship
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you and worthily praise your holy name. Through Christ I pray,
Look down with mercy on thy servants who have come here to pray
To honor you and worship you
and to celebrate the resurrection of your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Accept the petitions now offered up unto you.
Pardon oh! God the offences of the past week.
We are conscious of many frailties;
we remember with shame and contrition, many evil thoughts and neglected duties;
and we have perhaps sinned against you and against
our fellow-creatures in many instances of which
we have no remembrance. Pardon oh God!
whatever you has seen amiss in us,
and give us a stronger desire of resisting every evil inclination
and weakening every habit of sin.
You know the infirmity of our nature,
and the temptations which surround us.
Be merciful, oh heavenly Father!
to creatures so formed and situated.
We bless you for every comfort of our past and present existence,
for our health of body and of mind
and for every other source of happiness which you have bountifully bestowed on us
and with which we close this day,
imploring their continuance from your fatherly goodness,
with a grateful sense of them at all times.
May the comforts of every day, be thankfully felt by us,
may they prompt a willing obedience of your commandments
and a benevolent spirit toward every fellow-creature.
Have mercy oh gracious Father!
upon all that are now suffering from whatever cause,
that are in any circumstance of danger or distress.
Give them patience under every affliction,
strengthen, comfort and relieve them.
To your goodness we commend ourselves this day
and for the coming night
beseeching your protection of us through its darkness and dangers.
We are helpless and dependent; graciously preserve us.
For all whom we love and value, for every friend and connection,
we equally pray; however divided and far asunder,
we know that we are alike before you, and under your eye.
May we be equally united in your faith and fear,
in fervent devotion towards you,
and in your merciful protection this night.
Pardon oh Lord!
the imperfections of these our prayers,
and accept them through the mediation of our blessed saviour,
Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, eternal and unchanging.
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, throughout the coming week, and always.
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.
What is Prayer?
Prayer is where pride is abandoned, hope is lifted, and supplication is made. Prayer is the place of admitting our need, of adopting humility, and claiming dependence upon God. Prayer is the needful practice of the Christian. Prayer is the exercise of faith and hope. Prayer is the privilege of touching the heart of the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
~ Rev. Joey Burns (Oneida Church of God, Oneida, Kentucky)
Exodus 24:1-11 (ESV)
The Covenant is Sealed
Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. Moses alone shall come near to the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”
Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the decrees. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”
And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.
Notes on the Scripture
In the central chapters of Exodus (beginning at Ch. 19), one sees that Moses must write down the laws that God has given him; thus, the narrative of the Israelites in the wilderness ceases and the genre changes from history to law. Chapter 24 returns to the story, picking up where it left off in Chapter 19. This interweaving of history and law continues throughout the Pentateuch.
oday's verses describe that ritual that sealed and formalized the Covenant. Another altar is built, this one with twelve pillars. Since God has commanded that all pillars of Ashereth be destroyed, He clearly does not mind holy pillars; it is the meaning, not the form, that differentiates the sacred and profane.
The ritual itself is foreign and rather gross to the modern eye. There is no indication that God decreed the particulars of the ritual; rather, it was a common form of making a treaty, or any very important contract, especially one involving forgiveness. An animal would be slaughtered and divided, and the parties would walk between the halves. Even the New Testament tells us that “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” (Heb. 9:22)
Ancient people were more aware than we, of an inescapable truth: a human cannot live unless something else dies. All food derives, ultimately, from photosynthesis. We curtain the messier and more arduous aspects of food production from our eyes, which certainly makes life much more pleasant for most of us; we would shriek in horror if somebody sprinkled blood on us. But we must recognize intellectually, even if we cannot change our emotional revulsion, that our horror of blood is an effeteness that comes as a by-product of our contained lives, where most of us are cordoned off from the early stages of food production.
But the form of the ritual is unimportant. The critical point is that the Hebrews, each and every one, assented to the Covenant in an unmistakably solemn ceremony. It was a form of ritual that they understood, and that they knew was solemn and sacred.
The elders were allowed to go partway up the mountain to see God. The appearance of God Himself is not recorded, and they may not have seen much more than bright light or mist. But they saw a remarkable sight, for the rock beneath Him was as clear as crystal and, apparently, sky blue. Thus, they were reassured that whatever phenomenon they perceived when they saw God was a marvelous and supernatural occurrence.