Daily Devotion for May 16, 2015
“Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
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.
Our “Oldies Saturday” is more like “Archeology Saturday”, since this is a rare window into the earliest times when audio-video recording existed. This is a group of African-American farm hands singing in a style that has disappeared; I hope you will find it as interesting as I do.
Oh Mary don't you weep, don't you moan (or mourn),
Oh Mary don't you weep, don't you moan,
Pharaoh's Army got drownded,
Oh Mary don't you weep.
Moses stood on the Red Sea shore
Smotin' the water with a two by four,
(at the end of every verse) Pharaoh's Army got drownded,
Oh Mary don't you weep.
The Lord told Moses what to do
To lead those Hebrew children through,
(Mississippi John Hurt adds the following verse:)
Sinners, don't come by the goin' home
No need to come when the train done gone,
God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, but the fire next time,
Mary wore three links of chain
Every link was in freedom's name,
When I get to Heaven, gonna sing & shout
Nobody up there to put me out!
One of these mornings, it won't be long
You're gonna call my name but I'll be gone,
One of these days, about 12 o'clock
This old world's gonna reel & rock.
One of these days, in the middle of the night
People gonna rise up and set things right.
It was Moses, first proved the notion:
The world is safer with the army in the ocean.
(Georgia Field Hands version)
I done told you once, I done told you twice,
Settled in hell if you shoot the dice,
God made man and He made him out of clay,
Put him on earth but not to stay.
I done told you once, done told you twice,
Can't get to heaven with a sweetheart and a wife,
Prayer to Do God’s Will
Oh Lord God, Father Almighty who created me and everything I see and enjoy, blessed and beautiful Jesus, love of my heart, bounteous Holy Spirit of God who is so kind as to be with me and comfort me whenever I ask, I thank you for all that I am and all that I have had in my life. Thy will be done, my God. I ask only that you let me know your will for me, for I am often confused or conflicted, and I seek your guidance. Knowing your will for me, let me be anxious for nothing. And I pray for the strength, the power and the energy, to accomplish your purpose. All glory be to you, one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who was before time and will be forever,
Lord, because you have made me, I owe you the whole of my love; because you have redeemed me, I owe you the whole of myself; because you have promised so much, I owe you my whole being.
I pray you, Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding. I owe you more than my whole self, but I have no more, and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you. Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of your love. I am wholly yours by creation; make me all yours, too, in love.
[I am wholly God’s by my creation.]
May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in His sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 18:25-27 (NKJV)
With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;
With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless;
With the pure You will show Yourself pure;
And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.
For You will save the humble people,
But will bring down haughty looks.
Job 38:1-13,31-40 (ESV)
What Do We Know?
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, saying:
“Who is this that darkens my counsel, using words without knowledge? Gird your loins like a man; for I am going to ask questions, and you are going to answer me.
Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you know, who marked off its measurements? Surely you know that! Who stretched the guide string? Where were its foundations fastened, and who laid the cornerstones, while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted with joy?
Who shut up the sea behind doors when it broke forth like a babe from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling, when I set its boundaries and put into place doors and bars to constrain it, when I said, 'This far you may come, but no farther, and here is where your proud waves will be stayed'?
Have you commanded the morning since your birth, showing dayspring its place, that it might take hold of the edges of the earth and shake the wicked out of it?
Can you hold the beautiful Pleiades in place, or cut the cord that binds Orion? Can you make the constellations appear in their season, bringing out the Great Bear with her cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you establish God's dominion over the universe?
Can you shout to the clouds to cover yourself with water? Do you send lightning bolts on their way? Do these report to you, saying, 'Here we are'?
Who endowed the heart with wisdom and gave understanding to the mind?”
Notes on the Scripture
his is less than half of God's diatribe against Job's prideful speech, in response to Job's espousing his theories of the universe. Job thinks he has things pretty well figured out, but God disagrees.
The basic idea is repeated throughout the Bible, e.g., “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) But nowhere else is it stated with such forcefulness or so directly and personally: Job 38 is a wonderful passage to keep handy and read from time to time, for we inevitably start thinking we have something all figured out, and we need an occasional wake-up call.
Job is probably the earliest written book in the Bible. God thus began his written advice to mankind with a stern warning about confidence in our understanding and opinions. If it is “Lesson # 1”, most of us need to return to kindergarten.
The French poet, Andre Gide said, “Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.” He might well have said, trust your mind when you are seeking the truth, but become skeptical when you think you know it.
This is why salvation is a matter of faith, not a matter of knowledge. A lack of preconception and an attitude of acceptance is the only way we can find Christ. This is a major theme in 1 Corinthians: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.”
We cannot know God. We cannot understand Him. There are things that our brains are incapable of grasping. The Talmud puts this very nicely: “We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.”
Here is an example: Many people struggle with the concept of predestination. If God is all-knowing, then He knows (and has always known) who will be saved. But we have free will. We can choose to believe or we can choose not to believe. But, logically, these two principles are absolutely contradictory.
But it is not God, but logic, that will fail in the end. For although our minds tell us that logic is infallible, logic is not truth; it is our attempt to make sense of the world. Logic is a fallible construct of the human mind. It is a useful tool, but it is not truth.
The first words of the Sermon on the Mount are: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) This is a little confusing, because “poor in spirit” sounds like a person without much spirit, but that is not the meaning. The phrase means that we must have the spirit of a poor person; that we must recognize that we do not really know very much. We must be spiritually hungry, we must realize our impoverishment.
Only after we empty ourselves of our opinions can truth find us. We pray, “Thy will be done.”