Daily Devotion for July 16, 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.
Light My Path
I come to you, my God, asking that your Spirit guide me in prayer. Lead me to complete devotion in my moments spent with you, Lord, for your Son has told us to come to you and I want to do so, not halfway, but with my full heart.
I know from Him that prayer is for the good of all. For you, because it is your commandment; for myself, because you love me as no other and want to fill me with goodness; for other people, for I want to love them in ways that are not in my nature and can only do if your power shines fully through my existence.
You have sent us your Holy Spirit; let me know Him in all times and in all places and in every cell of my being. When I am confused, the Spirit will bring me wisdom; when I am angry, peace; when I am afraid, comfort. When I have puffed myself up with pride, the Spirit will gently dissolve my self-deception, so that fear and greed and foolishness will melt away and I will know you, and the security and peace of the only truth on earth: the love of Christ. Let this be, Lord, I pray. Light my path.
For the Holiness of the Church
Oh God my Father, who has always loved and protected your universal church, I pray that your Holy Spirit may fall upon all ministers, priests, pastors, bishops, and all who lead in churches; and upon all teachers of your holy Word.
Make them good and faithful stewards of your Holy Word, dear Lord. Bless them to lead us closer to you every day. Let them not be hypocrites in their actions, nor blinded by their personal bias to the truth of your teaching. Let them be strong against the pressures of the secular world, without compromise. Let them always strive for unity with all Christians, not pridefully dividing themselves from one another by the fallible doctrines of man. Raise them up, to peace and love and utter humility, that by their example your flock may be guided into the way of truth.
[Please pray that those who write for Daily Prayer may be guided by to truth.]
God of mercy, swift to help: as my lips pour forth your praise, fill my heart with the peace you give to those who wait for your salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 24:11-12 (The Message)
Rescue the perishing;
don’t hesitate to step in and help.
If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business,”
will that get you off the hook?
Someone is watching you closely, you know —
Someone not impressed with weak excuses.
Exodus 28 (ESV)
The Priests’ Garments
[Excerpts are given here. If you want to read all of Exodus 28, click the link or go to your own Bible.]
“Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests — Aaron and Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. . . .
You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work. In the style of the ephod you shall make it — of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen shall you make it. It shall be square and doubled, a span its length and a span its breadth. You shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row; and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold filigree. . . .
Notes on the Scripture
When it comes to getting dressed up, the Pope has nothing on the priests of Israel! The garments ordained by God are elaborate, rich, and expensive.
As we have said many times, we are no longer subject to the letter of the law of Moses, but if God ordained such extraordinarily sumptuous garments for His priests, Protestants should have no word of criticism for the ornate and expensive garments worn by priests of other denominations. We may want to worship, and it is fully within Christ's teachings to worship, in the simplest of settings, with the teacher dressed simply; and the truth cuts both ways, for such a setting warrants no criticism from the high Catholic or Orthodox worshipper.
More generally, however, there is a lesson to be learned from the reasons given for creating such extraordinary garments: "for glory and beauty." It is tempting, when our minds run along a certain track, to view beauty as entirely a sensual delight, and therefore to decide that spending time on the creation of it as categorically sinful, or at least suspect; a waste of time if not outright wrong. But, where beauty is created or enjoyed to the glory of God, this chapter puts shut to the argument.
God commanded the Hebrews to make these vestments for glory and beauty. It would thus appear that God has commanded, or at the very least authorized, the creation of beauty in His name. It will not do to stretch this thought very far, but it is well to remember.
Also, there is room for personal taste. We might, actually, find extraordinary beauty in the white painted room of a simple meeting house.
But what we cannot say, given these chapters of Exodus, is that beauty is by definition ungodly or un-Christian. Yes, we must ever be on our guard against vanity and pride; there is nothing here that tells the congregation to wear expensive gold ornaments or seek personal glorification. Just the opposite. But where beauty is created to God's glory, this chapter would appear to encourage it.
We are always reminded of the variety of spiritual gifts, notably explained to us in 1 Corinthians 12. If one person would live in the wilderness eating locusts and wearing a robe of hair, and another would sing or write a beautiful song, or make a beautiful piece of visual art, so be it. We work to the glory of God in many ways.