Daily Devotion for July 30, 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.
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.
There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.
Prayer to Endure the World
Dear Jesus, look down on me this morning with sympathy, for I feel much afflicted. I have a headache and my back hurts. I did not sleep well and I did not sleep long enough. I am worried about my health, I am worried about my money, I am worried about my family. My home needs repairs. People do not give me the respect I deserve. Nobody listens to me.
There is a certain person who is driving me crazy! I don't have as much energy as I used to and I'm not sure I have enough to get everything done today that I want to do, or even, that I need to do.
The crazy and even destructive things people say in the media and the political mess in my locality and my nation make me despair. How can people be so stupid? They just seem to get worse and worse. The country is run by morons; how can people fail to elect people with some minimum of competence and honesty? Even in the churches, people cannot see or understand the most basic things about you, and the hypocrisy of so many Christians makes me half-ashamed to call myself one sometimes.
And then, Lord Christ, I realize. The world is not perfectible. There is only one place free from pain, worry, frustration, and all of the nonsense and damage that the human mind can create, and that is in your bosom. Hold me tight, Lord Jesus; give me the strength to endure the pain, give me the certainty of hope to avoid the anxiety, give me the blessed knowledge of Your coming again that I might not be stressed out about the things of this world; for they shall pass away soon enough.
And in the meantime, let me grow in you, that I might see my own wrongdoing and with the help of your Spirit, simply dissolve it away. It is in this world that Satan can find his prey, the fertile soil for evil. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, great Lord. Help me to prepare myself, I pray, in the name of Your love,
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
[Setting my feet on God’s stepping stones.]
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, and always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
In life, Lazarus lay in the street with dogs licking his sores, pleading with the rich man for help. Now they have both died, and seeing Abraham with Lazarus, the rich man pleads for mercy as he roasts in hell.
Knowing the Answers
We live by revelation, as Christians, as artists, which means we must be careful never to get set into rigid molds. The minute we begin to think we know all the answers, we forget the questions, and we become smug like the Pharisee who listed all his considerable virtues, and thanked God that he was not like other men.
~ Amy Carmichael
Exodus 33:7-23 (ESV)
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent.
When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door.
Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”
And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” . . .
And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”
And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
Notes on the Scripture
With the tabernacle yet to be built, Moses pitches a temporary tent outside the camp, and God makes His presence known to the fickle Israelites by manifesting Himself as the familiar column of cloud. Here Moses can speak with God in person, without having to ascend the mountain again. God's favor with Moses is enormous; as with Abraham, God will talk to him as a friend, allow Moses to argue with Him, and respond to questions.
The term "face-to-face" in the third paragraph, used in the original Hebrew, confuses the subsequent discussion of Moses seeing God's face. But "face-to-face" in ancient Hebrew was idiomatic, as it is today, and obviously cannot be taken literally. Human language, whether Hebrew or English, finds it difficult to express the ways in which God might manifest His presence. Moses sees something inside the tent (and atop Mount Sinai), but what he sees, he does not describe. There is something else he calls God's "glory" that he wants to see and has not; and yet another, higher level, which he calls God's "face".
e simply have no idea what any of this would look like, although we get later descriptions of God's manifestations, such as the fantastic visions in Ezekiel and Revelation. The one thing we know, for certain, is that a human being cannot see God's “face”, i.e., see Him as He actually exists. God tells Moses in this passage that "man shall not see me and live." Today, we look at this the other way around; we do not expect that we will see God until after our death.
This matter is part of the wonder of Jesus Christ, of course; God became fully human and the people of the time could look into an actual face, the face of God made man. But when Moses speaks of the "face" of God, it is simply a term used to describe something for which there is no word, for no living human has seen it.
This lone mystery serves to highlight the lack of mysticism, generally, in this part of Exodus. There are no secret rituals, no unseen occurrences, no hidden writings: God tells the Hebrews, "do exactly this on this day or when this occurs and you will be righteous before me, and I will protect you." Even the rituals that will be performed by the high priests in private are spelled out; and although the Ark and its contents are to be hidden from view, the Hebrews will have seen them.