Daily Devotion for September 7, 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.
To Belong to Christ
Oh loving Lord Christ, so eager to die that I might live,
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
Put me to doing; put me to suffering;
Let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you;
Exalted for you, or brought low for you;
Let me be full, let me be empty;
Let me have all things; let me have nothing.
I freely and with my whole heart yield all things to your will and direction.
And now, oh glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours. Let this be for eternity, I pray.
Prayer for Forgiveness
Heavenly Father, true God, who sent your beloved Son to seek the wandering sheep, I have sinned against heaven and before you; receive me like the Prodigal Son, and clothe me with the garment of innocence, of which I was deprived by sin. Have mercy upon your creatures and upon me, a great sinner, through the miracle of Christ's resurrection and your grace, I pray.
[“Why, Lord, have you brought trouble on this people?” (See today’s Scripture)]
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip us with every good thing that we may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight; through Jesus Christ, 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.
Proverbs 19:1 (NKJV)
Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
Exodus 5:12-23 (NIV)
The People Criticize Moses
The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”
Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”
Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are — lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”
The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.” When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”
Notes on the Scripture
Pharaoh's orders have created a physical impossibility for the Hebrews. They were already working at full capacity just to make the mud bricks. Now, they have been ordered not only to gather their own straw, but also, to gather it from stubble — that is, from the remains in fields where the good straw has already been harvested.
Pharaoh, obviously, is not actually trying to increase brick production. The orders are just an excuse to show the Hebrews who's the boss. His dismisses this god of theirs. The Egyptians had dozens of gods, idols made by human hands, and often Egyptian pharaohs were considered gods or demi-gods in their own right. So, this puny god of the Hebrews, who were themselves slaves and an abomination to the real Egyptians, was practically a joke to him.
In fact, the Hebrews fear genocide (and rightfully so), but as thoroughly subjugated slaves will do, they blame not Pharaoh, but Moses. They have lost their confidence in the power of their God over the centuries; they have not utterly lost faith or reverence, but it is apparent that they have fallen into a great deal of idolatry and asceticism.
They blame Moses for calling on God; but Moses blames God Himself! He has been an unwilling participant all along, and a small setback has completely thrown him off track. Having little confidence in Yahweh, despite the miraculous signs, Moses does not understand that God might let his people suffer in the short run, as penance for their sinfulness, even though He fully intends to keep a promise of helping them.
If we look down on the Hebrews or Moses for their lack of faith, we need only to look at contemporary disdain for any sort of obedience to God's will. Atheism is a growth industry in the modern world, largely because people do not want to sustain any sort of sacrifice to do God's will. Sexual morals are especially out-of-fashion. The idea of delayed gratification is scorned. People scoff at God, and compare Him to Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.
This isn't meant to be a diatribe against modern life, but rather, an illustration to make us see the ancient Hebrews and Moses in a more understandable light. Human nature gravitates toward sin. The nation of Israel had lost its spirit, in both senses of the word.
Exodus is a long book, for bringing the Hebrews into obedience with God's will was a long and arduous process. Like all great things, faith in God takes time and effort.