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Daily Devotion for September 24, 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.
Praise to the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
Our God and our King, to Him we will sing.
In His great mercy, He has given us life;
Now we can be called the children of God.
Great is the Love that the Father has given us;
He has delivered us,
He has delivered us.
Children of God, sing your song and rejoice
For the love that He has given us all.
Children of God, by the blood of His Son
We have been redeemed and we can be called.
Children of God.
Children of God.
A mystery is revealed to the universe:
The Father above has proven His love.
Now we are free from the judgment that we deserve,
And so we are called the children of God.
We are the saints,
We are the children.
We’ve been redeemed,
We’ve been forgiven.
We are the sons and the daughters of our God.
Music and Lyrics by Mac Powell,
Tai Anderson, David Carr, and Mark Lee
Prayer for Renewal
God stir the soil
Run the ploughshare deep,
Cut the furrows round and round,
Overturn the hard, dry ground,
Spare no strength nor toil,
Even though I weep.
In the loose, fresh mangled earth
Sow new seed.
Free of withered vine and weed
Bring fair flowers to birth.
Save Me Lord
My Savior, do you invite me to share in the glory of the resurrection? Stay with me as I struggle to see how accepting the crosses of my life will free me from the power of the one who wants only to destroy my love and trust in you. Help me to be humble and accepting like your son, Jesus. I want to turn to you with the same trust he had in your love. Save me, Lord. Only you can save me.
Prayer the Gospel May Be Spread
Almighty God, you called your church to be united in faith. By your grace you have given us new life in Jesus Christ, and by your Spirit you have called us to proclaim his name throughout the nations. Awaken in me such a love for you and your world that I may so boldly proclaim Jesus Christ by word and deed that all people may come to know him as Savior and follow him as Lord. And bless and strengthen all those who dedicate their lives to the increase of your church, both at home and abroad. Send your spirit to fill their tongues with your message, and protect them from all harm, to the glory of your Name.
[Do I unite the church of Christ, or divide it?]
Oh Lord as I face creation
Let me see with eyes made clear
By Your promise of salvation,
Never to return to fear.
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.
Psalm 5:4-8 (NKJV)
You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil dwell with You.
The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.
You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.
Exodus 10:1-11 (ESV)
The Eighth Plague: Locusts 
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”
So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land.
And they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field, and they shall fill your houses and the houses of all your servants and of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.’” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh.
Then Pharaoh's servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh.
And he said to them, “Go, serve the Lord your God. But which ones are to go?” Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the Lord.”
But he said to them, “The Lord be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Look, you have some evil purpose in mind. No! Go, the men among you, and serve the Lord, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence.
Notes on the Scripture
God announces an underlying purpose of the plagues, for the first time. He wants Moses' son and grandson to witness His works. The ESV translates the verse "how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians", but it could as easily read "how I have humiliated" or "made a spectacle of . . . ." The plagues are a demonstration of His power and wrath, to be remembered for all time. They are also a sign of His commitment to the Hebrews.
One might puzzle over the plagues until this point. God certainly has no qualms about destroying cities or nations that have sunk into total idolatry and pridefulness, but in the case of Egypt, He seems wantonly cruel. If all He wants is to free the Hebrews, He could certainly accomplish the task with less fuss and less suffering.
The Plague of Hail,
Medhurst Bible Collection, date unknown.
Not that we can expect to understand God's methods, always. We are often in the position of savages who see a surgeon's knife cutting open a patient's abdomen, able to see the terrible wound inflicted but unable to grasp that, by this apparently murderous action, the surgeon will save the patient's life. But in this case, we are given a hint to understand the entire plague scenario.
The purpose is to save mankind by giving the Hebrews a demonstration which they, and the world, will remember forever. (And it worked!)
Another oddity is the repeated statement that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. We rarely see the Lord taking away free will. But in Exodus, Moses tells us that Pharaoh's intransigence was God's work.
In the context of the entire Bible, we must believe that Pharaoh was beyond salvation and irrevocably committed to his own pride. Had he been permitted to release the Hebrews at an earlier stage, it would only have been a matter of expediency — something along the lines of, "these Hebrews are more trouble than they are worth." If Pharaoh had been capable of abandoning his panoply of animal-god idols and bowing to Yahweh, we must believe God would have permitted it, for at every point God welcomes the penitent sinner with open arms.
As for the narrative, Pharaoh has now offered to let the men (and only the men) go worship, but his bargaining strategy backfires. Moses now demands specifically that every Hebrew person be allowed to go worship and, what's more, that they take their flocks with them. And we know that this retrograde bargaining will continue; instead of moving toward compromise, the demands of Yahweh and His people will only increase.