Daily Devotion for September 26, 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.
Prayer for the Morning
Dear Lord, thank you for this beautiful day. Look after me and protect me throughout the day. Give me the wisdom to see and experience Your world in all its beauty. Let me experience the wonder of your creation.
Protect my family and those closest to me. Let me share with the world today, learning, growing, and contributing, and make the world a better place for all who know me, and for those who don't.
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
[Only God can keep alive in me the holy desires of the Spirit.]
And finally, may the grace of Christ our Savior, and the Father's boundless love, with the Holy Spirit's favor, rest upon me, and all of us, from above. Thus may we abide in union, with each other and the Lord, and possess, in sweet communion, joys which earth cannot afford.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
Exodus 10:21-29 (NKJV)
The Ninth Plague: Darkness
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.” So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
Then Pharaoh called to Moses and said, “Go, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you.”
But Moses said, “You must also give us sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve the Lord our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there.”
But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go. Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!”
So Moses said, “You have spoken well. I will never see your face again.”
Notes on the Scripture
he very first words in the Bible are: “In the beginning . . . darkness was over the face of the deep. . . . And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Darkness was not created by God. Darkness is what exists in the absence of God. Which is to say, darkness is non-existence. Because this is the first thing we read in the Bible, it informs everything in the Bible that comes after it. (In ten-dollar words, Biblical hermeneutics calls this an instance of the "First Mention Principle".)
God has turned His face away from the people of Egypt. There is literal darkness over the land and it is not just the light of the sun that is missing; light itself has ceased to exist. The Egyptians cannot burn a candle.
The physical light is metaphorical as well as literal. The Egyptians now live outside God's favor; they have lost His grace and love. But, despite the consuming nature of the darkness, the Hebrews are able to see light by burning candles in their houses. This is a very rich symbol to Jew and Christian alike, the burning of a candle as a demonstration of God's light, and both religions will burn candles when they turn their minds most fully toward God, i.e. on special occasions and during worship services.
The tenth and final plague, coming next, is what stands out in the minds of most people, but the most important one is the ninth, for it is the act of finality, the act of condemnation. A hanging draws popular notice, but it is only the inevitable consequence of a judge signing a death warrant.
The Pharaoh's final and most outrageous act of pride — telling Moses that he will see Pharaoh's face no more, and on the day he sees his face, Moses will die — is wrought with irony. Pharaoh is blind; living in absolute spiritual darkness, he believes that his face has the power of a god. But the true God has turned His face upon Moses and the Hebrews, and it is a face of love and salvation.
So when Moses agrees with Pharaoh, he does so with knowledge that Pharaoh lacks. He will no longer see Pharaoh's face, in the sense that Pharaoh will no longer have any power over him.