Daily Devotion for October 12, 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.
Robin Marks sings this lovely old Welsh hymn.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God, who has created all things, seen and unseen, this day is your creation and I give thanks to live in it. I pray that I will not shut you out of the day you have made, blinded by the petty concerns of life, but that I may be always open to your presence.
I open my body to you, for it is your breath that fills and warms the lifeless clay.
I open my eyes and ears to you, thankful for the light of your Word, which has brought me out of the shadow of ignorance.
I open my heart to you, aglow with thanks for your love, filling me with compassion, understanding, and peace.
I open my soul to you, grateful for your Spirit, who fills me with wisdom when I take a moment to listen.
All that I am, I open to you and I return to you, giving thanks every moment of my life for the blessings that fill this day. Through Christ I pray.
To Help Everyone I Meet
Holy God, I pray that today the love I show to my fellow man will not be a sham, but fashioned in a sincere heart. May your Holy Spirit be powerful in me, blinding me to annoyances and putting aside selfish greed, so that I may lift up the people I meet, showing them warm affection and leaving them filled with good spirits and confidence. If they are sorrowful, lead me to console them. If they are lost, let me show them the path. Help me always to seek after good rather than evil, and to display, for the whole world to see, the miracle you have worked in my soul.
In the name of Christ, who was always ready to teach and heal and save, I pray,
[How can I repay a little of the debt I owe to Christ?]
Dedication (from St. Teresa of Avila)
May it please you, my good Lord, that there may come a day when I can repay a little of my great debt to you. O Jesus, strengthen my soul, you who are good above all good; and since you have inclined my soul in this way, show me how I may act for you, whatever it may cost, O Lord. Here is my life, my honor and my will; I have given them all to you and they are yours: use me to do whatever you want.
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.
At the supreme moment of his dying Jesus so identified himself with men and the depths of their predicament and agony that no man can now sink so low that God has not gone lower.
~ Os Guinness
Exodus 13:17-18 (ESV)
The Hebrews Depart Egypt
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea.
Notes on the Scripture
Exodus contains two great stories: The release of the Hebrews from slavery, and the Hebrew journey to Canaan. The second story begins here. Oddly, when Archbishop Steven Langton divided the Bible into the chapters we use today (around 1220 A.D.), the major breaking point of today's short reading was not marked by a new chapter.
There has been, since before written history, a trade road along the Mediterranean coast connecting Canaan and Egypt. The world's greatest road builders, the Romans, built a marvelous road the called simply the Via Maris, the "Sea Road" (or perhaps "Ocean Highway", as it would more likely be called today). It was the logical and easy route for the Hebrews to follow from Egypt to Canaan, the equivalent of taking I-95 from New York to Miami.
But we must imagine what sort of people the Hebrews were when they exited Egypt. They had been Egyptian slaves for hundreds of years. The men were herders, farm laborers and construction laborers; the women, housewives, hand servants, and seasonal field hands. They were ignorant and unlettered. They had no military training and no weapons. None of them were trained to lead, and most knew only a sedentary or pastoral lifestyle. And perhaps most difficult, their personalities were strongly molded to conform to their role in Egyptian society.
Ahead of them on the Via Maris were the Philistines, a nation powerful enough to attack mighty Egypt in 1183 B.C. Of course, God could simply have swept away the Philistines, but He would have simply created a nation of sheep, which was not His intention. From what we can tell in the Bible, God's intention is that man should be self-sufficient and free, with free will; and that having been given this free will, turn to Him out of love and reverence. If God wanted puppets, he would have made puppets; but He did not.
And so, the Hebrew rabble is totally unprepared even to exist outside Egypt, much less meet a powerful army. They are like pitiful refugees in WW2 caught between the Germans and Russians. This is why God does not send them directly to Canaan, where they would immediately be attacked by the powerful Philistines. Instead, He will send them to the wilderness for forty years of training and hardening, in every sense: Mental, physical, moral, and perhaps most important, religious.
(In our study of Exodus, the following two maps will be linked when appropriate:)