Daily Devotion for October 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.
Brahm’s fabulous, lush setting of Psalm 84.
“A Little Prayer”
Let us be thankful, Lord, for little things
The song of birds, the rapture of the rose;
Cloud-dappled skies, the laugh of limpid springs,
Drowned sunbeams and the perfume April blows;
Bronze wheat a-shimmer, purple shade of trees -
Let us be thankful, Lord of Life, for these!
Let us be grateful, God, for health serene,
The hope to do a kindly deed each day;
The faith of fellowship, a conscience clean,
The will to worship and the gift to pray;
For all of worth in us, of You a part,
Let us be grateful, God, with humble heart.
To Awaken in Christ's Body
I awaken in Christ's body as Christ awakens my body, and my poor hand is Christ. He enters my foot, and is infinitely me. I move my hand, and wonderfully my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him (for God is indivisibly Whole, seamless in His Godhood). I move my foot, and at once He appears like a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous? Then I must open my heart to You and let myself receive the One who is opening to me so deeply. For if I genuinely love You, I wake up inside Your body where all my body, all over, every most hidden part of it, is realized in joy as You, and You make me utterly and real. Everything that is hurt, everything that seemed to me dark, harsh, shameful, maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged, is in You transformed and recognized as whole, as lovely, and radiant in Your light.
Awaken, Beloved Son of God, in every last part of my body.
[Turn your face to the Sun and the shadows fall behind you.]
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 84:1-5, 9-12 (KJV)
How amiable are thy tabernacles,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord:
my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Yea, the sparrow hath found an house,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King, and my God.
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house:
they will be still praising thee. Selah.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee;
in whose heart are the ways of them.
Behold, O God our shield,
and look upon the face of thine anointed.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.
I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God,
than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield:
the Lord will give grace and glory:
no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
Exodus 17:1-7 (ESV)
Water from the Rock
All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?”
But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.”
And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Notes on the Scripture
Although place names in Exodus, especially the Sinai, are nearly impossible to locate with any accuracy, the Israelites have certainly moved into the lower half of the peninsula and are still in the west. It is a land filled with deserts, and the Hebrews have found a good one; there is no water at all.
By now, the dynamics of the journey are becoming familiar. The Hebrews seem to face certain death. They complain loudly, for their trust in God is weak and their tribulation considerable. God, communicating through His prophet Moses, intervenes; and in this case, the miracle God brings, to reinforce the lesson He intends to pound into their minds for forty years, is spectacular.
Moses' act is, in itself, spectacular: striking a hot, bare, dry boulder in the middle of a scorched desert, whereupon a spring of potable water gushes forth, sufficient for 30,000 people and their livestock. But even more, it demonstrates God's fundamental creative power. Fresh water determines where life can exist on earth, and thus creates a natural and frequently-used Biblical metaphor for God's grace, without which spiritual life cannot exist. E.g.:
Moses performs an act of physical salvation; but layered onto it is a broader message of spiritual salvation, looking ahead to Christ and even Peter, the founder of Christ's church, the "rock upon which" Christ would ensure the continued salvation of the faithful after His ascension.
The desert has come to embody a retreat into a state of spiritual openness, for being there deprives one of physical distraction. It symbolizes (and brings about) what Jesus called becoming "poor in spirit", that is, being free of internal suppositions and thus open to God's word. And so the water of life gushes into the Hebrews, when they are the most thirsty, setting the stage for God to bring His commandments to humanity.