Daily Devotion for November 6, 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.
The innocent and chaste Desdemona sings this Ave Maria with special poignancy, for she is about to be strangled by her husband, who wrongfully suspects her of adultery. Performed here by the great Renee Fleming.
Prega per chi adorando a te si prostra,
Prega per chi sotto l'oltraggio piega
Ave Maria . . .
Music by Giuseppe Verdi (1887)
Lyrics by the Angel Gabriel, Luke the Evangelist, Girolamo Savonarola, and Arrigo Boito
Come to Our Aid
In the morning Abraham called upon you on the mountain top and you answered him, O lover of men; and in the morning I call upon you, come to my aid and the aid of all your servants, O God, full of mercy, hallelujah, and have mercy upon us.
Prayer of Repentance (from Psalm 51)
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. I am full of shame at my sin, and my heart lies heavy.
Purge me and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, bestow upon me, and upon all of us who pray together, the meaning of words, the light of understanding, the nobility of diction and the faith of the true nature. And grant that what we believe we may also speak.
[The slave clings to his chains.]
God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Spirit of God amidst us, direct our way unto you. Make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
We may speak about a place where there are no tears, no death, no fear, no night; but those are just the benefits of heaven. The beauty of heaven is seeing God.
~ Max Lucado
Exodus 19:1-6 (ESV)
The Call to the Old Testament
On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God.
The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
Notes on the Scripture
Rephidim could not have been far from Mount Sinai, for the entire area is pure desert and devoid of water; their only water source was at the foot of the mountain. They have been through a three-month period of preparation and training. They have formed into a nation with a judiciary and a military; they have learned the power of God and they have learned that their lives, every minute, depend on Him. He does not allow them the illusion of self-sufficiency we enjoy today; God provides their food and water directly, for they live in a land that has neither.
And now, the great moment occurs. God announces his covenant with the Hebrews, the “old testament”. They will keep His laws and He will make them a holy nation. They will stay in this camp for almost 11 months learning these laws. (Numbers 10:11)
Just in case they have not fully grasped the point, God makes one of the clearest statements of monotheism in the early parts of the Bible: “All the earth is mine.” Polytheism and idol worship, the tendency to forget God's overriding importance, was and remains a constant temptation; we swim upstream against it. Living in the Spirit is an active state. Without constant effort, any person will slip into polytheism or, more popular today, materialism and narcissism.
“The wings of eagles” is a stirring metaphor for life in the Spirit, or in terms of the Old Testament, a life of righteousness under God's law. Isaiah repeats it in a memorable passage (Isaiah 40:30-31)
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Trying to follow God's law, sitting down to read the Bible or starting to pray may seem like a chore sometimes; but when we move ourselves into the life of Spirit, God transforms us into something wonderful. To the Hebrews, he makes a promise of this life to them as a people. And they shall be the kingdom of priests, who will lead the rest of the world to this true and mighty God, if only they will obey Him.