Daily Devotion for November 27, 2015
at Moses’ direction.
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.
Emeli Sandé performs the song she sang at the London 2012 Olympics in a quiet studio with a single mike.
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Music (Eventide) by Wm H. Monk, 1861
Lyrics by Henry Lyle, 1847
Prayer to Bear Witness Before the World
Let all who take refuge in you rejoice, O Lord. Let us ever sing for joy. Let those who confess your name raise up their voice, filling the air with glorious noise. Spread your protection over us, mighty God, that we who love your name may exalt you before all the people of the earth. Let the quiet and the shy find their courage so that they may sing and shout to the sky, “There is one great God who rules over us all, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth is His only Son”.
May I be blessed to help the blind see your glory and the deaf hear your praise, lest they surely die. For they must be told: Every heart will find righteousness and eternal life in the holy name of Christ, and nowhere else. Make me your trumpet, make me your lighthouse; let me proclaim to the very end of the earth, that Christ is King!
To Heal Divisions
Father, may our human family not become separated from you by building barriers of race, color, class, or beliefs. Inspire us to recognize that we are all made in your image and likeness, so that we may grow in appreciation of all people, and encourage each other to grow in pride in who we are and who we are called to be. May we recognize your Son in our midst, and live truly as brothers and sisters. I pray this in the name of Christ, in remembrance of His love for the Samaritan woman at the well.
[God understands our prayers even when we can't find the words to say them.]
Oh God Almighty, send me Your light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may Your mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.
~ Margaret Stunt
Exodus 20:22-26 (ESV)
How to Worship
And the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven. You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold. An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen.
In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.
If you make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stones, for if you wield your tool on it you profane it. And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.’”
Notes on the Scripture
The repetition or elaboration on the second commandment seems to clarify it some. There was a huge historical debate about depicting people, saints, God, and even the cross in churches; wars were fought and people killed over this question. Catholic and Orthodox worshippers, at one extreme, worship in front of paintings and statues of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and various saints.
An Amish church.
At the opposite extreme, very "protestant" Protestants, such as Anabaptists and Puritans, refuse to have any physical representation of a person or God in church. No stained glass windows, and often not even a cross on the wall; their worship is to the invisible God.
One cannot fault a congregation which doesn't have any paintings or statues; there is surely nothing in the Bible that says "put a cross on an altar and depict Christ's life in stained glass windows." On the other hand, the meaning of the second commandment, taken along with today's verses (and other verses), seem to show that such depictions fall outside the intended prohibition of "graven images".
he ancient Jews (and Orthodox Jews today) would have sided with the Puritans on this; they were and remain very strict about not having paintings or statues of any person in their temples and synagogues. But the primary prohibition intended by the stricture is to prevent syncretism (adding other gods) and polytheism (worship of multiple gods). An idol worshipper believes that the idol itself magical, that is contains a special spiritual pathway to the god being worshipped.
But the main point is to suppress worship of unrelated heathen gods, figments of mythological imagination separate from Yahweh Himself.
The first form of worship defined by God is also interesting. He wants an altar of stones piled in the desert which have not even been cut into rectangles, so that it will not be profaned by the tools used to cut it; and, He demands that it sit at ground level so that the people — possibly sitting, kneeling, or prostrate — won't be able to see up the priests' garments!
This passage is interesting in its insistence on extreme primitivism in worship. Nobody worships like this today. In the coming verses and books, God will require the building of a fairly nice temple (with minutely detailed specifications), so even the most Orthodox Jews do not pile rocks in a field and kill sheep and goats to burn upon it.
We do continue, however, to sacrifice in our worship services. The communion service, which is followed in some fashion by almost every Christian sect, recreates the sacrifice of flesh and blood made by Christ. So, as strange as the rituals of the Pentateuch may sound to us today, we retain a direct connection to them in modern worship.