Daily Devotion for January 21, 2016
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.
When I wake up in glory,
And to Jesus I'll sing redemption story.
Oh, I shall see Him, blessed be,
He who has bought me to be free.
When I wake up,
Yes, in glory by and by.
I shall go some sweet day,
And from earth shall pass away,
And my soul shall reach a better land.
Oh my soul shall be free,
And the Host shall reveal,
And the King Eternal shall understand.
When my weary eyes I close,
And I've sunk to sweet repose,
Singing Hallelujah, Hallelujah, and I know;
All my sorrows will be past,
As with sinners they will pass,
And I'll leave all my troubles here below.
Prayer to Live this Day with God
Dear Lord, I thank you for this day. I thank you that I can see or hear your Word this morning. Let me give thanks all day for what I have, especially your eternal love, and forgive me this day when I go astray, by my thoughts or actions; my only aim is to please you, to know and do your will. Guide my every step.
Help me to live this day with wisdom and discretion so that I may not fall short of your glory. Protect me from danger, both in the world and in my attitude. Give me the gift of a clear mind, that I might hear the quiet voice of your Spirit. Help to massage away resentments and blame for things gone by, that would eat my energy and poison my mind; but instead, help me to look to the moment, to what I can do, to work for the future. And let me never become frustrated where I lack control of events, for you are in charge, not me; and I put my entire faith in your power, your knowledge, your plan for humanity.
Your are my leader and my coach, Lord. I am on your team. Help me to keep this in mind for just today, in Christ's name I pray,
Thanks for All Mercies
Everlasting King, your will for our salvation is bursting with power. Your right arm controls the whole course of human life. I give you thanks for all your mercies, for those I see and for those I cannot see, and for the unnumbered mercies I cannot even imagine. For eternal life, for the heavenly joys of the Kingdom which is to be, I bend my knee in gratitude. Grant mercy to all who sing your praise, both now and in the time to come. Glory to You alone, O God of eternity, from age to age.
[Without the Spirit of God, we can do nothing.]
God of mercy, swift to help: as my lips pour forth your praise, fill my heart with the peace you give to those who wait for your salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.
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.
Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Exodus 21:12-17 (ESV)
Laws of Moses - Capital Crimes
“Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death. But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place to which he may flee. But if a man willfully attacks another to kill him by cunning, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.
“Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.
“Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.
“Whoever curses [or dishonors] his father or his mother shall be put to death.
Notes on the Scripture
The law makes an early definition of the difference between murder and manslaughter. A person who accidentally or in the heat of a moment kills another can seek sanctuary. Eventually there would be six sanctuaries in Israel, run by the priestly tribe of Levites, where a killer could flee. He would thus avoid hot revenge from relatives and there would be time for the facts to be sorted out, but it did not mean the person would necessarily get off scot-free. Rather, sanctuary served as a sort of jail where a murderer's fate could be decided when the facts were better known and there was time for passions to cool.
The other verses puts some teeth into the fifth commandment. A curse, it should be noted, does not mean angry words, name-calling or heated argument; a curse is a wish, stated to a non-earthly entity (whether God or some heathen god or force of nature) that a person die or suffer some grave injury.
Kidnapping is also a capital offense. Apparently, kidnapping for ransom was not common; in the day, kidnappers made their money by selling the victim into slavery, as Joseph's brothers did to him. (Genesis 37:18-36)
Daily Prayer tries to steer clear of hot-button political issues, such as capital punishment and abortion, unless there is explicit direction from the Bible itself, when read without preconception. We preach Christ crucified, as Paul says, and the brotherhood of those who confess Christ. Christ, and Peter and Paul after Him, pointedly avoided politics. They would sway opinion and bring people to the truth by persuasion, never by trying to take earthly power or have laws passed.
oday's lesson provides a clear example of the dangers of politicizing the Bible. Death of an offender was authorized by God Himself as the punishment for murder. But consider, it was also the punishment authorized for striking a parent, or for adultery. Differentiating between the various crimes punishable by death in the law of Moses is something we do in our minds or in society, outside of Biblical teaching. The criminal code of no nation is taken from the Bible, but from the minds of men, albeit often trying to do the best they can to be just.
The matter is made one of conscience by Christ Himself, particularly the famous account in John of the woman taken in adultery and the line, "let him who is without sin cast the first stone". (John 8:1-11)
Would Christ have done the same for a notorious and unrepentant mass murderer? Well, we don't know what He would have done. We can pray, we can speculate, but opinions on capital punishment are not the message of Christianity.
What we cannot do, and what is clear in the Bible, is that we cannot argue in hatred and rage. If someone is executed and you oppose it, pray for his soul and pray for those who executed him, loving them as your brothers; Christ will judge them — and us. Did not Christ pray for those who murdered Him? (Luke 23:34) If a heinous criminal is not executed and you think he should be, again, pray that he may be forgiven and will find Christ before he dies. It is not for us to pass judgment, or even to arrogate to ourselves a prediction of how Christ will judge other people.