Daily Devotion for February 12, 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.
A pretty, soft song from talented songwriter and performer, Michael Ortega.
You are still beside me,
Or in death's dark shadows lie,
You will stay close by me.
If I flee on morning wings
Far across the gray sea,
Even there your hand will lead,
Your right hand will guide me.
Words and music by Fernando Ortega
Prayer for the Day
Holy God, you have given me another day. Bring your Holy Spirit into my mind and my life, so that I may walk this day in your presence. Let me feel your presence throughout the day, remembering always that you sent your Spirit that you might be a living force in all I see and all I do. When I feel temptation or begin to stray, show me your path. Correct me, comfort me, let me live your will; that I may be happy in this life and blessed in the life to come. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord.
Thanks for the Gifts of This Life
O God, I thank You for this day of life
for eyes to see the sky
for ears to hear the birds
for feet to walk amidst the trees
for hands to pick the flowers from the earth
for a sense of smell to breathe in the sweet
perfumes of nature
for a mind to think about and appreciate
the magic of everyday miracles
for a spirit to swell in joy at Your mighty presence
[Be quiet enough to hear God's whisper.]
All through this day, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
What is Faith?
Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.
~ Max Lucado
Exodus 27 (ESV)
The Bronze Altar
[Excerpts are given here. If you want to read all of Exodus 27, click the link or go to your own Bible.]
“You shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits broad. The altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits.
And you shall make horns for it on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze. You shall make pots for it to receive its ashes, and shovels and basins and forks and fire pans. You shall make all its utensils of bronze. You shall also make for it a grating . . . .
The Court of the Tabernacle
You shall make the court of the tabernacle. On the south side the court shall have hangings of fine twined linen a hundred cubits [about 150 feet] long for one side. Its twenty pillars and their twenty bases shall be of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. . . .
Oil for the Lamp
You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel.”
Notes on the Scripture
The altar was fundamentally a barbecue grill almost eight feet square. At different times and in different ways, the Old Testament teaches both the Hebrews and us an important, and often difficult, truth: God gave us life and He will not hesitate to take this life away. Our lives are His to take, if we offend Him, and He will allow the sinful to die (or, sometimes, kill them Himself).
If we have sinned, the only way God will allow us to live is by redemption: something must die in our place. This may not make complete sense, it might not be how we would do things, we might not think it is fair — but there you have it. One of the great themes of the Old Testament is redemption by substitution. God decrees that the Hebrews may offer the life of an animal to redeem their own life.
The laws of sacrifice are often quite specific. Some offerings to God are sacrifices for redemption, although some are simply gifts of thanks. In most cases, either the person making the sacrifice or the priests, or both, are allowed to eat part of the sacrifice, to share with God a meal of joy that the offeror's life has been redeemed.
Moreover, we see that worship is a community function. The primary worship is not done at home by an individual or family, but in public. There is one central altar for sacrifice. It is located in a great courtyard in front of the Tabernacle proper, to accommodate a crowd.
Finally, God never sleeps and His door is never closed. A lamp inside the Tabernacle was lit with the purest olive oil, to produce the cleanest flame they could manage. It was the duty of the priests — Aaron and his sons — to make sure that the lamp never went out at night. This symbolized that God's light was upon the Hebrew people at all times, from the sun by day and a special lamp by night, just as the light of His spirit is now upon us without ceasing.