Daily Devotion for February 26, 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 troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.
There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.
Prayer to Walk with Christ Today
Dear Heavenly Father, I am learning to understand what your word says. Yet so often I simply hear it or read it and think about applying it, but get no further. I pray that you will help your word to sink into my mind and soul, for you word is life itself. Help me to focus my mind and open my spirit and my heart to your eternal truth.
I know that your word, when it is in my heart, will change me, improve me, bring me closer to the person created in your image, and fill my life with joy. I ask your assistance, O Holy Spirit, to make your word alive in my actions today. Help me to grow in goodness. Let me take at least one action today and change it, responding according to your word in my heart instead of by my instinct, my greed, vanity, and pride. Nudge me and remind me throughout my day. Let me focus on my feet as I walk so that I may set them on your holy stepping-stones. Help me to be intent on practicing what you reveal to me, in every step of my journey this day, and always. In the name of Jesus,
Turn me, O good Lord, and so shall I be turned. Be favorable, O Lord, be favorable to your people, who turn to you in weeping, fasting, and praying. For you are a merciful God, full of compassion, long-suffering, and of great pity. You spare us when we deserve punishment, and even in your wrath think upon mercy. Spare your people, good Lord, spare them, and do not let your heritage be brought to confusion. Hear me, O Lord, for your mercy is great, and after the multitude of your mercies look upon me and all your people; Through the merits and mediation of your blessed Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
[The meaning of fasting during Lent.]
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions today, and always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Knowing the Answers
We live by revelation, as Christians, as artists, which means we must be careful never to get set into rigid molds. The minute we begin to think we know all the answers, we forget the questions, and we become smug like the Pharisee who listed all his considerable virtues, and thanked God that he was not like other men.
~ Amy Carmichael
Exodus 33:7-23 (ESV)
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent.
When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door.
Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”
And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” . . .
And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”
And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
Notes on the Scripture
ith the tabernacle yet to be built, Moses pitches a temporary tent outside the camp, and God makes His presence known to the fickle Israelites by manifesting Himself as the familiar column of cloud. Here Moses can speak with God in person, without having to ascend the mountain again. God's favor with Moses is enormous; as with Abraham, God will talk to him as a friend, allow Moses to argue with Him, and respond to questions.
The term "face-to-face" in the third paragraph, used in the original Hebrew, confuses the subsequent discussion of Moses seeing God's face. But "face-to-face" in ancient Hebrew was idiomatic, as it is today, and obviously cannot be taken literally. Human language, whether Hebrew or English, finds it difficult to express the ways in which God might manifest His presence. Moses sees something inside the tent (and atop Mount Sinai), but what he sees, he does not describe. There is something else he calls God's "glory" that he wants to see and has not; and yet another, higher level, which he calls God's "face".
We simply have no idea what any of this would look like, although we get later descriptions of God's manifestations, such as the fantastic visions in Ezekiel and Revelation. The one thing we know, for certain, is that a human being cannot see God's “face”, i.e., see Him as He actually exists. God tells Moses in this passage that "man shall not see me and live." Today, we look at this the other way around; we do not expect that we will see God until after our death.
This matter is part of the wonder of Jesus Christ, of course; God became fully human and the people of the time could look into an actual face, the face of God made man. But when Moses speaks of the "face" of God, it is simply a term used to describe something for which there is no word, for no living human has seen it.
This lone mystery serves to highlight the lack of mysticism, generally, in this part of Exodus. There are no secret rituals, no unseen occurrences, no hidden writings: God tells the Hebrews, "do exactly this on this day or when this occurs and you will be righteous before me, and I will protect you." Even the rituals that will be performed by the high priests in private are spelled out; and although the Ark and its contents are to be hidden from view, the Hebrews will have seen them.