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Daily Devotion for January 23, 2018


Fresco of the Philistine captivity of the ark, in the Dura-Europos synagogue.
Fresco of the Philistine captivity of the ark, in the Dura-Europos synagogue.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord’s Prayer

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.

Amen.




Prayer for the Day Ahead

Who can tell what a day might bring? Therefore, gracious God, cause me to live every day as if it were to be my last, for I cannot know that it is not. Help me to live this day as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

Amen.

Ancient Prayer: Jesus Wash My Feet

Jesus, my feet are dirty. Come even as a slave to me, pour water into your bowl, come and wash my feet. In asking such a thing I know I am overbold, but I dread what was threatened when you said to me, “If I do not wash your feet I have no fellowship with you.” Wash my feet then, because I long for your companionship.

Amen.

For Teachers and Students

Almighty God, I pray to you to look with favor upon our universities, colleges, and schools, that knowledge may be increased among us, and sound learning flourish and abound. Bless all who teach and all who learn; and grant that in humility of heart they may ever look to you, the fountain of all true wisdom, and not be led by the devices of their minds into the pride and hollowness that comes from knowledge without truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Meditation

[“If I do not wash your feet I have no fellowship with you.” (John 13:8)]


Benediction

May the God of hope fill me and all of us with the joy and peace that comes from believing, so that we may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.


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.



Replica of the Ark of the Covenant
Replica of the Ark of the Covenant, as described in Exodus 25.

Grieve Not!

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.

~ John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople; sermon, ca. 400


Blue Latin Cross

1 Samuel 4:2-11 (ESV)

The Philistines Capture the Ark

Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek. The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated before the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the field of battle.

And when the people came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

A

s soon as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, “What does this great shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” And when they learned that the ark of the Lord had come to the camp, the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “A god has come into the camp.” And they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness. Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.”

So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.


Notes on the Scripture

Disaster! The Ark of the Covenant, which contained the original stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, was the holiest item of the Hebrew nation. Even Aaron had not been allowed to enter the room where it was kept except once a year. Although it had been carried before the wandering tribe, and Joshua carried it before his army into battle, that had been over 300 years before. The day recounted in today’s Scripture represents events so terrible that the very survival of Israel is brought into question.

Hebrew high priest burning incense at the altar

The relocation, destruction and/or disappearance of such small tribal nations was commonplace in the bronze and iron ages. In fact, the Philistines were eventually so completely destroyed that we know almost nothing about them except from the Bible. They are barely mentioned in Egyptian documents as one of the seafaring peoples against which a war was fought. All that is known of their language are a few loan words retained in Hebrew. So the death of thirty thousand men in battle and the loss of their central religious object threatens Israel with cultural extinction and historical obscurity.

But God is still with them; he has punished them terribly, but the covenant is still in effect; and the Philistines have made a mistake in taking the Ark; they are about to discover God’s power. They will pay for this affront to the one true God, just as Eli’s sons have paid for their blasphemy at the Philistines’ hands.



endless knot

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Daily Quiz

Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for Jan 22, 2018 were:
Sylvia Banda (12)
John Mash (11)


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