Daily Devotion for January 30, 2018
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.
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away;
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life;
I know that it is finished.
I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart:
His wounds have paid my ransom.
Music and Lyrics by Stuart Townend
Make Me Your Servant
O Lord, we come this morning
Knee-bowed and body-bent
Before Thy throne of grace.
O Lord—this morning—
Bow our hearts beneath our knees,
And our knees in some lonesome valley.
We come this morning—
Like empty pitchers to a full fountain,
With no merits of our own.
And now, O Lord, this child of God,
Who breaks the bread of life this morning—
Shadow me in the hollow of Thy hand,
And keep me out of the gunshot of the devil.
Take me, Lord—this morning—
Wash me with hyssop inside and out,
Hang me up and drain me dry of sin.
Pin my ear to the wisdom-post,
And make my words sledge hammers of truth—
Beating on the iron heart of sin.
Lord God, this morning—
Put my eye to the telescope of eternity,
And let me look upon the paper walls of time.
Lord, turpentine my imagination,
Put perpetual motion in my arms,
Fill me full of the dynamite of Thy power,
Anoint me all over with the oil of Thy salvation,
And set my tongue on fire.
For the Holy Spirit
O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.
[“Bow our hearts beneath our knees.”]
I dedicate this day to you, mighty God. I pray that your Spirit will lift me up this day, and that your face may shine upon me all the day long, that I might do your will and lead a new life in Christ, reborn in the Spirit.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.
~ Talmudic Saying
1 Samuel 6 (ESV)
The Philistines Return the Ark
When the ark of the Lord had been in Philistine territory seven months, the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how we should send it back to its place.”
They answered, “If you return the ark of the god of Israel, do not send it away empty, but by all means send a guilt offering to him. Then you will be healed, and you will know why his hand has not been lifted from you.”
The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to him?” They replied, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers. Make models of the tumors and of the rats that are destroying the country, and pay honor to Israel’s god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land. Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When he treated them harshly, did they not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way?”
Five gold rats!
”Get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up.Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance.”
So they did this. They placed the ark of the Lord on the cart with a chest containing the gold items and hitched it to two cows. The cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, keeping on the road and lowing all the way; they did not turn to the right or to the left. The rulers of the Philistines followed them as far as the border of Beth Shemesh.
The people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting their wheat in the valley, and when they looked up and saw the ark, they rejoiced at the sight. The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh and stopped, beside a large rock. The people chopped up the wood of the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. The Levites took down the ark of the Lord, together with the chest containing the gold objects, and placed them on the large rock, and the people of Beth Shemesh made offerings and sacrifices to the Lord. The five rulers of the Philistines saw all this and then returned that same day to Ekron.
These are the gold tumors the Philistines sent as a guilt offering to the Lord—one each for Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron. And the number of the gold rats was according to the number of Philistine towns belonging to the five rulers of the fortified towns with their country villages. The large rock, on which they set the ark of the Lord, is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.
But God struck down some of the men of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy of them to death because they had looked into the ark of the Lord. The people mourned because of the heavy blow the Lord had dealt them, and the men of Beth Shemesh asked, “Who can stand in the presence of the Lord, this holy God? To whom will the ark go up from here?”
Then they sent messengers to the people of Kiriath Jearim, saying, ”The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to your place.”
Notes on the Scripture
he Philistines, being suitably chastised (and aware of how much suffering the Hebrew God caused in Egypt), cannot simply tell the Hebrews “come get your Ark.” That would be much too simple. Instead, they invent a bit of absurd theater. Picture a rural road in ancient Palestine. On it, two milk cows, their udders no doubt full and them mooing loudly, pull a common cart containing 1) the most holy and fearsome item in Israel, the ark of the Covenant; 2) five lumps of gold shaped, rather grossly, like tumors, and 3) five golden mice. There is no driver for this precious cargo. At some distance, high Philistine officials watch it avidly, some of them no doubt hoping it will turn around and bring their gold back to them.
But it crosses the border into Hebrew-occupied lands; then it stops by a large rock next to a wheat field, whereupon the Israelites kill the cows and burn them as part of a religious celebration. Except, of course, for 70 bumpkins who just have to look inside the Ark and are consequently struck dead — and now, the local Hebrews are stuck with the Ark (and seventy bodies), and have no idea what to do with it. So before it can cause any more trouble, they send a message to Kiriath Jearim (a holy town that had once been a center of Ba’al worship) to come and take it to their town.
This is, all in all, a great bit of melodrama, but very little known except among Biblical scholars.