Daily Devotion for March 6, 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.
This song is based on the oldest known Christian hymnal, compiled in about 100 AD, known as the Odes of Solomon. This is Ode #40, “Sing Allelu,” performed by Fernando Ortega.
Our hearts open wide to sing Your praise,
And our sound becomes sweet with Your Anthems ringing.
Praise to the name of the Lord.
Sing Allelu, Sing Allelu,
We rejoice in your love, most High.
Sing Allelu, Sing Allelu,
In Your light, You shine forever.
Shine in us, O Lord, forever
We're the light to the world, Allelu.
Let us who are afraid, find refuge in Christ,
and redemption assured in His name.
By day and by night, we delight in Your love
And forever your Word will remain.
Music and Lyrics by the Odes Project
To Wield the Sword of Faith
Flood me with your Spirit, O God. Drown Satan in a deluge of your mighty power! Shake the foundations of hell! Let the beauty and love of Christ pour through me like a cataract. Let me wield the Sword of Faith. Renew me, empower me, purify me this day to your Great Commission.
Thanks to God for Coming to Us
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace. I bless and thank you for finding me, Lord; may I never more take a breath without a heart filled with your Spirit .
Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then, of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through 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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
Name this verse: “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.”
Luke 12:4-5 (ESV)
1 Samuel 14:24-52 (abridged) (ESV)
Jonathan and Saul
Now the men of Israel were pressed to exhaustion that day, because Saul had placed them under an oath, saying, “Let a curse fall on anyone who eats before evening—before I have full revenge on my enemies.” But Jonathan had not heard his father’s command, and he dipped the end of his stick into a piece of honeycomb and ate the honey. But one of the men saw him and said, “Your father made the army take a strict oath that anyone who eats food today will be cursed. That is why everyone is weary and faint.”
“My father has made trouble for us all!” Jonathan exclaimed. “A command like that only hurts us. See how refreshed I am now that I have eaten this little bit of honey. If the men had been allowed to eat freely from the food they found among our enemies, think how many more Philistines we could have killed!”
They chased and killed the Philistines all day from Micmash to Aijalon, growing more and more faint. That evening they rushed for the battle plunder and butchered the sheep, goats, cattle, and calves, but they ate them without draining the blood. Someone reported to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the Lord by eating meat that still has blood in it.”
“That is very wrong,” Saul said. “Find a large stone and roll it over here. Then go out among the troops and tell them, ‘Bring the cattle, sheep, and goats here to me. Kill them here, and drain the blood before you eat them. Do not sin against the Lord by eating meat with the blood still in it.’”
So that night all the troops brought their animals and slaughtered them there. Then Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first of the altars he built to the Lord. . . . Saul asked God, “Should we go after the Philistines? Will you help us defeat them?” But God made no reply that day.
Then Saul said to the leaders, “Something’s wrong! I want all my army commanders to come here. We must find out what sin was committed today. Then Saul prayed, “O Lord, God of Israel, please show us who is guilty and who is innocent.” Then they cast sacred lots, and Jonathan and Saul were chosen as the guilty ones, and the people were declared innocent.
“Tell me what you have done,” Saul demanded of Jonathan. “I tasted a little honey,” Jonathan admitted. “It was only a little bit on the end of my stick. Does that deserve death?”
“Yes, Jonathan,” Saul said, “you must die! May God strike me and even kill me if you do not die for this.” But the people broke in and said to Saul, “Jonathan has won this great victory for Israel. Should he die? Far from it, for God helped him do a great deed today.” So the people rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.
Now when Saul had secured his grasp on Israel’s throne, he fought against his enemies in every direction—against Moab, Ammon, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. And wherever he turned, he was victorious. The Israelites fought constantly with the Philistines throughout Saul’s lifetime.
Notes on the Scripture
aul’s story is long and convoluted. We simply do not have time, on Daily Prayer, to explore the myriad details. We know his kingship will ultimately fail; Jonathan will not succeed him, for God has already picked out another. (1 Samuel 13:13-14)
But simply looking at the broad strokes of the story, we can see a major Biblical theme illustrated. Where Saul fails in his duty to God, where his faith falters or he makes mistakes, he is punished. Yet, he often does the right thing. But then we see Jonathan, relying on his own gifts, score an enormous victory at Micmash; he, with no help but his armor-bearer, has single-handedly turned the tide of the battle. (1 Samuel 14)
With all his bravery and intelligence, his consummate skill as a battle captain, and with his enormous success, Jonathan nevertheless relies upon his own powers. His breakthrough ends in a rout of Philistia, but look what happens: the army fortifies itself by slaughtering animals and eating them with their blood, an enormous offense to the law of Moses. Jonathan himself eats honeycomb, unaware of his father’s oath of fasting.
Having an army eat is the smart thing to do, in military terms. Jonathan shows a turn towards what we would call secular humanism, using his intelligence and experience to strengthen his army. Saul, in this instance, does not make the same mistake, but builds an altar and demands that the men do what is holy in the eyes of God, even though our minds and experience tell us that sending a starving army to fight — weakening their bodies during the battle — is plain stupid.
But time and again we see, in the history of the Hebrews, that it is holiness and not strength that propels the Hebrew nation forward. They have no chance without God’s direct intervention. They are a small, poor, bronze-age people, whose king is a simple herdsman, arrayed against a much larger iron-age professional army. Whatever short-term success they may achieve by their own wits will be short-lived, doomed to ultimate failure. It is only when Saul turns to the Lord that they have any chance to fulfill the domination of Canaan that God promised to Moses.
Note that this is a simplistic interpretation. Jonathan and Saul are both complex characters, faithful to God one day and losing their way another. They are doomed through no fault of their own, but by the will of God; Saul did not even want to become king. Jonathan certainly has not acted in intentional defiance of God, and he is often a sympathetic character. But all will ultimately fail — even David, the beloved of God — for in the very large picture we are watching tumultuous and confusing events that will ultimately prove the imperfectability of man under the Law.