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Daily Devotion for March 11, 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.
Our “Virtual Sunday Church” this week takes us to Sunday School at the Centenary Church (Methodist) in Fiji, on Palm Sunday. I have no idea what they are singing, and I despair of trying to find a translation from Fiji to English. But . . . simply hearing these children sing to the glory of Christ, on some little island in the South Pacific, fills my heart with joy.
Sunday Morning Invocation
God of glory, by the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell: fill my spirit, and the spirit of all the people of your universal church, with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned, and the way to life stands open in our Savior Jesus Christ.
Look down with mercy on thy servants who have come here to pray
To honor you and worship you
and to celebrate the resurrection of your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Accept the petitions now offered up unto you.
Pardon oh! God the offences of the past week.
We are conscious of many frailties;
we remember with shame and contrition, many evil thoughts and neglected duties;
and we have perhaps sinned against you and against
our fellow-creatures in many instances of which
we have no remembrance. Pardon oh God!
whatever you has seen amiss in us,
and give us a stronger desire of resisting every evil inclination
and weakening every habit of sin.
You know the infirmity of our nature,
and the temptations which surround us.
Be merciful, oh heavenly Father!
to creatures so formed and situated.
We bless you for every comfort of our past and present existence,
for our health of body and of mind
and for every other source of happiness which you have bountifully bestowed on us
and with which we close this day,
imploring their continuance from your fatherly goodness,
with a grateful sense of them at all times.
May the comforts of every day, be thankfully felt by us,
may they prompt a willing obedience of your commandments
and a benevolent spirit toward every fellow-creature.
upon all that are now suffering from whatever cause,
that are in any circumstance of danger or distress.
Give them patience under every affliction,
strengthen, comfort and relieve them.
To your goodness we commend ourselves this day
and for the coming night
beseeching your protection of us through its darkness and dangers.
We are helpless and dependent; graciously preserve us.
For all whom we love and value, for every friend and connection,
we equally pray; however divided and far asunder,
we know that we are alike before you, and under your eye.
May we be equally united in your faith and fear,
in fervent devotion towards you,
and in your merciful protection this night.
Pardon oh Lord!
the imperfections of these our prayers,
and accept them through the mediation of our blessed saviour,
Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, eternal and unchanging.
The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue; the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him; the Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace.
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.
Genesis 11:1-9 (ESV)
The Tower of Babel
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar [Babylonia] and settled there.
And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.”
So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.
Notes on the Scripture
abel sounds like the Hebrew word for “confusion”; thus the passage says that Babel was named because it was the place where God confused the languages of the world. In 1700 B.C., Babylon was probably the largest city in the world. It again became the largest and one of the richest cities in the world over 1,000 years later, in the period when it was ruled by Nebuchadnezzar and his descendants (@ 600-450 BC). It was a city given to grand structures, including one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the great Hanging Gardens.
The story of the Tower of Babel would thus have made sense to anyone living in the Middle East. Babylon was a great crossroads of trade, a meeting place for cultures with widely disparate languages, and was repeatedly conquered and reconquered by great empires.
Secular history tells us that there was a great tower built in ancient Babylon proper, known as the Etemenanki (Sumerian “temple of the foundation of heaven and earth”). Nebuchadnezzar wrote that the original tower had been built in antiquity: “A former king built the Temple of the Seven Lights of the Earth, but he did not complete its head. Since a remote time, people had abandoned it, without order expressing their words. Since that time earthquakes and lightning had dispersed its sun-dried clay; the bricks of the casing had split, and the earth of the interior had been scattered in heaps.” So this might well be the same tower as described by Genesis.
Genesis is an ancient book, and it is always difficult to tell how literally God intends us to take it. I will not argue with anyone who wants to say it is factual truth to the smallest detail; nor with anyone who wants to say it did not happen at all, but is simply a Godly allegory, true in its message but not in fact; nor with anyone taking a position in-between.
But why seek confirmation of the Bible in the secular world? The moral is the important point; and in this I have no doubt, that Genesis is the very Word of God. The Tower of Babel was not built for the worship of God, but for the glory of man. It was temple dedicated to sinful pride. Even the materials used were manmade, a brick manufactured by the hands of men, rather than stone given to them by God. So God stopped them by giving them different languages and scattering them around in tribes, and the tower was abandoned.
One cannot find God by the artifice of man. No matter how high we build a tower, no matter how far into space we look, we are not going to see God using the devices of technology. We know God only by His revelation of Himself to us. We might find Him by seeking Him, but only in humility.