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Daily Devotion for July 9, 2010
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness.
For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you raise them up.
All we are and have we owe to God, Holy God of Israel, our King!
Paul and Barnabas are Worshipped as Gods
In Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet and had never walked, for he had been crippled from birth. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. And Paul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said in a loud voice, "Stand upright on your feet." And the man sprang up and began to walk.
When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice.
When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, "Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.
In past generations he allowed all the nations to follow their own ways; yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good-- giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy."
Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.
Notes on the Scripture
Lystra was a city in central Anatolia, which is the mainland of Turkey today. It was part of the Roman colony called Lycaonia and had adopted the Roman gods. It was situated on a high trade road, and both Lystra and Lycaonia were fairly large and important. (Today, the city is a village called "Klistra" in an agricultural and pastoral rural area.)
Zeus was, of course, the king of the Roman gods. Hermes was one of the most important gods. Known better by his Greek name, Apollo, he was the messenger of the gods, and is usually depicted with wings on his feet. He was also the god of orators and fancy overpriced Parisian silk scarfs (just kidding).
Although the passage is serious, I cannot help but be amused by imagining the expression on Paul's face when people pour out to worship him and Barnabas as gods incarnate, trying to sacrifice to them. To make matters even funnier, it is humble Barnabas whom they believe to be Zeus, relegating Paul (who does sometimes seem a tad pompous) to secondary status.
Of course, in reality they were horrified, and immediately tore their clothing, a traditional Jewish act to show humility. Paul then preached the good news, how God had allowed the non-Hebrew nations to follow their own ways in the past -- but not without providing for them; but now, they could become members of the living God, through the life and passion of Christ.