Daily Devotion for April 17, 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.
You are still beside me,
Or in death's dark shadows lie,
You will stay close by me.
If I flee on morning wings
Far across the gray sea,
Even there your hand will lead,
Your right hand will guide me.
Words and music by Fernando Ortega
Puritan Prayer to be Free of Carnal Sin
O ever watchful Shepherd, lead, guide, and tend me this day; without Your restraining rod I err and stray. Hedge up my path lest I wander into unwholesome pleasure, and drink its poisonous streams; direct my feet that I be not entangled in Satan's secret snares, nor fall into his hidden traps.
Defend me from assailing foes, from evil circumstances, from myself. My adversaries are part and parcel of my own nature; they cling to me as my very skin; I cannot escape their contact. In my rising up and sitting down they cause me pain; they entice with constant baits; my enemy is within the citadel. Come with almighty power and cast him out, pierce him to death, and abolish in me every particle of carnal life this day.
For Those with Senility and Their Caretakers
Holy Jesus, look down with love and sympathy on all those who are losing or have lost the function of their mind and memory. Bless them, that may not suffer distress. Send your Holy Spirit to comfort them in their anger and confusion.
And bless also those who love and care for them. We cannot understand what goes on within their minds, Lord; so help us to understand them, to love them, and to care for them. Give us your eternal patience, that we might provide to them such comfort as is possible, and the strength to help them, day after day, without hope of thanks or recovery.
Bless us all in our distress, O Holy Jesus, who always looked with love and sympathy on those with burdens; and lighten our burden, I beseech you, if it be Your will.
Lord, pour your love into my heart, that I may love you above all things, and my neighbors as myself. Through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
In which book of the Bible do we find the story of David in his younger days?
Isaiah 28:18 (NLT)
“I will cancel the bargain you made to cheat death,
and I will overturn your deal to dodge the grave.
When the terrible enemy sweeps through,
you will be trampled into the ground.”
1 Samuel 28:1-14 (NLT)
Saul and the Witch of Endor
(1 Samuel 27 has been skipped. In it, David runs from Saul into the land of the Philistines. King Achish accepts him, and puts him on the border of Judah as a buffer between the two nations.)
About that time the Philistines mustered their armies for another war with Israel. King Achish told David, “You and your men will be expected to join me in battle.” “Very well!” David agreed. “Now you will see for yourself what we can do.”
Meanwhile, Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him. He was buried in Ramah, his hometown. And Saul had banned from the land of Israel all mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead.
The Philistines set up their camp at Shunem, and Saul gathered all the army of Israel and camped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear. He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots or by the prophets. Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.” His advisers replied, “There is a medium at Endor.”
So Saul disguised himself by wearing ordinary clothing instead of his royal robes. Then he went to the woman’s home at night, accompanied by two of his men. “I have to talk to a man who has died,” he said. “Will you call up his spirit for me?”
“Are you trying to get me killed?” the woman demanded. “You know that Saul has outlawed all the mediums and all who consult the spirits of the dead. Why are you setting a trap for me?” But Saul took an oath in the name of the Lord and promised, “As surely as the Lord lives, nothing bad will happen to you for doing this.”
Finally, the woman said, “Well, whose spirit do you want me to call up?” “Call up Samuel,” Saul replied.
When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, “You’ve deceived me! You are Saul!” “Don’t be afraid!” the king told her. “What do you see?” “I see a god coming up out of the earth,” she said.
“What does he look like?” Saul asked. “He is an old man wrapped in a robe,” she replied. Saul realized it was Samuel, and he fell to the ground before him.
Notes on the Scripture
he first thing we notice about this creepy passage is that, apparently, necromancy is possible. We also see a passage where a dead person is contacted in the New Testament, the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19–31). It is hard to tell whether the Bible is presenting these incidents as fact or fantasy. I hate to encourage people to think that seances are possible in real life; they have been universally debunked in modern times, in the first place. And in the second, they are prohibited by God (e.g. Lev. 20:6-7). Isaiah especially rails against them, warning time and time again that those who “make a deal with death” will be destroyed.
Nevertheless, there is nothing in the context of 1 Samuel to indicate that the incident with the WitchReally, the word “witch” is more accurately translated as “medium” or “necromancer.” I just like the way “Witch of Endor” sounds, and a lot of people seem to agree, since she is often called such. of Endor did not happen as written.
Saul has sunk to a very low point. God has long abandoned him. His reaction is to abandon his obedience to God.
One might say that this is characteristic of such people; if God does not give them what they want, or if He disciplines them, they turn away from Him rather than accept their discipline. In essence, their inability to accept tribulation exposes their lack of faith.
Jesus describes them in the The Parable of the Sower: “The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.” (Matthew 13:1-23.)