Daily Devotion for April 21, 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.
Hearing this wonderful a capella version of an old favorite hymn brings to mind the faith of days gone by.
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Music (Eventide) by Wm H. Monk, 1861
Lyrics by Henry Lyle, 1847
Soul of Christ
Soul of Christ make me holy,
Body of Christ save me,
Blood of Christ fill me with love,
Water from Christ’s side, wash me,
Passion of Christ strengthen me,
Good Jesus hear me,
Within your wounds hide me,
Never let me be parted from you,
From the evil enemy protect me,
At the hour of my death call,
And tell me to come to You,
That with your saints I may praise you,
Through all eternity,
For My Enemies
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead me from anger, prejudice, and selfish pride to acceptance, love, truth, and sympathy for all people, and especially those who would be my enemies in this life; and if it is your will, enlighten those who hate me, and bring them into your holy truth, that they may find you. Deliver all of us from hatred, cruelty and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[Jesus, hide me within your wounds.]
Now, to God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts, be all love and all glory in time and to all eternity.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
2 Peter 1:20-21 (ESV)
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
1 Samuel 31 (NLT)
The Death of Saul
(In 1 Sam. 29-31, David offers to fight with the Philistines against Saul’s army, but they don’t trust him and send him south. There, he discovers that the Amalekites have raided and burned his camp, and have carried the women away. He pursues them and defeats them soundly, recovering all of the plunder that they had taken. Against the will of some of his more untrustworthy tribe, he gives a full share of plunder to those who were too exhausted to go on the raid with him, and thus stayed behind to guard the camp.)
ow the Philistines attacked Israel, and the men of Israel fled before them. . . . The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed three of his sons—Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua. The fighting grew very fierce around Saul, and the Philistine archers caught up with him and wounded him severely.
Saul groaned to his armor bearer, “Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to run me through and taunt and torture me.” But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When his armor bearer realized that Saul was dead, he fell on his own sword and died beside the king. So Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and his troops all died together that same day.
When the Israelites on the other side of the Jezreel Valley and beyond the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. So the Philistines moved in and occupied their towns.
The next day, when the Philistines went out to strip the dead, they found the bodies of Saul and his three sons on Mount Gilboa. So they cut off Saul’s head and stripped off his armor. Then they proclaimed the good news of Saul’s death in their pagan temple and to the people throughout the land of Philistia. They placed his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and they fastened his body to the wall of the city of Beth-shan.
But when the people of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all their mighty warriors traveled through the night to Beth-shan and took the bodies of Saul and his sons down from the wall. They brought them to Jabesh, where they burned the bodies. Then they took their bones and buried them beneath the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days.
Notes on the Scripture
So ends the story of one of the most problematic and tortured characters in the Bible. Many things could be said about Saul. We might consider him an object lesson in what becomes of a sinner without Christ—for the disobedience that sentenced him to such a horrible later life would seem comparatively minor to us, today.
He is surely a lesson to us that God does not answer to a higher authority! God loves David and favors him—He will forgive David for countless sins—but He certainly does not love Saul, and the Bible does not really give us a clear reason.
Saul even shows, finally, a bit of nobility in realizing that God has abandoned him and that he is, therefore, utterly without hope. He fall on his sword, almost 1000 years before the Romans would make the act famous.
We right revel a moment of dramatic irony, when the Philistines “proclaim the good news of Saul’s death” in a pagan temple. They will soon be very sorry! In fact, in the previous chapter they cited the popular saying, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Yet, they cannot figure out that they will have a much bigger problem when Saul dies, and David takes the throne. They have the utter blindness to the Lord that has characterized pagans throughout history, from the Pharaoh of Egypt to Hugo Chavez.
But God apparently does not hate Saul. The Hebrew soldiers refuse to allow his body to be desecrated and hung on a wall. They risk their lives to give Saul a righteous burial under the Law of Moses. One might infer that they are doing God’s will.