Daily Devotion for August 27, 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.
Hosanna, a song of praise, is sung by The Soweto Gospel Choir. Heartbreakingly beautiful.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
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.
He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
Did God Give Israel to the Jews?
The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob.
Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And the house of Israel will possess the nations as menservants and maidservants in the Lord's land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors.
On the day the Lord gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!
The Lord has broken the rod of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers,
which in anger struck down peoples with unceasing blows, and in fury subdued nations with relentless aggression.
All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing.
Notes on the Scripture
The Bible tells us repeatedly that God gave Israel to the Jews and that He will "settle them in their own land". Remarkably, this seems to have occurred in our lifetime. Today's passage from Isaiah sounds remarkably like what has taken place in the Middle East in the past 60 years, as the Jews have claimed the land God gave to them, in the midst of violent opposition from people determined to "push them into the sea"; but the Israelis, despite overwhelming odds against them, have won bloody victory after bloody victory. It really does seem as if God is on their side.
Some Christians believe that the Israelis have an obligation to make peace with the "Palestinians", as the Arabs who attempted to slaughter the Jews (and fled from the consquences of their action) call themselves. But the Israelis have made peace with the Arabs who live in Israel. Arabs living in Israel have more civil rights than people living in any of the Muslim nations of the Middle East. They can vote in honest elections. The women are not beaten or even executed for going on dates or walking in public with their faces uncovered. They have the freedom to worship as they please and far more freedom of speech. And aside from the oil income of a few nations (notably Saudi Arabia and Qatar), Israeli Arabs have a higher standard of living than the residents of any Arab nations in the vicinity, even though Israel is blessed with very little in the way of natural resources compared to, say, Iraq or Egypt.
God and the United Nations declared that Israel is the homeland of the Jews. It took World War 2, when the Arabs aligned themselves with Hitler's Germany, before the UN would fully appreciate many Arabs' true intentions towards the Jews in Palestine and realize that they needed national sovereignity to protect themselves. The United Nations thus gave them the stamp of international law and legitimacy in the secular political world, including the right of a sovereign nation to defend themselves against those who would murder them. God gave the Jews an even more inviolable deed to the real estate. The Jews' claim to Israel is bulletproof (so to speak).
People need to stop telling the Jews to make peace and start blaming the people who are responsible for their own situation — the large number of Arabs who have been trying to murder Israelis and throw them off their land. The Jews have certainly treated the Arabs who lived inside Israel's borders better than the Arabs have treated the Jews (or even other Arabs). Christ said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God" (Matthew 5:9) and we must take this very much to heart. But very few Christian theologians read the Sermon on the Mount to mean that one cannot take up arms when his homeland is attacked.