Daily Devotion for October 10, 2019
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.
Robin Mark, from Northern Ireland, gives us a pretty, quiet setting for Psalm 42.
Prayer for the Morning
You are ushering in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God if You'll renew me too?
Forgive the many errors, that I made yesterday, And let me try again dear God, to walk closer in Thy way.
But Father, I am well aware, I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.
Prayer for the Angry
Dear heavenly Father, I pray this day for all angry, hostile people, all those filled with hate for their fellow creatures; for violent criminals who harm the body, for those who hurt their family members, for bullies on playgrounds and sadists in charge of others; and for the many more who, through their angry words, ideas, and grudges, promote discord, misunderstanding and violence, and especially all those who contribute to the great wars that kill and hurt so many.
Dear God, show them the beauty of your peace and grant that they may love others so much that they cannot bear to harm them, both for their own sake and that of those they hurt. And help their many victims, saving them, comforting them, and granting them to know your Son Jesus Christ so well that they can forgive. In whose name I pray,
Into your hands, O Lord, Jesus Christ, my God, I commend my spirit. Bless me and all those who pray in faith of You this day; save us and grant unto us everlasting life.
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What Bible verse gives us the words, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God”?
John 3:20-21 (NRSV)
“For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”
Wisdom 7:15-21 (NRSV)
ay God grant me to speak with judgment,
and to have thoughts worthy of what I have received;
for he is the guide even of wisdom
and the corrector of the wise.
For both we and our words are in his hand,
as are all understanding and skill in crafts.
For it is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists,
to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements;
the beginning and end and middle of times,
the alternations of the solstices and the changes of the seasons,
the cycles of the year and the constellations of the stars,
the natures of animals and the tempers of wild animals,
the powers of spirits[a] and the thoughts of human beings,
the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots;
I learned both what is secret and what is manifest,
for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.
Notes on the Scripture
The Book of Wisdom (or Wisdom of Solomon) is part of the Apocrypha, a collection of 14 books written before the time of Christ but which have been separated from the Old Testament. The authority of the Apocrypha is controversial, and different denominations have different views about it.
The Catholic and Orthodox churches accept the Apocrypha as part of the divinely-inspired Bible; that is, they consider it Scripture in the full sense. Protestant churches generally accept the Apocrypha as acceptable religious reading, but do not consider it “canonical,” that is, inspired by God, to be read as part of His holy Word. Certainly the early radical protestant leaders, such as Calvin, Luther and Zwingli were comfortable with the books being included in the Bible. In fact, the Apocrypha was included as part of all Bibles before the 1880s.
I have never seen an official rejection of the Apocrypha by any protestant denomination; they seem to have just dropped it from their literature, beginning with the English Revised Version of 1881 (which was largely copied into the American Standard Version in 1901). More fundamentalist denominations seem to be more likely to reject it outright, whereas more centrist protestant churches will read some or all of the books; although they do not consider it Scriptural per se, they still see it as valuable religious and/or historical teaching.
Why the Apocrypha is omitted from most Bibles today? My guess is that, with so much video and reading material available, people just don’t read the Bible as much, and it is long (and heavy) enough for most people without adding another 14 books!
The books of the Apocrypha are not a cohesive work; they are very different from one another. What they share is that they were written before the birth of Christ but were not written in Hebrew and do not claim to be the Word of God. Some of them contain valuable history (such as 1 and 2 Maccabees); some of them are astonishingly beautiful religious poetry (such as Ecclesiasticus); some of them are generally considered metaphorical or poetic and should be read as one would read, say, “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”
I should also point out that there are many, many books claiming to be Scripture in the Judeo-Christian tradition, which are completely rejected by most Jews and/or Christians. One very prominent example would be the collection of books known as the “Gnostic Gospels,” which all mainstream Christian churches consider heretical and even evil. The 14 books of the Apocrypha should not be confused with such books; they are not heretical or offensive to Christianity and should be read with respect.
Today’s reading is a perfect example of the Apocrypha. It develops a theme not treated in the Old or New Testaments, which might be helpful to many Christians: God gave us our intelligence to understand science and history. We must be careful, however, to be guided by the spirit (which I take to mean the Holy Spirit) and ask in prayer that God guide our thoughts.