Daily Devotion for September 12, 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.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
First page of the Gospel of John, from the Book of Kells
Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord.
Noah and the Flood [Part 1]
When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Notes on the Scripture
To me, this is without doubt the weirdest and most enigmatic passage in the Bible. In the first sentence, the daughters of men mate with "sons of God", and God decides that his sons are tired of contending with men and limits their lifespan to 120 years.
The second sentence is even more bizarre. Nobody knows who the Nephilim were, and there is no contextual hint. The word is translated literally from the Hebrew. There have been learned arguments that they were a race of men living in Canaan, that they were giants whose origins are not explained in the Bible, that they are angels who lived on earth, that they are fallen angels, and other things. Some older Bible simply call them a race of giants who ruled the earth before God made mankind. But overall, anyone who wants to say that sentient creatures other than human beings once lived on earth, can find a lot of support from this passage. Nor is there any explanation of how the "sons of God" differ from men, and they too have been deemed to be angels, another line descended from Adam, etc.
At any rate, the final paragraph is the beginning of the tale of Noah (which, if less completely weird than the preceding parts, is itself quite bizarre). God made mankind but became distressed when he saw how wicked his creation had become. So he decided, in effect, to wipe the slate clean and start over. Luckily, their was one man who found favor with God, named Noah.