Evening Devotion for March 27, 2020
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.
I don't know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don't borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to grey.
I don't worry o'er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I'll walk beside Him,
For He knows what lies ahead.
Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.
Every step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb;
Every burden's getting lighter,
Every cloud is silver-lined.
There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eye;
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky.
I don't know about tomorrow;
It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow,
Is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion
May be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me
And I'm covered with His blood.
Music and Lyrics by Ira Stanphill (1950)
Be with Me as I Sleep
O Lord Jesus Christ, whose unwearied eye neither slumbers nor sleeps, but continually watches in defense of your servants; take me and mine, I beseech you, into your protection, and grant, that while my body is asleep, my soul may be awake to you, and that I may hereafter behold you in that blessed and heavenly country, where you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, rule eternally, where the angels sing your praises, and where your faithful will be citizens forever.
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the day and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming day, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
Prayer for Peace
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.
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.
Walk in the Light
Walk in the light, the beautiful light.
Come where the dew drops of mercy shine bright.
Shine all around us by day and by night.
Jesus, the light of the world.
~ Mrs. J. V. Coombs (1890)
Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 (NKJV)
The Wisdom of Solomon - Ecclesiastes
he words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?
One generation passes away, and another generation comes;
But the earth abides forever.
The sun also rises, and the sun goes down,
And hastens to the place where it arose.
The wind goes toward the south,
And turns around to the north;
The wind whirls about continually,
And comes again on its circuit.
All the rivers run into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full;
To the place from which the rivers come,
There they return again.
All things are full of labor;
Man cannot express it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor the ear filled with hearing.
That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which it may be said,
“See, this is new”?
It has already been in ancient times before us.
There is no remembrance of former things,
Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come
By those who will come after.
Notes on the Scripture
Ecclesiastes (not to be confused with EcclesiasticusEcclesiasticus, is an alternate title for a deuterocanonical book (in the Protestant Bible, part of the Apocrypha) better known as the Wisdom of Sirach, a wonderful book more similar to Proverbs than Ecclesiastes, but written too late (@ 200-150 B.C.) to be included in the Jewish canon.) like the other four “Wisdom” books of the Bible, is one of a kind. It is attributed to Solomon, who is identified as the author in verse 1 under a pseudonym, “the PreacherThe Greek word from which the title is taken, “ecclesiastes”, means a person who addresses a congregation or assembly. The word in the Hebrew Bible (Koheleth) means “one who gathers” and was used to refer to a teacher.”.
Margin illustration from
Commentaries on Revelation
by Beatus of Liebana,
ca. 700 A.D.
The beautiful opening poem — possibly the best part of the book — is a condensed thematic statement of the following 12 chapters, expounding a nihilistic philosophy. “Vanity” is used to translate a Hebrew word with a wide range of meanings, such as “breath,” “vapor,” and “nothingness.”
The book is disjointed, rambling, repetitive, sometimes self-contradictory, and rather depressing; but also insightful, charming, and sporadically hypnotic. There is one other very beautiful and well-known poem at 3:1-8, beginning “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heavenThese verses were the basis for a song written by Pete Seeger in the 1950s, “Turn! Turn! Turn!”. It was recorded by the Byrds in 1965 and became an international hit.).”
The body of the book alternates between two apparently contradictory themes. First, that everything we are and everything we do is transitory, repetitive, and ultimately forgotten. The theme (which, in theological terms, treads perilously close to Buddhism) has formed the basis of numerous artistic works, from pop music — notably “Dust in the Wind”, a 1977 hit by Kansas — to some of the best-known English romantic poetry (e.g. Ozymandias by Shelley and Keats’ Odes), and became very popular among various 20th-century philosophers.
The second theme reminds us of Greek Epicurean philosophy: that we should enjoy the good things in life, even though they have no ultimate meaning, for that is all we have. These “good things” range from virtues, such as wisdom, to the enjoyment of friendship and a good meal.
Both concepts are theologically contrary to Christian belief. In a theological sense, Ecclesiastes redeems its apparent nihilist/Epicurean outlook — which cover 12 long chapters — by the short statement of the final two verses:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.”
These verses seem abrupt and disconcerting. They present a diametrically different concept from the text, with no preparation. One might speculate that they were tacked on, to rescue Ecclesiastes from the dustbin of heresy.
Yet they do sound like Solomon’s thoughts. As we know from other works, Solomon was far ahead of his time in his anticipation of aspects of Christian theology. He was by no means a messianic prophet; the coming of a Redeemer does not figure in his work. But even so, he seemed to gaze ahead to a time of ultimate judgment by God, along with mercy and forgiveness for those who believe in Him.