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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Daily Devotion for May 20, 2020


Wall relief from Nineveh, showing the people of Lachish being driven into slavery and exile.
Wall relief from Nineveh, showing the people of Lachish being driven into slavery and exile.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord’s Prayer

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.

Amen.




Prayer for Faith During this Day

Holy God, I am weak, and sometimes the way grows fearsome; for this world is filled with evil, hiding at every corner, ready to steal my precious joy in You, craving to destroy my soul. Help me to keep my faith today, through every trial and doubt I face. Stay close to me; Holy Spirit, abide in me and make your presence known in everything I see and do. Give me strength the whole day through, mighty God, in the name of Christ I pray,

Amen.

To Awaken in Christ’s Body

I  awaken in Christ’s body as Christ awakens my body, and my poor hand is Christ. He enters my foot, and is infinitely me. I move my hand, and wonderfully my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him (for God is indivisibly Whole, seamless in His Godhood). I move my foot, and at once He appears like a flash of lightning.

Christ medallion

Do my words seem blasphemous? Then I must open my heart to You and let myself receive the One who is opening to me so deeply. For if I genuinely love You, I wake up inside Your body where all my body, all over, every most hidden part of it, is realized in joy as You, and You make me utterly and real. Everything that is hurt, everything that seemed to me dark, harsh, shameful, maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged, is in You transformed and recognized as whole, as lovely, and radiant in Your light.

Awaken, Beloved Son of God, in every last part of my body.

Amen.

Meditation

“Let us, therefore, forsake the vanity of the crowd and their false teachings, and turn back to the word delivered to us from the beginning.”

~ Polycarp of Smyrna


Community of Prayer

I  pray to you, dearest Jesus, for all the graces I need to know you, to love you and serve you faithfully unto death, and to save my soul. Give me a tender and fervent devotion to your sacred passion by which I was redeemed, venerating you each day in prayer, and teach me how to unite sorrows and sufferings of my life with your own.

Amen.


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.



<i>Jeroboam’s Sacrifice at Bethel (detail)</i> Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, ca. 1656.
Jeroboam’s Sacrifice at Bethel (detail) Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, ca. 1656.

My Spirit Longs for Thee

My spirit longs for thee
Within my troubled breast,
Though I unworthy be
Of so divine a Guest

Of so divine a guest
Unworthy though I be,
Yet has my heart no rest
Unless it come from thee.

~ John Byrom (1743)


Blue Latin Cross

2 Kings 17 (ESV) (excerpts)

Israel after Solomon (16): Assyria Annihilates the Northern Kingdom
I

n the ninth year of Hoshea [720 B.C.], the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in the cities of the Medes.

And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They set up for themselves pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, and there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the Lord carried away before them. And they did wicked things, provoking the Lord to anger, and they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, “You shall not do this.”

Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.”

But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God. And they abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. None was left but the tribe of Judah only.

And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel. And they took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. They feared the Lord but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away; so they do to this day.


Notes on the Scripture

We have completely bypassed 2 Kings 10-16. It is the history of the slow moral and religious deterioration of Israel and Judah under a menagerie of kings (although the much larger and more powerful Israel fares worse). Instead, we look at the end result for Israel today, and will then backpedal to examine its decline from a different angle: the writings of the prophets Amos and Hosea.

Amos
Amos and Jeroboam II

The great king of Israel during its final years was Jeroboam II. In his time arose a new kind of prophet, men called by the Spirit of God to speak His will and His intentions for the long-term future. The final warning to Israel of its total destruction came around 750 B.C., thirty years before the events described in today’s Scripture (the obliteration of the Kingdom of Israel by Assyria). The men who gave these warnings were recorded in the earliest prophetic books of the Bible: Amos and Hosea. So we will read selections from their books in our next installments.

People do not often read these books, because their prolonged, extreme, and repetitive invective quickly becomes tiresome. But when we understand the implications of today’s Scripture, we see the rationale for such baleful harangues.

Today’s verses record the utter destruction of Israel. Ten of the twelve Hebrew tribes (the “lost tribes of Israel”) cease to exist. It initiates one of the three great traumas in 3500 years of Jewish history: the diaspora. God has reached His breaking point and has allowed most of the Hebrew nation to be dispossessed of the Promised Land, to be scattered about the world.

The Jews of the Northern Kingdom are removed from Palestine and sent to the “cities of the Medes,” from which they will disperse throughout the world. They will never return; even when Zionism results in the resettlement of Palestine and the creation of the secular State of Israel 2400 years later, they will be “Jews”— Russians and Germans and Spaniards with a religious tradition — not Hebrews of the Tribes of Dan, Naphtali, etc.

The Assyrians resettled Palestine with a hodgepodge of foreigners, who will become the “Samaritans The Samaritans were not really a people; since they had to be called something, they took their collective name from the old capital city of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Samaria.” of the New Testament,. They bring a variety of tribal gods with them — 2 Kings 17 implies five different religions. Oddly, though, because of their syncretic nature, all of them begin to worship Yahweh, as well.

The only remaining major tribe is Judah, which continues to exist intact and hold Jerusalem and the surrounding lands, along with the tiny tribe of Benjamin. Judah has two great advantages: First, the Temple, and with it a convenient way to worship Yahweh; so no matter how much idolatry is practiced at any given time, some worship of the Lord generally continues. Second, it is ruled by the blood descendant of David, God’s beloved and anointed king.

If one ever doubted the power of God, or His love of David, one need only look at a map of Assyria in those days. How on earth is Judah still standing?



endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Mark 9:40: He who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.



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Daily Quiz

Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for May 20, 2020 were:
Keith Langley (12)
Sylvia Banda (12)
Tom Kraft (12)
Norman Daniels (12)
randall martin (11)

Top score(s) on Match-a-Verse:
Pam Carpenter (9 out of 9)
Keith Langley (9 out of 9)
Kathryn Halfman (9 out of 9)
Sylvia Banda (9 out of 9)
Norman Daniels (9 out of 9)
randall martin (9 out of 9)

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