Daily Devotion for May 22, 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.
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end...
Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
Music by Jean Sibelius
Lyrics by Catharina von Schlegel, @ 1740
What a Great Morning
Holy God, thank you for giving me another morning! I am lucky to be alive on your beautiful planet, so full of marvelous things and the beautiful plants and animals and all the people you have created in your image. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, now and all day long, until I go to sleep, because I want to live with you every minute of this day. The time and opportunities I have right now will never return, so help me make the best of it, Lord.
And let me remember this one thing: You know what you are doing, whether I can see it or not; so I will try to remember today that you are in charge, that you put me here for a reason and that, by your grace, things will turn out with your triumph and the Kingdom of Heaven, for all those who live by your grace. All praise to you forever,
God of love, my prayer is simple: Your son, Jesus, suffered and died for me. I know only that I cannot have real strength unless I rely on you. I cannot feel protected from my many weaknesses until I turn to you for forgiveness and your unalterable love. Help me to share this strength, protection and love with others.
“Emotion begins to doubt when it senses blackness, whereas faith holds on to God even in the face of death.”
~ Watchman Nee
Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then, of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
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.
Amos belonged to that circle of prophets who received a commission to prophesy the ruin which was impending over the Covenant-people, before any human probability existed for it.
~ Ernst Hengstenberg (ca. 1840)
Amos 2:6-8; Amos 4:1-2, 12 (ESV)
or three transgressions of Israel,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of sandals—
Those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth
and turn aside the way of the afflicted;
a man and his father go in to the same girl,
so that my holy name is profaned;
They lay themselves down beside every altar
on garments taken in pledge,
and in the house of their God they drink
the wine of those who have been fined.
Hear this word, you cows of Bashan,
who are on the mountain of Samaria,
who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
who say to your husbands, ‘Bring, that we may drink!’
The Lord God has sworn by his holiness
that, behold, the days are coming upon you,
when they shall take you away with hooks,
even the last of you with fishhooks.
Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!
Notes on the Scripture
Israel after Solomon (17): Amos
Amos is the probably the oldest of the prophetic books in the Bible. (The other candidate is Hosea. See chart.)
Nothing is known about Amos except what we read in the Bible book that bears his name. He was an agricultural worker, uneducated and undistinguished, who herded cattle and sheep and dressed sycamore trees. Like David or Simon Peter, God simply plucked him out of obscure day-labor and filled him with the Spirit, to become his spokesman.
He is the first of the group of prophets to come, who will voice God’s anger and warn the Hebrews of the wrath that will result if they do not reform. This early group of written prophets were a “final warning” from God. They had abandoned His covenant for centuries and He would punish them with destruction.
Amos, by Frank Salisbury
Amos’ prophecy came at a time of prosperity, a temporary high point in Israel’s fortunes under Jeroboam II in 750 B.C., characterized by luxurious excesses of the rich combined with lack of godliness. It’s difficult to understand, today, just how radical his message was, for the ruling class was accustomed to deference, not invective.
Amos’ denunciation of wrongdoing is scorching. He begins (in Chapter 1) by predicting dire futures for the nations surrounding Palestine, Israel’s enemies; one can imagine the Hebrews saying, “This guy is great,” because he was prophesying such a terrible future for the enemies of Israel and Judah.
But then, he turns his attention to Judah, and finally to Israel, and one sees that the prophesies against Damascus (Babylon), Edom, et al., were just a warm-up. Even Judah only gets a few verses: It is the Kingdom of Israel that he truly excoriates, at length and with the most dire predictions, slanderous name-calling, and florid imagery possible.
He catalogs all sorts of common sins against the law of Moses. We see a small sample in today’s Scripture. Abuse of the poor and helpless by the rich and powerful is especially emphasized. For example, people sleeping beside alters on “garments taken in pledge” violates a specific law. A person who lent money, which was secured by the borrower’s cloak, was required to return the cloak to him at night. The poor slept out in the open, and a cloak might be a person’s only protection against the elements. (Deuteronomy 24:12-13)
He compares rich women on the mountain of Samaria — the nice neighborhood in the capital city — to cows. He depicts them ordering their husbands to bring them wine — which has been stolen from people paying fines — having a party while the poor sleep in the cold and starve; and predicts for them the colorful and gruesome fate of being dragged away with fishhooks.