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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Evening Devotion for May 22, 2020

<i>Amos, Nahum, Ezekiel and Daniel</i>, frieze in the Boston Public Library by John Singer Sargent ca. 1895
Amos, Nahum, Ezekiel and Daniel, frieze in the Boston Public Library by John Singer Sargent, ca. 1895.



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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.


Prayer of a Weary Apostle

Thanks I give to you, my God, for the day that is ending, and thanks for the coming night. Bring sleep to the weary, bring repose to those I love, and give me rest until tomorrow. Be present, O Lord, and protect your children through the silent hours of this night, that we who are wearied with the work and changes of this fleeting world, may rest upon your eternal changelessness.

In this day that is ending I have not been all that I should have been. Help me, my God, to be less harsh towards others, more gentle, more patient. Make me too, more determined, more demanding of myself, more truthful in speaking, more faithful in my promises, more active in my work, more obedient and more submissive to your will; let me be cheerful, too, and may tomorrow be a finer, fuller day than this.



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.


Simple Prayer

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.



As my evening prayer rises before you, O God, so may your mercy come down upon me, my family, and the company of all faithful people, to cleanse our hearts and set us free to sing your praise now and forever.


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>At Eternity’s Gate</i>, Vincent van Gogh, ca. 1890.
At Eternity’s Gate, Vincent van Gogh, ca. 1890. “In my painting At Eternity’s Gate, I have tried to express what seems to me one of the strongest proofs of the existence of God and eternity — There is something precious, something noble, which cannot be destined for the worms.” (See full-size.)


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)

Blue Latin Cross

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 right
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.

endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“And I shall be pure . . .”

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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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