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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Daily Devotion for September 29, 2010


<i>The Israelites Gathering Manna</i> by Ercole de Roberti ca. 1490.
The Israelites Gathering Manna by Ercole de’ Roberti ca. 1490. (Full-size)

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 the Morning

For the bird who sings outside my window,
 For the tree that stands outside my door,
For the neighbor who waves and says “good morning”,
I give you thanks dear God, for these and more,


Your blessings every morning know no limit,
Yet I often rush by not seeing them, I fear;
Let me take a moment this and every morning, God, I pray,
To remember all of them, and know that you are here.
Amen.

Prayer Not to Judge Others (by Jane Austen)

Heavenly Father, give me grace to endeavor after a truly Christian spirit to seek to attain that temper of forbearance and patience of which my blessed savior has set me the highest example, and which, while it prepares me for the spiritual happiness of the life to come, will secure the best enjoyment of what the world can give. Incline me, O God, to think humbly of myself, to be severe only in the examination of my own conduct, to consider my fellow creatures with kindness, and to judge of all they say and do with that charity that I would desire from them myself. In Christ's name I pray,

Amen.

Meditation

[Judging what other people say with charity.]


Dedication

All through this day, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.

Amen.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.


<i>Moses and the Ten Commandments</i>, window in the Cathedral of St. Paul, Pittsburgh, by Franz Mayer.
Moses and the Ten Commandments, window in the Cathedral of St. Paul, Pittsburgh, by Franz Mayer.

Proverbs 21:3 (NKJV)

To do righteousness and justice
Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.


Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 16:1-8 (ESV)

Bread from Heaven [1]

They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”

So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “At evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?”

And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him — what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”

Exodus Map - Hammond   Exodus Map 2


Notes on the Scripture

While there is much to say about the passage, the most important feature is the preliminary imposition of the fourth commandment. Any sensible person recognizes that, ultimately, God provides our food. We may pride ourselves on our agriculture and industry, but as Christ said: “Consider the birds of the air.” Here, God removes the work of man, for the Hebrews cannot farm at all and the livestock is emaciated. They are in a terrible desert where they cannot even gather; God feeds them directly. They cannot make the mistake of pride in an illusory self-sufficiency, as atheists do, or think that it is an accident that food falls from the sky, in the middle of a desert.

fourth commandment of the Bible, keep the Sabbath

God is ready, in His training of the Hebrews, to move them to a new level of trust: He commands them not to gather food for more than one day, except on the sixth day; and on the seventh day, not to gather at all. This is utterly artificial, a law of God that runs contrary to nature. It is something a person would do only if he trusted God absolutely. God is training them to follow His Word, rather than their experience in the world. Like any training experience, He starts with a direct reward system.

It is odd for us to live in a time when we can see this training in reverse. God wants us to work six days and rest on the seventh, keeping it as a day of holy celebration. If you have seen the great movie Chariots of Fire, you will remember the Scotsman, Eric Liddell, who won the 400-meter run in the 1924 Olympics, but refused to compete in his best event, the 100-meter dash, because it was held on Sunday. (And he certainly sacrificed a gold medal: His British record in the 100-yard dash was not broken for 35 years.)

The point being: Can we even imagine this happening today? Tim Tebow, the great Christian figurehead of professional sports, played football on Sunday. This is not to judge Mr. Tebow in any way, but it is hard not to think that our overall trust in God is unraveling, as being “open for business” on Sunday has become nearly universal; the only exception among national chains is Chick-fil-A.

We do not live under the strict letter of Mosaic Law; Christ Himself showed the flexibility of the Sabbath laws by healing. Surely there is room for interpretation in the fourth commandment. But we must ask ourselves: Are our Sunday activities good-faith attempts to keep the spirit of the Sabbath, or a rationalization for compromising God's will to feed our own appetites?



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“ Extraordinary Love ”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Philippians 2:5-7: Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


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