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Thursday, July 9, 2020

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Evening Devotion for July 1, 2020

NOTICE: Daily Prayer will be partially or completely down from time to time for the next few days, and will sometimes look odd. I have put more discussion of this at the bottom of the page.


<i>Angelus</i> by Jean-François Millet
Angelus by Jean-François Millet, ca. 1859

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.

What a beautiful song from Janis Ian! The lyrics are poetic and profound. “I thought that God would hate me ’cause I’d lived my life in sin . . . .”




Prayer for Personal Conduct (from 1 Timothy)

Lord God, I pray that, for the rest of this day and tomorrow, my conduct will be like that you have set for your clergy: Above reproach. May I be temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, and not violent, but gentle. May I never be quarrelsome, always seeking peace even in disagreement, and may my love be for you and my fellow man, not for money.

I pray that I manage my own household well. If I have any children in my charge, I pray to that I may take the time to see that they are in control and behaving with proper respect. Grant me a good reputation with outsiders, so that I will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil. This I pray through my Lord Christ, whose love and attention ever gave us an example of conduct,

Amen.

Confession

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.

Amen.

Prayer in Times of Low Spirits (from Psalm 42)

Like a deer thirsts for the water of a clear cool stream, my soul thirsts for you, my God. I await with longing the day when I may finally appear before you. I sometimes become unhappy; my spirit becomes downcast, as my enemies deny you and mock me; and yet, always, I discover the joy of your Spirit and turn my face to you, and you heal me.

By day you command my steadfast love, and by night your song comes to me. The wickedness of the world taunts me and evil people put a bullet in my back, saying “Where is your God”? But why are you in turmoil, oh my soul? My hope is in God. I will turn again to you, my Lord, and praise you, my salvation and my God.

Amen.

Benediction

O  Good Shepherd, stay with Your sheep tonight. Secure them against the perils that beset them. Stay, above all, with the suffering and dying. Grant us a quiet night and a perfect end. Be our merciful Shepherd to the last, that without fear we may appear before You as our Judge.

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.



Adam and Eve hiding
Adam and Eve Hiding, Bible illustration ca. 1880.

Genesis 3:7 (KJV)

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.


Blue Latin Cross

Habakkuk 2:2, 4, 9, 15-16 (NASB)

T

hen the Lord answered me and said,

“Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faithfulness.”

“Because you have looted many nations,
All the remainder of the peoples will loot you —
Because of human bloodshed and violence to the land,
To the town and all its inhabitants.

         *         *         *

“Woe to you who make your neighbors drink,
Who mix in your venom even to make them drunk
So as to look on their nakedness!

“You will be filled with disgrace rather than honor.
Now you yourself drink and expose your own nakedness.
The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you,
And utter disgrace will come upon your glory.


Notes on the Scripture

Israel after Solomon (33): Habakkuk’s Second Dialogue with God

When Habakkuk demands of God, why He would let the remaining free Jews of Judah and Jerusalem be punished for their sin by a people even more wicked than they — the Chaldeans (rulers of the Babylonian Empire) — God replies that even a worse fate awaits the Chaldeans. He lists five fates or “woes” that will befall Babylon. Two of them are excerpted in today’s Scripture.

Enormous lion|Statues of Nimrud

The first woe is the basic one. The soul of “the proud one” (the Chaldean conqueror who is puffed up by his military conquests) is not right within him. God tells Habakkuk that “the righteous will live by faith” — this is the origin of the famous phrase, repeated so often in the Epistles of Paul. He is criticizing Habakkuk right back, scolding him for his lack of faith and warning him that to lose faith in Him will mean death. But he is also giving a new way of looking at sinfulness, as somehow tainting the soul in such a way that God’s wrath will be upon him.

We next see a convention of Hebrew prophecy: God’s voice switches to the second person to pronounce His future judgment on Babylon: “Because you have looted many nations . . .”

The paragraphs below the three asterisks give an example of Habakkuk’s vivid stylization; the poetry is powerful but difficult to follow, especially in translation and lacking intuitive knowledge of Hebrew cultural values and idioms.

Initially we may read it as literal. Picture someone pushing drinks on the neighbors, slipping a drug in the glass, and then looking at them naked and/or having sex with them. Nakedness to the ancient Hebrew evoked a complex range of meaning. Hebrew literature sometimes uses “seeing nakedness” as a euphemism for sexual congress. At other times it means simply seeing someone naked or partly clothed; but this, in itself, was shameful to the Hebrew mind. They saw nakedness as the state of a lower animal. To be naked before anyone other than one’s spouse was degrading. Even partly naked people were slaves or prostitutes.

Seeing nakedness is therefore metaphorical. It is to see someone who has been stripped, not only of dignity, but also of humanity. Clothing here represents all that raises mankind above amoral animals — wisdom, self-control, morality, godliness, etc.

Moses praying B+
Moses praying.

Giving wine mixed with “venom” (the meaning of the Hebrew word is unclear) to make neighbors drunk is also metaphor, with a wide range of meaning. It seems to imply an intentional falsehood, calculated to mislead and degrade the recipient. Wine mixed with “venom” can be seen to represent speech mixed with “lies”. Most specifically, it would apply to convincing someone, be it an individual or a nation, that an idol is a true god, and that they should worship Baal instead of Yahweh.

In the case of Judah, the damage is even worse, for it is Yahweh who protects them against conquest. Therefore, convincing them to worship false gods will lead them to the animal state of slavery in the visible world, as well as the state of unrighteousness before God. They will be made naked in another sense, without armor or weapons, defenseless, ripe for military subjugation.

Having done this to Judah, however, the Chaldeans will suffer the same fate they have imposed on other. They, too, will become drunk and naked. The Lord’s cup will expose their lies, and they will be disgraced and conquered.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“Be still and know I am God.”

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Today in Daily Prayer


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Memory Verse

Ephesians 2:8: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.



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