Evening Devotion for September 16, 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.
This pretty hymn is sung by the choir of the Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School in Singapore.
1. For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.
2. For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow'r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light,
3. For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,
Music by Conrad Kocher, 1786-1872
Lyrics by Folliott S. Pierpoint, 1835-1917
The little plans I tried to carry
O’ Dear God.
But, I will not sorrow
I will pause a little while
And try again tomorrow.
Now, to God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheds the love of God abroad in our hearts, be all love and all glory in time and to all eternity.
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.
The Foundation of Virtue
Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.
~ (Saint) Augustine of Hippo
Galatians 2:6-10 (DP Bible)
he upshot of our conference was that my Gospel was well-received, exactly as I presented it. They realized that, in the same way Peter had been entrusted with the Gospel for the Jews, I had been entrusted with the Gospel for the Gentiles. Or in other words, that the same force moved us to our respective missions. Despite their prominence, they really had nothing more to teach me. Their only counsel was to remember the poor – welcome advice, as I am eager to help those in need.
6 But from the being-recognized to be someone what sort presumably they were not at all to me differs face god of man not shows to me because the being-recognized not added anything gThe ambiguity is also present in the Greek: 1) The reputation of these men did not add anything to Paul’s consideration of them, or 2) The recognized men did not contribute anything to Paul’s work. (Later copyists, who added much of the punctuation to the Greek, missed a good opportunity here.) ,
7 But the opposite hIdiom, on the other hand, or to the contrary. seeing that I had been entrusted-with the gospel of iLit. of the foreskin! uncircumcision just as Peter of circumcision jCircumcision came to be used idiomatically to stand for the class of people who had been circumcised, and BDAG gives the circumcised as a definition, a linguistic phenomenon called “abstract for concrete”. Having imparted this tidbit to the reader, I will hereafter use the extended meaning. ,
8 for the energizing kOr moving, motivating, etc. I used “energize” because it is transliterative; the Greek stem is energe- (although its fundamental meaning is not “energize” but “work” or “act”). Peter to apostleship of the circumcised energized also mine to the Gentiles,
9 and knowing the grace being-given to me, James and Cephas and John, who being-recognized pillars to be, right hands lLit. rights – “hands” is implied. gave to me and Barnabas of fellowship, that we to the Gentiles, and themselves to the circumcised
10 only of the poor mPoss. of poverty. that we should remember, which also being eager same thing to do.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles (Galatians #13)
We have been following Paul’s account of his history, focused on the source of the gospel he preached. Many people in the churches of Galatia (central Turkey) had begun to follow false teachers, who preached some manner of erroneous pseudo-gospel. As his first line of argument in correcting them, Paul showed them that his teachings were from God, while the false ones were created by men. Paul’s gospel was a revelation from Christ directly to Paul; it, therefore, cannot be false, and teachings that contradict it are accursed.
The first part of his argument shows that he could not have learned his gospel from men, because he did not spend much time with any of the original apostles — surely not enough to learn their gospel — until 14 years after his conversion, long after he had begun to teach. Now he describes his eventual trip there, to show that the gospel he had learned from Christ was acceptable to those who had followed Christ in His lifetime, particularly those who were members of the 12 apostles — Peter and John — but also James, Christ’s (half) brother.
How could Paul have possibly gotten a gospel, fully in harmony with that of Peter, John, and James, without ever speaking to them? There was no New Testament, no written Gospel; and Paul was in the deserts of Arabia for three years, before he went to Damascus and Antioch to begin his ministry. Like Moses, like Elijah, and like John the Baptist, Paul went out into the wilderness so that he could be taught by God.
Paul treads on the edge of a contradiction in these verses. He first states that the prominence or respect accorded to the Jerusalem apostles was irrelevant to him, because “God does not show the face of man to me”. This comes through better in the Verbatim Bible (v.6) although it is difficult to read. Paul is saying that these leaders were not superior to him in their knowledge of Christ and did not add anything to his knowledge. Nevertheless, he is not above using their fame, when they accept his gospel and give him their hands, to buff up his own credentials as a true apostle of Christ.
Paul in Prison
Paul does assert that he was essentially Peter’s equal (and that Peter agreed); the great difference between them was that Paul was charged by the Holy Spirit with bringing Christ to the Gentiles, but Peter to the Jews. Of course, they overlapped; Peter had long before converted his first Gentile, Cornelius, even though it was against his will: but God intervened to instruct Peter that he must abandon his prejudice and accept Gentile converts, and Peter complied. (Acts 10, 11:1-18) But it actually seems to be Philip who first fully accepted Gentile conversion, baptizing Gentiles from Samaria and then Ethiopia without comment on their ethnicity. (Acts 8)
So this passage treats Paul’s status in relation to those of Jerusalem in an odd, double way. Giving the right hand was typically the recognition given by a ruler to a subject, by a leader to a follower, etc. But Paul depicts this, credibly, more as a welcome into a fellowship of equals; he was to be the equivalent of the three pillars of the church of Jerusalem, but concentrating in a different geographical area to a different class of people.
As an interesting note on language, there is no Greek word for “Gentile”. The word most often translated “Gentiles” in the Bible actually means “nations”. (Non-Jews are also designated by the word “foreskinned”, but this is usually translated “uncircumcised” rather than “Gentile”.) Knowing this helps us tie together messianic prophecy and post-ascension Christianity: We see in Paul’s work the practical fulfillment of many promises made by the prophets, particularly Isaiah, over 500 years earlier: “I will also make You a light of the nations, So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Is. 49:6)