Daily Devotion for November 19, 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.
Dottie Rambo (the small, dark-haired woman), the “Queen of Gospel Music,” did not have much voice left when this was recorded, a few years before her death in 2008, but it is a special moment, to hear her sing a few words of one of the 2,500 songs she wrote. Her friend Vestal Goodman sings the solo.
The holy hills of heaven call me
to mansions bright across the sea,
where loved ones wait and crowns are given,
the hills of home keep calling me.
This house of flesh is but a prison
bars of bone hold my soul,
but the doors of clay are gonna burst wide open
when the angels set my spirit free,
I’ll take my flight like the mighty eagle
when the hill of home start calling me.
I see loved ones over yonder,
tears are gone and hearts are free,
and from the throne my Savior beckons,
and the hills of home keep calling me.
Music and Lyrics by Dottie Rambo.
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Teach me, O Lord, to dispose my deeds so that they will serve in glorifying Your holy name. Take pity, O Lord, on all Christians. Hear the desires of all who cry out to You, and deliver them from evil. Save Your servants; send them comfort, consolation in their sorrows, and Your holy mercy.
O Lord, I especially pray for those who have in any way insulted, abused and grieved me. Do not punish them for the sake of me, a sinner; but pour Your mercy upon them. O Lord; I pray to You especially for all those whom I, a sinner, insulted or tempted in word, deed, thought, knowingly or unknowingly. O Lord God, forgive us our sins and mutual offenses. Dispel from every Christian heart all indignation, suspicion, anger, remembrance of evil, quarrels, and all that might hinder and lessen brotherly love. In Christ’s holy name, I ask this,
Now all glory to you, mighty God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
Where do we learn that “faith without works is dead”?
Take a Break
Come now . . . fly for a moment from your affairs, escape for a little while from the tumults of your thoughts. Put aside now your weighty cares and leave your wearisome toils. Abandon yourself for a little to God and rest for a little in him.
~ Anselm of Canterbury (1088 A.D.)
Exodus 8:16-19 (The Message)
The Third Plague: Gnats
God said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and strike the dust. The dust will turn into gnats all over Egypt.’”
He did it. Aaron grabbed his staff and struck the dust of the Earth; it turned into gnats, gnats all over people and animals. All the dust of the Earth turned into gnats, gnats everywhere in Egypt.
The magicians tried to produce gnats with their incantations but this time they couldn’t do it. There were gnats everywhere, all over people and animals.
The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is God’s doing.” But Pharaoh was stubborn and wouldn’t listen. Just as God had said.
Notes on the Scripture
A Bit About Bible Translations
The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language was translated from the Greek and Hebrew by Eugene H. Peterson; he published it piecemeal over a period of eight years. The language is so informal that it often sounds like slang. His purpose was “to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who hadn’t read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become ‘old hat’.”
The Message is not a very accurate translation; Petersen was trying to create a document that would stimulate and encourage more than one that would be useful as a theological tool. Petersen himself stated quite clearly: The Message is not to be used for Bible study.
All Bible translators face a tension between accuracy and readability, called the “dynamic and formal equivalence spectrum.” The Message falls at the extreme end of the “dynamic” side. Again, as Petersen stated, The Message should not be read as teachable Scripture, but as an adjunct tool where appropriate: For fun, to get a fresh approach to a passage, as an introduction for people who cannot relate to more formal language, etc.
I hated it when I first read it, but I have gradually come to realize what Petersen meant by having a translation that might shake up people who were getting a bit jaded. Now, I get a kick out of it. The passage today is actually reasonably accurate, enough to learn the lesson of the verses fully.
Strike Three: Gnats
The third plague shows a clear progression in the nature of the signs given to, and inflicted upon, Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The frogs were irritating, but they did not physically attack people. The gnats go a step further, because they actually assault the body, getting into people’s eyes and noses. It is not a serious assault; the gnats do no harm. But still, there is a distinct difference between making the environment less comfortable, as in the first two plagues, and directly attacking people’s bodies.
The plague is also now higher-level, because it cannot even be reproduced by Pharaoh’s magicians, much less reversed or stopped. God is giving Pharaoh the chance to relent with a minimum amount of damage, raising the bar one step at a time. It is an Old Testament form of “progressive discipline.”