Daily Devotion for January 12, 2021
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.
Heaven hear me now.
I'm lost without a cause
After giving it my all.
Winter storms have come
And darkened my sun.
After all that I've been through
Who on earth can I turn to?
I look to you. I look to you.
After all my strength is gone,
In you I can be strong.
I look to you.
I look to you.
And when melodies are gone,
In you I hear a song.
I look to you.
About to lose my breath,
There's no more fighting left,
Sinking to rise no more,
Searching for that open door.
And every road that I've taken
Lead to my regret.
And I don't know if I'm going to make it.
Nothing to do but lift my head.
My levees are broken,
My walls have come
Crumbling down on me.
When rain is falling.
Defeat is calling.
I need you to set me free.
Take me far away from the battle.
I need you to shine on me.
Music and lyrics by Robert S. Kelly
Prayer for Renewal in Christ
My Father, if Your mercy had boundaries, where would be my refuge from just wrath? But Your love for me in Christ is without measure. Thus, I present myself to You with sins of commission and omission, against You, my Father, against You, Adorable Redeemer, against You and Your stirrings, O Holy Spirit, against the dictates of my conscience, against the precepts of Your Word, against my neighbours and myself. Enter not into judgment with me, for I plead no righteousness of my own, and have no place to hide my iniquity. Pardon my day dark with evil.
This morning I renew my repentance. Every morning I vow to love You more fervently, to serve You more sincerely, to be more devoted in my life, to be completely Yours; Yet I soon stumble, backslide, and have to confess my weakness, misery and sin. But I bless You that the finished work of Jesus needs no addition from my doings, that His atonement is sufficient satisfaction for my sins.
If future days be mine, help me to amend my life, to hate and abhor evil, to flee the sins I confess. Make me more resolute, more watchful, more prayerful. Let no evil fruit spring from evil seeds my hands have sown; Let no neighbour be hardened in vanity and folly by my want of watchfulness.
If this day I have been ashamed of Christ and His Word, or have shown unkindness, malice, envy, lack of love, unadvised speech, hasty temper, let it be no stumbling block to others, or dishonour to Your name. O, help me to set an upright example that will ever rebuke vice, appeal to goodness, and evidence that lovely are the ways of Christ.
For a Sense of Wonder at God’s Creation
Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe. Delight me to see how your Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His, to be the father through the features of men’s faces. Each day enrapture me with your marvelous things without number. I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
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
Which Old Testament Book is quoted or cited most often in the New Testament?
Psalm 5:4-8 (NKJV)
You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil dwell with You.
The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.
You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.
Exodus 10:1-11 (ESV)
The Eighth Plague: Locusts 
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”
So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land.’
‘And they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field, and they shall fill your houses and the houses of all your servants and of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.’” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh.
Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh.
And he said to them, “Go, serve the Lord your God. But which ones are to go?” Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the Lord.”
But he said to them, “The Lord be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Look, you have some evil purpose in mind. No! Go, the men among you, and serve the Lord, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
Notes on the Scripture
God announces an underlying purpose of the plagues, for the first time. He wants Moses’ son and grandson to witness His works. The ESV translates the verse “how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians,” but it could as easily read “how I have humiliated” or “made a spectacle of . . . .” The plagues are a demonstration of His power and wrath, to be remembered for all time. They are also a sign of His commitment to the Hebrews.
One might puzzle over the plagues until this point. God certainly has no qualms about destroying cities or nations that have sunk into total idolatry and pridefulness, but in the case of Egypt, He seems wantonly cruel. If all He wants is to free the Hebrews, He could certainly accomplish the task with less fuss and less suffering.
Plague of Hail
(Padua, ca. 1400)
Not that we can expect to understand God’s methods, always. We are often in the position of savages who see a surgeon’s knife cutting open a patient’s abdomen, able to see the terrible wound inflicted but unable to grasp that, by this apparently murderous action, the surgeon will save the patient’s life. But in this case, we are given a hint to understand the entire plague scenario.
The purpose is to save mankind by giving the Hebrews a demonstration which they, and the world, will remember forever. (And it worked!)
Another oddity is the repeated statement that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. We rarely see the Lord taking away free will. But in Exodus, Moses tells us that Pharaoh’s intransigence was God’s work.
In the context of the entire Bible, we must believe that Pharaoh was beyond salvation and irrevocably committed to his own pride. Had he been permitted to release the Hebrews at an earlier stage, it would only have been a matter of expediency — something along the lines of, “these Hebrews are more trouble than they are worth.” If Pharaoh had been capable of abandoning his panoply of animal-god idols and bowing to Yahweh, we must believe God would have permitted it, for at every point God welcomes the penitent sinner with open arms.
As for the narrative, Pharaoh has now offered to let the men (and only the men) go worship, but his bargaining strategy backfires. Moses now demands specifically that every Hebrew person be allowed to go worship and, what’s more, that they take their flocks with them. And we know that this retrograde bargaining will continue; instead of moving toward compromise, the demands of Yahweh and His people will only increase.