Evening Devotion for February 22, 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.
This soft ballad from Matt Maher (with Casting Crowns) asks us if there is room in our hearts for God to write His story.
The family hiding from the storm
Found no place at the keeper’s door;
It was for this a Child was born
To save a world so cold and hollow.
The sleeping town did not know
That, lying in a manger low,
A Savior King who had no home
Has come to heal our sorrows.
Is there room in your heart, (3x)
For God to write His story?
You can come as you are,
But it may set you apart,
When you make room in your heart
And trade your dreams for His glory.
Make room in your heart.
Make room in your heart.
Shepherds counting sheep in the night,
Do not fear the glory light;
You are precious in His sight.
God has come to raise the lowly.
Mother holds the Promise tight—
Every wrong will be made right.
The road is straight and the burden’s light,
For in His hands He holds tomorrow
Music and Lyrics by
Matt Maher and Mark Hall
The Love of Christ
Oh holy Christ, I thank you and love you for seeing who I really am. You know things about me that I don't even know myself, for you see with the clear eye of God, and not through the psychological tangle of human emotion and self-deception as others see me and I see myself. I most especially thank you, I fall upon my knees in gratitude, that you love me despite all of the sin and ugliness you see in me. You can see my beauty and heart, also, though, and love me as nobody else possibly could.
Like a father, you love me. Like a perfect brother, you love me. Knowing that you see me so clearly, and yet love me enough to suffer torture and death to save my soul, transcends my comprehension. I would be sick with shame, except that you have forbidden it, and by the power of God forgive my wrongdoing.
I give myself to you wholly, freely; every part of me blesses you. Take me to your bosom, holy Christ; let me live your love and reflect your light, that others may see a dim reflection of your magnificence in my lowly life, and that despite my many grievous faults, I might please you by doing better today, and every day. And this I vow: I will try, at least once today, to take a step closer to you, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
And finally, may the grace of Christ our Savior, and the Father’s boundless love, with the Holy Spirit’s favor, rest upon me, and all of us, from above. Thus may we abide in union, with each other and the Lord, and possess, in sweet communion, joys which earth cannot afford.
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.
Psalm 4:6-8 (NKJV)
There are many who say,
“Who will show us any good?”
Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Exodus 14:1-14 (ESV)
The Egyptian Pursuit
hen the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal Zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?”
So he made ready his chariot and took his army with him, and took six hundred chosen chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while the people of Israel were going out defiantly. The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.
When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Notes on the Scripture
When the Hebrews make camp for the third time, next to a large body of water (which we really can't identify), they are still in Egypt, moving more or less along the border. Pharaoh believes that they are trapped by the desert because they cannot survive in it. But they are not; they are following God, literally, and God is baiting a trap. We must never forget God's wrathful nature against those who defy Him. It is part of His plan to demonstrate both His might over the most powerful human on earth, His punishment of one who despises Him, and at the same time His love and protection of those who worship Him.
One might think the Egyptians incomprehensibly stupid. But they merely demonstrate a phenomenon we see time after time, even today, when nations go to war. There is something in our nature akin to amnesia when we go to war. If one reads any history, one knows what happens: millions die, massive poverty and human misery ensue, even the governments are replaced. What were the Germans, French, Russians, Austrians, Hungarians, etc. thinking in 1914? Pharaoh's circumstances are peculiar, but the blind pride and puerile anger that lead him to attack the Hebrews are a recurring theme of human history.
The Hebrews show similar human foibles: the confusion and rapidly changing mentality of a mob. Suddenly they recall the naysayers, whose objections had been overcome when they decided to leave Egypt; and like any confused mob, their opinion changes rapidly to another extreme.
(It sounds like the Hebrews had an early Borscht Belt comedian in their company:“What, they don't have graves in Egypt? We had to come out here to die?”)
But God has chosen well, and Moses, the reluctant leader, steps up. In fact, it is at this point he begins to characterize the attributes of God for all time. We begin to see the revelation of the God we know.
Reading Moses' speech carefully we see, first, that God is a comforter of his people. He quells our fear. In a similar vein, God delivers us from our distress. Third, God asks and expects that those who believe in Him will trust Him and will act on their trust: “Fear not,” Moses declares, “stand firm.”
Fourth, God delivers us from danger and death. He will fight for us. And fifth, God despises and fights against evil, with enormous power and might; and when His time comes, He destroys both the people who embrace evil and, ultimately, evil itself.