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Daily Devotion for November 7, 2011
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.
Prayer for the Morning
You are ushering in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God if You'll renew me too?
Forgive the many errors, that I made yesterday, And let me try again dear God, to walk closer in Thy way.
But Father, I am well aware, I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.
A Prayer of Repentance
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray to you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions.
Walk with me, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.
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.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.
Romans 9:14-18 (ESV)
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!
For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
Notes on the Scripture
In the preceding verses, Paul discussed Abraham's two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Both of them were apparently well-behaved, but Ishmael was eventually cast out of the Hebrew line and sent to live on his own. With Isaac's sons, Esau and Jacob, God selected Jacob while they were still in the womb, and Esau lost his birthright to his younger brother and was also cast out.
Isaac and Jacob were chosen, and Ishmael and Esau were rejected, not because of anything they did or anything they thought. They lost God's favor for the simple reason that God chose one over the other. It wasn't "fair".
Christians often ignore the implication of these events. But the lack of fairness does not escape Paul, and he addresses the question head-on: "Is their injustice on God's part?"
Paul's answer is simple. God is God. He will have mercy on whomever He chooses. This dovetails with the main argument of Romans, that we are saved, not by our actions, but by the grace of God.
Paul then quotes a message God gave Moses to deliver to Pharaoh. God was certainly "fair" with Pharaoh. He gave him chance after chance to free the Hebrews. But one must ask, why didn't God simply destroy the Egyptians? There are two reasons. One, he gave the Egyptians ample opportunity to repent. God knew that Pharaoh would not give in, that he would harden his heart towards God and the Hebrews, but He nevertheless gave Pharaoh a chance.
More importantly, God wanted the Hebrews, and all humanity, to understand His power and justice, and to let us see just how stubbornly some people would resist it. The essence of sinfulness is hardness of heart to God's truth, despite the constant miracles of his creation.
This is a hard lesson that Paul teaches, but it is helpful, because if we understand it, it will keep us from torturing ourselves about the sinfulness of society. Salvation is not for everyone. We simply have to understand that there are people who will never, no matter what, accept God's grace. This doesn't mean we should not fight for Christ, that we should not spread the Gospel or hope to bring others to salvation. But we must realize, there are those who will not be saved.