Daily Devotion for December 9, 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
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
But You have saved us from our enemies,
And have put to shame those who hated us.
Darkness at Noon
"And on that day," declares the Lord God, "I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day."
Notes on the Scripture
We celebrate Advent for 28 or 30 days to commemorate the period of waiting for the Messiah. The historical advent, however, lasted for 750 years. Although Amos is called a "minor prophet" (one of a group of 12 minor prophets who have books named for them, at the end of the Old Testament), he was the oldest and therefore the first who began to prophesy two great events: First, that God's wrath would fall on the Jews because of their sinfulness, and in particular the worship of idols; and second, the coming of a messiah, a man from God who would ransom Israel from those who would conquer her and enslave the Jews.
Amos is primarily known for his dire predictions of God's wrath on Israel. But in today's passage, he predicted the events of Good Friday, both literally and theologically.
The literal prophesy is a prediction of a "day of the Lord", a term first used by Amos, when a remarkable tragedy "like the mourning for an only son" would occur. This is tied specifically to Good Friday by the startling accuracy of the detail: the darkness occurring at noon (the "sixth hour" in Jewish timekeeping), which three of the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion include:
Just as important, although not as obvious, the coming of Christ represented the destruction of Judaism and the ending of the old covenant. The Jews, unable to live up to the requirements of the Law of Moses, proved that men could not justify themselves to God by their acts. But God had made a promise, and so the Jews were not destroyed; instead, with the destruction of the old covenant came a Messiah, Jesus, who would take their sins upon himself so that they might be forgiven, rather than destroyed.
And so, around 750 B.C. the Jews began a long period of waiting for the day of the Lord, when terrible destruction would finally undo the Jewish nation; but as terrible as the destruction would be, it would be sweetened by hope, for a new and better life would arise where the old life had been destroyed.
And so we celebrate a period of waiting for that hope, which we know will be realized by the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.