Evening Devotion for January 16, 2018
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.
At where this road had taken him.
'Cause never in a million lives
Would he have dreamed of Bethlehem.
And standing at the manger, he saw with his own eyes
The message from the angel come to life.
And Joseph said:
"I'm just a simple man of trade
Why him with all the rulers in the world?"
"Inside this stable filled with hay
Why her, she's just an ordinary girl."
Now, I'm not one to second guess what angels have to say,
But this is such a strange way to save the world.
To think of how it could've been
If Jesus had come as He deserved.
There would've been no Bethlehem
No lowly shepherds at His birth.
But Joseph knew the reason, love had to reach so far,
And as he held the Savior in his arms
He must've thought:
Lyrics and Music by Jump5
Turn Thy Face Unto Us
Look upon us, O Lord, and let all the darkness of our souls vanish before the beams of thy brightness.
Fill us with holy love, and open to us the treasures of thy wisdom. All our desire is known unto thee, therefore perfect what thou hast begun, and what thy Spirit has awakened us to ask in prayer.
We seek thy face, turn thy face unto us and show us thy glory. Then shall our longing be satisfied, and our peace shall be perfect.
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the day and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming day, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
For Damaged Pride
Oh mighty and loving God, help me to overcome the pride which creeps in around the corners of my mind like rain hammering on broken shingles and cracked walls, persistent and sly, wearing away defenses, flooding the basement, trying to destroy my love for others and my humility by rotting it away.
Especially help me when someone corrects me, Lord, and I am wrong, in part or whole; for I am apt to take offense and shame, where humility would have neither; and my mind tries to justify my words or deeds, no matter how much I am in error. Fill me with desire for truth and love, dear God, so that I can accept correction, both from you and from other people, seeking only truth and love. In Christ I pray,
Oh God who has made me, oh God who keeps me, oh God who will be my Lord through all eternity, shine down Your blessings and wisdom upon me like the sun upon a field; and may I keep You in the forefront of my every thought and deed, throughout this day, and evermore.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What Bible verse assures us that we simply cannot comprehend God?
If you believe in a God who controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things. It is we, of course, to whom things look “little” or “big.”
~ Elisabeth Elliot
1 Samuel 2:12-26 (ESV)
Eli’s Wicked Sons
Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord. It was the practice of the priests with the people that whenever anyone offered a sacrifice and while the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand. He would plunge it into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot, and the priest would take for himself whatever the fork brought up. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. But even before the fat was burned, the servant of the priest would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.”
If the man said to him, “Let the fat be burned up first, and then take whatever you want,” the servant would then answer, “No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.” This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.
But Samuel was ministering before the Lord — a boy wearing the linen vestment. Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord.” Then they would go home. And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.
Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the Lord’s people. If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death.
And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men.
Notes on the Scripture
leeping with the female staff and stealing from the donations — periodic corruption in the priesthood seems endemic to organized religion. (This is rather timely — sexual harassment in the Bible!) We are also treated to the story of an indulgent father who does not have the heart to discipline his wayward children, even from abusing the power he has passed down to them. Keep in mind, this book is an account of very ancient events, the Hebrew nation just before the time of David. (Jewish religious ritual and practice was very different than it is today.) We are fortunate to have such a good account of Samuel’s early life, and in fact, his story was one of the texts found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
To set this in time, David ruled in roughly 1000 BC, so Samuel’s early life would have been very roughly 1050 BC. The Law of Moses, and the sacrificial practices and Levitical priesthood under it, were by now an ancient institution. Israel is still in the era of “judges,” an assortment of ad hoc leaders who arose primarily in times of crisis; in fact, Samuel will be the last “judge.” Yet, it will still be 1000 years until Christ is born.
Samuel’s parents have been rewarded for their good deeds; things look grim for the wicked sons of Eli, however, as this passage forbodes a stiff penalty for their behavior. We must suspect that Samuel is going to find favor with God, as his faithful and honest service even as a young boy creates a stark contrast to the corrupt priesthood of Shiloh, who stand above him in age and status.