Destruction of the Tower of Babel, Peter Bruegel the Elder, ca. 1563. Bruegel’s depiction of the architecture of the tower, with its numerous arches and other examples of Roman engineering, is deliberately reminiscent of the Roman Colosseum, which Christians of the time saw as both a symbol of hubris and persecution. (See Full-size.)
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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 as the Day Draws to a Close
Well, dear God, the day is almost over and as I look back upon it, I could have done better and I could have done worse. It makes me happy that I have done something right today, no matter how small. And I thank you, that I might look forward to the night in the comfort of knowing that your forgiveness for my errors is limitless. Forgive me my wrongs, in the name of Christ, and take me to the safety of your bosom as I wind down from the tumult of the day you gave me. I pray that my sleep will be peaceful tonight, and that I will face tomorrow filled with renewed purpose.
by Mason Barge
And now, as a little child, let me abide in you for the rest of this day, oh Christ, and during the day to come; so that when you appear I may have confidence and not shrink from you in shame at your coming. For I know that you are righteous, and I am sure that I will be made righteous only by my life in you.
Our “Saturday Oldie” is a tribute to “Miss Gospel Music,” the legendary Doris Akers, shortly before her death in 1995. She sings a version of her most famous hit, Sweet, Sweet Spirit, now #334 in the United Methodist Hymnal.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.
The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own esteem.
Exodus 4:10-17 (ESV)
ut Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”
Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”
But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”
Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”
Notes on the Scripture
Moses is such an odd figure, and we see here an exchange that will characterize his thorny relationship with God until his death. He is always depicted as a great towering figure of power, spreading his arms to part the Red Sea or displaying the Ten Commandments dramatically. In truth, though, he is shy and embarrassed; he is reluctant to lead. Although physically vigorous, he is not eloquent or even articulate. Nor does he have any great “will to power”.
When he pleads his oratorical deficiency, God replies with a tone of impatience. As with Abraham, God takes on the characteristics of human emotion in the story. He scolds Moses, basically telling him, “if I want you to speak well, you will speak well. Who do you think you’re dealing with?”
Yet Moses remains reluctant. So God appoints his brother, Aaron, to be his “mouth” — his press secretary, as it were. But Moses is to be elevated beyond a mere prophet and will be “as God” to Aaron. Aaron will speak the will of God to the people, but Moses will carry the staff of authority, the staff of the shepherd; again, a symbol that will continue in Hebrew religious symbolism until the coming of the ultimate shepherd, Jesus.
God’s “anger” with Moses does not indicate that God has become emotional, but rather, it is a term to show that Moses has committed an offense against Him. Moses’ faith is imperfect. I can think of two people, off the top of my head, who are exemplars of perfect faith: Christ and Abraham. And we see these two tied together in Galatians. Corresponding to his lesser faith, Moses is not given supernatural power in his person, such as Christ had; when he exercises God’s power over nature, it will be through a staff.
So, as great a prophet and leader as Moses will become, he has a number of human foibles. We must think that he, like us, will ultimately be forgiven in Christ. But like us, also, he will pay for his sin during his life; he ultimately will not be allowed to set foot into the Promised Land.
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Today in Daily Prayer
Romans12:2: Do not be conformed to this age . . . .
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