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Daily Devotion for July 5, 2022


<i>Christ Driving the Moneychangers from the Temple (detail)</i> by Rembrandt van Rijn, ca. 1626.
Christ Driving the Moneychangers from the Temple (detail), by Rembrandt van Rijn, ca. 1626.

Prayers

Scripture

660 people in our community are currently praying with you.

Lord’s Prayer

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.

Amen.

The beginning of this moving song is sung in Kituba, a language widely spoken in central Africa. The Kituba lyrics are (thankfully) translated onscreen, but we have supplied the English lyrics for It is Well with My Soul.




“A Little Prayer”

Let us be thankful, Lord, for little things
The song of birds, the rapture of the rose;
Cloud-dappled skies, the laugh of limpid springs,
Drowned sunbeams and the perfume April blows;
Bronze wheat a-shimmer, purple shade of trees -
Let us be thankful, Lord of Life, for these!

Let us be grateful, God, for health serene,
The hope to do a kindly deed each day;
The faith of fellowship, a conscience clean,
The will to worship and the gift to pray;
For all of worth in us, of You a part,
Let us be grateful, God, with humble heart.

Amen.

Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples. Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love, and that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation; Teach me to be Your faithful disciple and animate me in every way with Your Spirit.

Amen.

Meditation

“When we become too glib in prayer we are most surely talking to ourselves.”

~ A. W. Tozer


For Those Praying with Me

Heavenly Father, there are people praying with me, right now, whom I will never meet. I don’t know their names, or what country they live in, or what they may look like, but I will know their souls, for we are brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that we might be united in the Holy Spirit, and that I will know and feel the kinship and love, in my spirit, of those who share these prayers with me.

Amen.


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.



Raphael putti, Sistine Madonna
Raphael's famous putti, or cherubs, detail from a painting known as the Sistine Madonna (not part of the Sistine Chapel), c. 1513.

The Danger of Knowledge

You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.

~ William Wilberforce


Blue Latin Cross
Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Matthew 21:12-13 (ESV)

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.

He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”


John 2:13–16 (ESV)

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.

And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.”


Notes on the Scripture

This scene takes place in all four Gospels. But in John, it occurs in the first year of Jesus’ ministry, whereas in the Synoptics it occurs shortly before the crucifixion. John, though, is unusual in many ways, and it is beyond the scope of today’s commentary to get into all the differences. But we have seen how Matthew focuses heavily on Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. The adult Jesus does not come to Jerusalem until Chapter 20 (of 28), whereas John is set almost entirely in Jerusalem.

Temple of Solomon model
Model of the First Temple.

One might conclude either that John intentionally reset the cleansing of the Temple to an earlier time, to fit his gospel’s unique structure, or that Jesus cleansed the Temple twice. Both John and Matthew were eyewitnesses, so it is not likely that either of them did not remember when such an attention-grabbing event occurred. My personal thought is that John relocated it to emphasize a thematic truth — that this was primarily a sign of Jesus’ divinity rather than a cause of his crucifixion — and he considered the chronology irrelevant.

The broad meaning of the events is immediately apparent to even a first-time reader. The house of God is not a house of trade; it is a house of prayer. Profit-making enterprise should not be allowed, as it tends to corrupt the purpose of the building. “You cannot serve both God and money (mammon).”

As to the specifics of the event, the Temple had many courtyards, which decreased in size and increased in importance until one reached the Temple building and the Holy of Holies, a small room where only the high priest entered once a year. The largest was the Court of the Gentiles, open to the public, and it was there that the trade booths were set up. But people prayed there, and, in fact, it was the only place that Gentiles could pray to the God of Moses.

two turtle doves needlework
Two turtle doves

You might remember that Mary and Joseph sacrificed two pigeons or doves at the Temple when Jesus was an infant. (Luke 2:22-24) The trade in sacrificial animals was enormous, and although one was assured of getting a blemish-free animal, prices were up to 15 times higher than they were on the outside.

Money changers had an even better racket, because many forms of currency were not accepted in the Temple; one needed standard coinage to pay for a range of charges, including the animal vendors and the temple tax collectors. (Some sources state that the Temple tax had to be paid with a “Tyrian shekel,” a standard coin of Mediterranean trade.) Commission rates were considerable. Some of the profits were kept by the individual businessmen, and some given to the Temple itself. But worst of all, some of all the money went straight to Annas, the high priest and power broker of the Sanhedrin.

This is the only time we see Christ resort to any sort of violence in the entire New Testament. He will not raise a hand to protect his own life; he will not protest paying a tax he does not owe; he will not so much as speak against the civil authorities. But when the purity of worship is corrupted, he becomes vehement. He will not allow it to be desecrated by trade.



endless knot

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“Home Sweet Home”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

James 2:17: Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.



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Comments (4)

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Regular
Susansays...

I always check the “praying with you” number before I pray, and wonder who is new to our prayer community, who got up late, who had someone to take care of and didn’t join that morning, and who is praying for us from heaven. I look forward each day to this site and our prayers.

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Senior
Paulsays...

To Roxanne and Claudette, I want you both to know that I have come to enjoy reading your comments very much since joining this sight over a year ago. To hear from you both on the same day is just an extra special pleasure. You both exhibit the pure joy of worshipping our Lord and Savior. God bless you both, my Sisters in Christ.

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Roxanne(New York, US)says...

Well, said: those praying with me! No matter where you are located, we can all pray together.

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Claudette(Bucasia, Queensland, Australia)says...

Thank you Jenny, for today's Daly Inspiration! It REALLY resonates with me . . .I can't WAIT to go Home! I just hope I am worthy.

And thank you Mason, for 'those praying with me'! It is a wonderful feeling to know there are so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ, praying with me. I can't SEE you, but I KNOW you're all there, all of us united on this site, praying together.

Many blessings to you all!

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