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Daily Devotion for April 28, 2013

Abraham, Moses, Isaiah
Abraham, Moses and Isaiah, in the clerestory (row of high windows) of Exeter Cathedral, England.



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lessons and scripture

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.


Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester (1230 A.D.)

Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, For all the benefits thou hast won for me,
For all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me.

O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother,
May I know thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
And follow thee more nearly
For ever and ever.


Penitential Prayer

O  blessed Christ, my teacher, my savior, my God: You have commanded me to love others as myself. Yet it is so often easy to see the faults in others, for I see their outside and compare it against what is inside me. I have inflated my goodness and importance in my own mind, but have judged others for the smallest shortcoming, and I am filled by foolish pride.

I vow by this prayer that I will strive to follow your Word, to forgive all who have injured me, to turn loose the petty resentments and grudges that poison the world with hatred, and to overlook the faults of others; and I ask to be pardoned wherever I have done injury to my brothers and sisters, who are your beloved children even though they, like me, are sinners. And I vow, when I fall short of your commandment, to seek out and confess my wrongdoing. Forgive me, Holy Christ, and help me to ever amend my life; this I pray, with faith in the grace you have promised to the penitent sinner.



Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.


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.

Come unto me all ye that labor
Come unto me all ye who labor.

Psalm 4:1-2 (ASV)

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness;
Thou hast set me at large when I was in distress:
Have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.

O ye sons of men,
how long shall my glory be turned into dishonor?
How long will ye love vanity
and seek after falsehood?

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (ESV)

Exodus 20 Version of the Sixth Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.

On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Deuteronomy 5 Version

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.

On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.

You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Notes on the Scripture

The Versions of the Ten Commandments [1]

We are going to take a tangent for a week or two, trying to understand the part of Exodus we have just read, particularly the Ten Commandments.

The Bible is a difficult book to read. People who innocently try to sit down and read it as they would read a modern book find it frustrating and, ultimately, impossible. They misunderstand it. It is not a novel or a contemporary history or text, edited into a reader-friendly narrative flow in vernacular modern English. It is a text 2000 to 3000 years old, written in ancient Greek or, even worse, ancient Hebrew, often under primitive conditions.

We must expect difficulties; we must expect a need to study and learn.

The case in point is the Ten Commandments, which are more difficult to understand than we are led to believe. They are presented no less than four times in the Pentateuch: Exodus 20:1-17, which we have just read; Exodus 34:10-28; Leviticus 19:1-16; and Deuteronomy 5:4-21. None of these four is identical, although they overlap.

The Exodus 20 version is the one popularly called the "Ten Commandments" and posted on courthouse walls (at least for the time being). We do not mean to diminish them in any way, for they represent the Word of God and, unlike much of the Law of Moses, they seem immediately understandable to the modern reader. But this popular version of the "Ten Commandments" is incomplete, simplistic, and taken out of context.

To get us started, when we look at the two accounts of the Ten Commandments most nearly identical — Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, written out in today's Scripture — we see another and less harsh dimension to the Sixth Commandment. Although the actual law is identical, the rationale given in Deuteronomy is different. In Exodus 20, it tells us we must rest on the seventh day because God did so when He created earth; but in Exodus 34, the stated rationale is that the listeners had been slaves. It is more humane and less sternly legalistic. We take a day of rest, and give others a day of rest, because we know what it is like to be driven to work like a farm animal.

The Hebrews had been actual slaves; we, who have not experienced slavery ourselves, must use our sense of empathy, our love for others and ourselves, to realize that it is wrong to inflict a life of unremitting toil upon anyone.

As a practical example in modern life, think of fast food restaurants or grocery stores, most of which are now open on Sunday. The people working in these establishments are the modern-day equivalent of our servants. They work cooking our food and serving us our meal.

Should a Christian patronize such establishments on Sunday? We must search our hearts and pray for an answer, for there are powerful reasons not to do so. God's stated law is that the Hebrews not make even a donkey work on the Sabbath. Yes, one might spin out elaborate arguments on the subject, but the bottom line is a law given by God: keep one day in seven holy. Do not work and do not suffer others to work for you.

endless knot

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Proverbs 20:3: It is an honor for a man to cease from strife, since any fool can start a quarrel.

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