Daily Devotion for February 19, 2014
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.
Emeli Sandé performs the song she sang at the London 2012 Olympics in a quiet studio with a single mike.
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Music (Eventide) by Wm H. Monk, 1861
Lyrics by Henry Lyle, 1847
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
[Let us close our eyes for a minute and meditate on how God preserves us from evil.]
Prayer for One's Home
Peace, unto this house, I pray,
Keep terror and despair away;
Shield it from evil and let sin
Never find lodging room within.
May never in these walls be heard
The hateful or accusing word.
Grant that its warm and mellow light
May be to all a beacon bright,
A flaming symbol that shall stir
The beating pulse of him or her
Who finds this door and seems to say,
“Here end the trials of the day.“
Hold us together, gentle Lord,
Who sit about this humble board;
May we be spared the cruel fate
Of those whom hatreds separate;
Here let love bind us fast, that we
May know the joys of unity.
Lord, this humble house we'd keep
Sweet with play and calm with sleep.
Help us so that we may give
Beauty to the lives we live.
Let Thy love and let Thy grace
Shine upon our dwelling place.
Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.
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.
Psalm 62:5-7 (NKJV)
My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
Romans 11:25-36 (ESV)
The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob;
and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”
As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.
For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?” [Isaiah 40:13]
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul begins this section by telling us why Israel has not fully accepted Christ, why it is “hardened” against the gospel. In a nutshell, Judaism is the price someone had to pay for the salvation of the world; for now, the Jews have become disobedient, by failing to accept Christ.
God has, however, promised to redeem Israel. Remember, God made promises to them in the Old Testament; they are “beloved for the sake of their forefathers”. God promised Abraham, Jacob, and many other Jewish patriarchs that Israel would be redeemed if they worshipped Him and accepted his law. And God keeps his promises.
So God still loves Israel despite their disobedience. In fact, Paul tells us that God has allowed them to become disobedient, precisely because He intends to show them mercy. He will now let the mercy shown to the Gentiles convince Jews to follow Christ, just as he had previously let the disobedience of the Jews bring mercy in the form of a Jewish Messiah, which was extended to the Gentiles.
If all this is somewhat puzzling to us — why would God want someone to be disobedient just so that he can forgive them? — it is somewhat puzzling to Paul himself. At the end of Romans 11, he reminds us that this is God we are dealing with. We do not and cannot “understand” Him.
In effect, Paul throws up his hands at trying to explain the mysteries of God. He seems to be overcome by the burden of writing Romans at the end of Chapter 11 and falls down on his knees, to praise God for everything Paul himself cannot understand. He stops trying to explain God and, instead, takes a moment to worship Him for his mystery and the glory.