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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.

Daily Devotion for July 8, 2014

<i>Destruction of the Temple</i> by Francesco Hayez, ca. 1867.
Destruction of the Temple by Francesco Hayez, ca. 1867. This depiction of the assault on the Second Temple (by the Romans) gives a sense of the true size of the main altar.



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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.


The Morning “Lorica” (Prayer) of Saint Patrick


 arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today through the strength of Heaven
the rays of the sun,
the radiance of the moon,
the splendor of fire,
the speed of lightening,
the swiftness of the wind,
the depth of the sea,
the stability of the earth
the firmness of rock.

I arise today through the power of God:
God’s might to comfort me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to lead me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s Heavenly Host to save me
from the snares of the devil,
from temptations to sin,
from all who wish me ill,
from near and afar,
alone and with others.

May Christ shield me today
against poison and fire,
against drowning and wounding,
so that I may fulfill my mission
and bear fruit in abundance.
Christ behind and before me,
Christ behind and above me,
Christ with me and in me,
Christ around and about me,
Christ on my right and on my left,
Christ when I lie down at night,
Christ when I rise in the morning,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone that speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.


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.

endless knot
Blue Latin Cross

2 Chronicles 4 (TLB)

The Story of Solomon (13) — Furnishing the Temple

He also made a bronze altar 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 15 feet high. Then he forged a huge round tank 15 feet across from rim to rim. The rim stood 7½ feet above the floor, and was 45 feet around. The tank was encircled at its base by two rows of gourd designs, cast as part of the tank. The tank stood on twelve metal oxen facing outward; three faced north, three faced west, three faced south, and three faced east. The walls of the tank were five inches thick, flaring out like the cup of a lily. It held 3,000 barrels of water.

He also constructed ten vats for water to wash the offerings, five to the right of the huge tank and five to the left. The priests used the tank, and not the vats, for their own washing.

Carefully following God’s instructions, he then cast ten gold lampstands . . . . Huramabi also made the necessary pots, shovels, and basins for use in connection with the sacrifices. Solomon commanded that all of the furnishings of the Temple . . . must be made of gold . . . . Even the doorway of the Temple, the main door, and the inner doors to the Holy of Holies were overlaid with gold.

Notes on the Scripture

We have switched to Chronicles, as it gives a clearer description of the exterior altar and cleansing vats; and in discussing this critical aspect of the Temple, we are going to try to get a basic understanding of a very complex and confusing subject: Hebrew sacrifice.

The altar outside the Temple was, actually, a huge barbecue grill. This reflects the most central sacrifice of the Old Testament, which is usually translated the “burnt offering”. It was an ancient, pre-Mosaic practice: Noah (Genesis 8:20) and Abraham (Genesis 22:1-13) both made burnt offerings to God. The most common purpose of the burnt offering was to give thanks, which was precisely Noah’s use of it.

temple menorah

The Hebrew adjective is olah(The association of olah with fire-based sacrifices eventually gave us the word holocaust, with its modern meaning of a consuming fire.), which doesn't meant “burnt”, but rather “going up”. One aspect of the offering was the fragrant odor of roast meat combined with smoke, which would rise towards heaven and would please God.

One reason the law concerning sacrifices is so utterly confusing is that they are classified in three different ways: basic method, rules, and purpose. A burnt offering is a basic method, but it was used for different purposes, and the rules for the offering were different depending on the purpose. If it was used for general thanksgiving, it might be also be called a “thanks offering”, or it might just be called a “burnt offering”. A burnt offering for general thanks on behalf of all Israel was made twice a day on the Temple altar.

But one might make a burnt offering for other reasons: some of these include an offering made to atone for the sins of a priest; the termination of a Nazarite’s vows; specific thanks, such as the birth of a child or recovery from skin diseaseNote that in Matthew 8:4, when Jesus heals the leper, he tells him “go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded.”; a “voluntary sacrifice”; and so on.

For each purpose of burnt offering, designated parts of the animal were eaten by the offeror or people; other parts might be eaten by the priests; some parts were burned to ashes. Specific animals were used depending on the purpose: a sin offering for a high priest required a bull without blemish; Passover required a lamb from every family; on the Day of Atonement, one goat (the scapegoat) was filled with the sins of all Israel and released into the wilderness, while the second (perfect) goat was sacrificed.

It gets even worse, because a purpose might require more than one method. The twice-daily thanks offering, as well as a burnt offering of a lamb, also required wine poured into the altar fire (libation offering) and the burning of grain mixed with incense (one type of grain offering). Whereas, if the purpose were to redeem a first son and the family was not rich, only two doves were sacrificed. (This was done for Jesus — Luke 2:22-24.)

Other methods of offering included wave offerings, where the sacrificed item (usually bread) was waved in front of the altar or some other specified part of the Temple; payment of money in compensation of unintentional sin; grain offerings, which ranged from burning grain and incense to cooking unleavened bread, akin to pancakes. Libation offerings; etc.

So, in summary, it is almost impossible to understand all of the offering methods, purposes, and rules, unless one simple wanted to devote several weeks of detailed study. But hopefully this short description conveys a sense of the centrality of sacrificial offering to Hebrew worship, and why Solomon built such a huge cooking altar in the front court of the Temple.

<i>Saying Grace</i> by Jean-Baptiste Chardin, ca. 1720.
Saying Grace by Jean-Baptiste Chardin, ca. 1720. Giving thanks for our food has become considerably less spectacular since the days of Solomon.

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James 4:7: I will submit myself to God and resist the devil, and he will flee from me. I will humble myself before the Lord, and He will exalt me.

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