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Daily Devotion for September 10, 2014


<i>Prophet Isaiah</i> by Marc Chagall, ca. 1968.
Prophet Isaiah by Marc Chagall, ca. 1968.

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Guy Penrod ties his own life to the song The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference.




Prayer for the Morning

Heavenly Father, let me live this day as the gift it is, for You have truly blessed me to live it. And if I may suffer, I will carry with me the certainty that one day I will see You face to face, a day when all things will become clear and my pain will be made whole through the grace of Christ, my God. Blessed be you, oh Lord my God, and blessed be the day you have given me.

Amen.

For Increase in Wisdom

Dear God, I pray that I may proceed with boldness in the few things I know as a certainty, especially that my eternal salvation can come only from Christ Jesus; that He is my Lord and Savior; and that through my repentance of sin and my faith in Him, I will be saved. May I never shrink from your Great Commission, oh Lord, to share the Gospel with the world, so that those with ears to hear it might join me in salvation; for this is your express command to me, and to all Christians.

But also, I pray that my mind might be open and that I may always have an attitude of seeking and learning, for I realize that on many matters I might be wrong and not know it; or there may be wisdom that I do not even realize exists, awaiting discovery, as I live and grow in my walk with you. Give me grace through your Holy Spirit always to seek wisdom, to admit where I have been mistaken, even in attitudes I have held my entire life. Make me fresh every day in your word, Holy God; and let the light of your wisdom shine throughout the world, that we all might grow in our knowledge and love of you, throughout our lives.

Amen.

Meditation

[Give me the grace and humility to admit where I am mistaken.]


Dedication

Holy God, I pray to be filled with your Holy Spirit for the rest of this day. Let me go forth, walking with your Spirit in my heart, that I may be filled with the joy and energy and praise for your entire creation, thankful in the many gifts you have given me, and showing forth your light in my every word and deed. This I pray in Christ's name,

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.



<i>Eve Tempted</i> by George Frederic Watts ca. 1884.
Eve Tempted by George Frederic Watts ca. 1884.

Genesis 3:7 (KJV)

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.


Blue Latin Cross

Habakkuk 2:2, 4, 9, 15-16 (NASB)

Then the Lord answered me and said,

“Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faithfulness.”

“Because you have looted many nations,
All the remainder of the peoples will loot you —
Because of human bloodshed and violence to the land,
To the town and all its inhabitants.

         *         *         *

“Woe to you who make your neighbors drink,
Who mix in your venom even to make them drunk
So as to look on their nakedness!

“You will be filled with disgrace rather than honor.
Now you yourself drink and expose your own nakedness.
The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you,
And utter disgrace will come upon your glory.


Notes on the Scripture

Israel after Solomon (33): Habakkuk’s Second Dialogue with God
(This is a continuation of yesterday's Devotion.)(Also, for reference: Index of O.T. Prophets.)

When Habakkuk demands of God, why He would let the remaining free Jews of Judah and Jerusalem be punished for their sin by a people even more wicked than they — the Chaldeans (rulers of the Babylonian Empire) — God replies that even a worse fate awaits the Chaldeans. He lists five fates or “woes” that will befall Babylon. Two of them are excerpted in today's Scripture.

The first woe is the basic one. The soul of “the proud one” (the Chaldean conqueror who is puffed up by his military conquests) is not right within him. God tells Habakkuk that “the righteous will live by faith” — this is the origin of the famous phrase, repeated so often in the Epistles of Paul. He is criticizing Habakkuk right back, scolding him for his lack of faith and warning him that to lose faith in Him will mean death. But he is also giving a new way of looking at sinfulness, as somehow tainting the soul in such a way that God's wrath will be upon him.

We next see a convention of Hebrew prophecy: God's voice switches to the second person to pronounce His future judgment on Babylon: “Because you have looted many nations . . .”

The paragraphs below the three asterisks give an example of Habakkuk's vivid stylization; the poetry is powerful but difficult to follow, especially in translation and lacking intuitive knowledge of Hebrew cultural values and idioms.

The first of many readings is literal. Picture someone pushing drinks on the neighbors, slipping a drug in the glass, and then looking at them naked and/or having sex with them. Nakedness to the ancient Hebrew evoked a complex range of meaning. Hebrew literature sometimes uses “seeing nakedness” as a euphemism for sexual congress. At other times is means simply seeing someone naked or partly clothed; but this, in itself, was shameful to the Hebrew mind. They saw nakedness as the state of a lower animal. To be naked before anyone other than one's spouse was degrading. Even partly naked people were slaves or prostitutes.

Seeing nakedness is therefore metaphorical. It is to see someone who has been stripped, not only of dignity, but also of humanity. Clothing here represents all that raises mankind above amoral animals — wisdom, self-control, morality, godliness, etc.

Giving wine mixed with “venom” (the meaning of the Hebrew word is unclear) to make neighbors drunk is also metaphor, with a wide range of meaning. It seems to imply an intentional falsehood, calculated to mislead and degrade the recipient. Wine mixed with “venom” can be seen to represent speech mixed with “lies”. Most specifically, it would apply to convincing someone, be it an individual or a nation, that an idol is a true god, and that they should worship Baal instead of Yahweh.

In the case of Judah, the damage is even worse, for it is Yahweh who protects them against conquest. Therefore, convincing them to worship false gods will lead them to the animal state of slavery in the visible world, as well as the state of unrighteousness before God. They will be made naked in another sense, without armor or weapons, defenseless, ripe for military subjugation.

Having done this to Judah, however, the Chaldeans will suffer the same fate they have imposed on other. They, too, will become drunk and naked. The Lord's cup will expose their lies, and they will be disgraced and conquered.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“Illumination”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

1 Peter 3:10: Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile.



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