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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 April 11, 2015

<i>Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse</i> by Victor Vasnetsov ca. 1887.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Victor Vasnetsov ca. 1887.



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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.


Our Saturday Oldie is actually a recent video, but the Blind Boys got their start singing to Army units in WW2.

Prayer for God to Dwell with Us Today

Holy Jesus, who has promised that if we love you, you and the Father will love us and come to us and make your home with us, I give you my love without reservation. Your words are sacred and I aspire to live by them, this day and always, and I glorify you for your sacrifice of pain and death, made out of your love for us, that all who follow you might find salvation and eternal life.

Bless me this day to live with your Spirit, to resist temptation to evil, and to show your joy and love to all. Make your home with me, that I might be truly blessed, I pray,


Prayer for All Who Have Injured Me

O  Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us; remember the fruits we have bought, thanks to this suffering — our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this, and when they come to judgment, let all the fruits which we have borne be their forgiveness.


Prayer for the Departed

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend the souls of your servants departed from this life and beseech you to grant them rest in the place of your rest, where all the blessed repose, and where the light of your countenance shines forever.

And I pray also to grant that my present life may be godly, sober, and blameless, that I too may be made worthy to enter into your heavenly Kingdom with those I love but see no longer: for you are the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Repose of your departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto you I ascribe all glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages.



[We will be with our loved ones again.]


Oh God Almighty, send me Your light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may Your mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.


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.

Moses, Aaron and Hur at the Battle of Rephidim, Exodus
Rephidim by John Dubrow, ca. 2003. Hur, shirtless and powerful, stands in the center supporting Moses' right arm, with Aaron seated on the other side.

Psalm 90:1-4 (NKJV)

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

You turn man to destruction,
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 17:8-16 (ESV)

Israel Defeats Amalek [2]

Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner, saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

Notes on the Scripture

One of the most difficult concepts for a modern Christian to grasp is the distinction between the value of human life, as presented in the Bible, and the value of human life as accepted by contemporary liberal humanism. The feeling that human life is the highest and greatest good derives from Christian doctrine, but it is subtly different from Christian truth.

Christianity teaches us not to kill other people because Christ, the human manifestation of God, told us to love and forgive one another for all things. But we do not revere other people because human life is intrinsically sacred; we revere it because God has commanded us to do so. The secular humanist makes man into his god. He has absorbed the teaching of Christ, but then taken Christ out of the equation.

The reason for making this distinction at this point is that, in today's lesson, God instructs the Israelites to destroy the Amalek. The battle itself is one of self-defense; but the subsequent instruction to the Hebrews is one of holy war. This will become clearer and more pronounced as the Old Testament unfolds. We must always remember that God creates His covenant with us; and under His covenant with the Hebrews, “The Lord is a man of war.” (Exodus 15:1-4)

Ikon of Joshua, Russian
Russian icon
of Joshua

The battle at Rephidim is a major turning point, for although God destroyed a huge Egyptian army in the Red Sea, the Hebrews were passive observers; in fact, they were running away. Here, however, it is Hebrew men fighting under God's standard who defeat the Amalek. The Amalek do not drown; they are slain by Jewish swords.

Moses builds an altar and gives it a name that refers directly to his staff, the staff of Yahweh, which had been held over his head throughout the battle. The ESV calls it “The Lord is my Banner”, but “Standard” might be a better word; it refers to the flag or pole representing an army. And unlike, say, the standards of a Roman legion, Moses' staff is a “hand upon the throne of the Lord.”

God instructs Moses to perform two other notable acts. First, to write down the events in a book. That humanity is expected to read this book is self-evident although, unlike the Passover instructions, the duty to read is not stated.

Secondly, Moses is to recite into the ears of Joshua that “I will utterly blot out the memory of the Amalek . . . .” This is where it becomes important to understand why we value human life; for Joshua, with God's instruction, will slay entire tribes.

At this point, it is not at all clear how important Joshua is. Unlike the extensive background on Moses, we know nothing about Joshua. That God singles him out for Moses' prophesy is our first indication of Joshua's greatness. He has, in fact, been chosen by God, just as Moses was, but for a different purpose.

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Memory Verse

Matthew 22:37-40: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

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