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Daily Devotion for October 15, 2015

Exodus, <i>The Israelites Led by the Pillar of Fire</i>, William West
The Israelites Led by the Pillar of Fire, William West (British) ca. 1840.



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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.


prayer for morning (e. e. cummings)

i thank God for most this
day; for the leaping greenly
spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything
which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes


A Prayer of Repentance

O  Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me for all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your Grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


Prayers for Those Torn by Alcohol and Drugs

I  pray, O God of hope, for all persons and families whose lives are torn and disrupted by drugs and alcohol. Enable them to identify the illness. Strengthen them to seek help. Bless them with the power of your love, which imparts transformation and wholeness to those who trust in your name. Grant that as they walk this tortured road, they may journey together, bound close together in the bond of love. Shine your light upon them, Lord Christ, that they may see the path out of their misery, and give them the strength to follow it.



[Love is an action.]


Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.


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


A quiet morning with a loving God puts the events of the upcoming day into proper perspective.

~ Janette Oke

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 13:21-22 (ESV)

Pillars of Cloud and Fire

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.

Exodus Map - Hammond   Exodus Map 2

Notes on the Scripture

The Difficult Shift to Monotheism

Although the text speaks of two "pillars", it would be more accurate (if less poetic) to say that God manifested Himself as one pillar that changed appearance. Later, it is described as "an angel", which is to say, God creating a representation of Himself perceptible to human senses. The pillar changes appearance not only to remain visible, but also, to represent comfort against the elements: cloud, associated with cool shade and rain, during the hot day, and fire, representing light and heat in the dark and cold desert night.

Not that God is approachable or actually provides cover and physical comfort; the pillar is not in the midst of the horde, but always in the distance showing them the direction of travel. It is a living promise of comfort to come, if they will only follow.


ven more important than a directional beacon, though, is the constant presence of God. He is with them. The actual God is differentiating Himself from the gods of Egypt. To the Egyptian, like all the ancients, the gods and goddesses were fickle, capricious beings, often bickering and fighting among themselves, and absorbed with their own existence. Although powerful, they occupied space and time; one needed to catch their attention and hope that one might convince them to use their power helpfully.

The concept of a loving and constant God was difficult to grasp. Pharaoh cannot grasp it, at all; his behavior, which seems so irrational to us, becomes more coherent when we understand that he expects this slave god to tire of the game and wander off at some point.

And the same fear lies in the minds of the Hebrews. What will become of them if this Yahweh simply disappears? Their belief is fragile, so God nurses it along and forgives them their many doubts. And to help them, He stays with them 24/7, as if they are newborns. The pillar is not a reminder sent by God, however; it is God Himself, made manifest.

(Note: Those of you who have been with us for a while might recognize Tobias and the fish, in the illuminated “E” above. In the Book of Tobit, Tobias, his son, is attacked by a fish, which he kills; he later burns the fish’s heart and liver to drive a demon out of his beloved, Sarah, on their wedding night.)

Exodus, Pillar of Fire and Cloud
Pillar of Fire and Cloud, design for stained glass by David Ascalon.

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Memory Verse

Jude 1:7 (ESV): Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, served as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

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