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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 November 2, 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.


Prayer for the Day

Lord, may I always remember that no matter the day and whatever hardship I face, you are with me, extending your hand in love. Help me to be open to your guidance, knowing that you want what is best for me, only asking in return sorrow for my sins and my willingness to do good. In Christ's name I pray,


Ancient Prayer of Praise

Holy is God, the Father of all;
Holy is God, whose will is accomplished by his own powers;
Holy is God, who wills to be known and is known by his own.

Holy art thou, who by Logos has constituted all existing things;
Holy art thou, of whom all nature was born as the image;
Holy art thou, whom nature has not formed;
Holy art thou, who art more mighty than all power;
Holy art thou, who art greater than all eminence;
Holy art thou, who art superior to all praises.


Prayer to Love Others Today

Oh holy Christ, who has commanded us to love others as ourselves, and not to judge others, but to look to our own sins rather than criticizing our fellow man; I pray you to keep your words in my heart when others offend me, for they may fly from my mind when I am gripped by emotion. Many times I judge, many times I feel anger at others, many times I look down upon someone. And even when I show a smile, my heart may yet be filled with sin, anger and malice and jealousy.

I pray to you, mighty Christ, burn your love on my heart. Let me never forget the beauty and peace of loving my fellow man. Help me be sincere in choosing good over evil. Let me seek my glory in you, Lord Christ, instead of in my own image. Soften my heart so that I feel true sympathy, and so I value others just as I do myself.

May your Holy Spirit, who is with me, guide me in everything I think and do, this day and always.



[How does emotion drive me to sin?]

Parting Prayer

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip me with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in me what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be 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.

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 17:13-16 (ESV)

Israel Defeats Amalek [2]

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.”

Exodus Map - Hammond   Exodus Map 2

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 for 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 Amaleks 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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