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Daily Devotion for November 28, 2015


Abraham, Moses, Isaiah
Abraham, Moses and Isaiah, in the clerestory (row of high windows) of Exeter Cathedral, England.

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.

This old hymn composed, by William R. Featherston in 1846, is performed a capella by the Charity Homeschool Chorus.




Morning Prayer

Lord, I come before you today and I thank You for all the blessings that You have given me. Many times my life is so full of busy work that I neglect my relationship with You: for that I am truly sorry. I know that You never neglect me, for if You did my very life would cease to be. Continue to pull me to Yourself, guide me in my journey, and hold me close in Your bosom until the day I come home to be with You forever. Be with me, and with those who pray with me, for although we are in different places around the world, we gather spiritually in Your name. May we feel your presence among us. In Jesus precious name I pray.

Amen.

Prayer in Times of Low Spirits (from Psalm 42)

Like a deer thirsts for the water of a clear cool stream, my soul thirsts for you, my God. I await with longing the day when I may finally appear before you. I sometimes become unhappy; my spirit becomes downcast, as my enemies deny you and mock me; and yet, always, I discover the joy of your Spirit and turn my face to you, and you heal me.

By day you command my steadfast love, and by night your song comes to me. The wickedness of the world taunts me and evil people put a bullet in my back, saying “Where is your God”? But why are you in turmoil, oh my soul? My hope is in God. I will turn again to you, my Lord, and praise you, my salvation and my God.

Amen.

Meditation

[The wickedness of the world taunts me.]


Closing Prayer

And finally, grant me O Lord, I pray, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in me and shed its light on those around me, and that by its brightness I may share a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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.



Come unto me all ye that labor
Come unto me all ye who labor.

Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (ESV)


Exodus 20 Version of the Sixth Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.

On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.


Deuteronomy 5 Version

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.

On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.

You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.


Notes on the Scripture

The Versions of the Ten Commandments [1]

We are going to take a tangent for a week or two, trying to understand the part of Exodus we have just read, particularly the Ten Commandments.

The Bible is a difficult book to read. People who innocently try to sit down and read it as they would read a modern book find it frustrating and, ultimately, impossible. They misunderstand it. It is not a novel or a contemporary history or text, edited into a reader-friendly narrative flow in vernacular modern English. It is a text 2000 to 3000 years old, written in ancient Greek or, even worse, ancient Hebrew, often under primitive conditions.

We must expect difficulties; we must expect a need to study and learn.

The case in point is the Ten Commandments, which are more difficult to understand than we are led to believe. They are presented no less than four times in the Pentateuch: Exodus 20:1-17, which we have just read; Exodus 34:10-28; Leviticus 19:1-16; and Deuteronomy 5:4-21. None of these four is identical, although they overlap.

The Exodus 20 version is the one popularly called the "Ten Commandments" and posted on courthouse walls (at least for the time being). We do not mean to diminish them in any way, for they represent the Word of God and, unlike much of the Law of Moses, they seem immediately understandable to the modern reader. But this popular version of the "Ten Commandments" is incomplete, simplistic, and taken out of context.

T



o get us started, when we look at the two accounts of the Ten Commandments most nearly identical — Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, written out in today's Scripture — we see another and less harsh dimension to the Sixth Commandment. Although the actual law is identical, the rationale given in Deuteronomy is different. In Exodus 20, it tells us we must rest on the seventh day because God did so when He created earth; but in Exodus 34, the stated rationale is that the listeners had been slaves. It is more humane and less sternly legalistic. We take a day of rest, and give others a day of rest, because we know what it is like to be driven to work like a farm animal.

The Hebrews had been actual slaves; we, who have not experienced slavery ourselves, must use our sense of empathy, our love for others and ourselves, to realize that it is wrong to inflict a life of unremitting toil upon anyone.

As a practical example in modern life, think of fast food restaurants or grocery stores, most of which are now open on Sunday. The people working in these establishments are the modern-day equivalent of our servants. They work cooking our food and serving us our meal.

Should a Christian patronize such establishments on Sunday? We must search our hearts and pray for an answer, for there are powerful reasons not to do so. God's stated law is that the Hebrews not make even a donkey work on the Sabbath. Yes, one might spin out elaborate arguments on the subject, but the bottom line is a law given by God: keep one day in seven holy. Do not work and do not suffer others to work for you.



endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

1 Timothy 6:12 (NLT): Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.



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