Daily Devotion for June 15, 2010
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 Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
May those who seek my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.
May those who say to me, "Aha! Aha!" turn back because of their shame.
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, "Let God be exalted!"
Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.
Now therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, "It is being given into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence": See, I am going to gather them from all the lands to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation; I will bring them back to this place, and I will settle them in safety. They shall be my people, and I will be their God.
I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for all time, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them, never to draw back from doing good to them; and I will put the fear of me in their hearts, so that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing good to them, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.
Notes on the Scripture
Jeremiah was a prophet who lived in a small town just outside Jerusalem in the 7th Century B.C., when the land was ruled by King Josiah of Judah. The great Temple of Solomon was the center of Judaism, but the Jews gradually came to rely more and more on the ritual and worship in the Temple to please God, and less on following God's word in their daily lives.
Jeremiah constantly warned the Hebrews of terrible things to come. His prophecies were so powerful that his name is remembered today in the English word "jeremiad", which means a long speech of lamentation, often combined with a dire warning. He was constantly harrassed by the kings of Judah, and his propehcies were burned at least once. In the end, however, Jeremiah's predictions came true. The Babylonians conquered Jersusalem, burned the Temple to the ground, and enslaved the Hebrew people; many of them were taken as slaves to Babylonia (known as the "Babylonian captivity").
The verse today explains why God allowed this to happen. God was punishing the Hebrews in order to save them. They had become complacent, taking God's blessing for granted. God withdrew his blessing, so that they would give him proper fear and respect. But His intention all along was that they would learn their lesson and that he would restore them to their homeland in peace and safety, because He "rejoice[d] in doing good to them".
The reading applies to our daily lives today as much as it did to the Hebrews 2700 years ago. God loves us and loves to do us good. We are undone because of our own sin, and none of us is free of sin. God does allow terrible things to happen to "good" people, but only so that they might know the true cost of sinfulness before they stray too far from Him and become liable for eternal judgment.
A Coptic Cross, drawn by Egyptian student Andrew Fanous