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Daily Devotion for November 27, 2017


Jonah and the Whale from the Mainz Altar
Carving of five main scenes from the Book of Jonah, made for a sarcophagus in 3d Century Mainz (now in the Vatican Museum)

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.




Prayer for the Day

Holy God, who taught the hearts of all faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit; Grant me by the same Spirit to be guided in my work today, and in my every thought and deed and in everything I say. Let my decisions be wise and holy, and my ears open to your wisdom. And let me always be open to change; unstop my ears and soften my heart, so that I can learn your way better and better every hour of this day. I pray in the name of my beloved Lord, Jesus Christ,

Amen.

Listen, Lord

And now, O Lord—
When I've done drunk my last cup of sorrow—
When I've been called everything but a child of God—
When I'm done traveling up the rough side of the mountain—
O—Mary's Baby—
When I start down the steep and slippery steps of death—
When this old world begins to rock beneath my feet—
Lower me to my dusty grave in peace
To wait for that great gittin'-up morning

Amen.

Meditation

[We are on the “rough side of the mountain.”]


Benediction

Finally, may I go forth filled with the joy and confidence of your Spirit; and may everything I do this day, in word or deed, be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

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.



endless knot

Proverbs 16:7 (NKJV)

When a man’s ways please the Lord,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Blue Latin Cross

Jonah 4:1-4 (ESV)

Jonah’s Anger and the Lord’s Mercy [1]

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.

And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

And the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”


Notes on the Scripture

W

e finally find out why Jonah — a man devoted to God — has been acting with such disobedience. He is a Hebrew and loves his nation. He grew up in a great nation under King Solomon, where the Lord was worshipped and the state stable and strong. But after Solomon’s death, civil war rent Israel into two parts, and the part where Jonah lived — the northern part, the Kingdom of Israel — became wicked, idolatrous, and weak under the leadership of Jeroboam.

Jonah had spent his life preaching and prophesying, trying to bring the Kingdom of Israel back into righteousness, but to no avail. Neither Jeroboam nor enough of the people heeded his prophecy, and his native land was in peril of losing God’s favor.

Assyria, the powerful empire to the north, was an enemy of Israel and a heathen country, where idolatry was state policy. God had no covenant with them. Jonah hated and feared Assyria. So, being told to take his prophetic talents to the Assyrian capital, Nineveh, in order to save it from destruction, went down hard with him. He had to leave his own beloved land, which was in trouble and needed him, and go to Nineveh to help them out instead. No wonder he was reluctant!

And his emotion is so strong, that although he praises God for His mercy, he wants to die.

There is a huge lesson for all of us in Jonah’s story. We form strong attachments to whatever culture we were born into: our community, our state, our language, our nation. Others are the “bad guys.” It is our pride to think that God favors us in our earthly disputes. German belt buckles in WW1 had Gott mit uns — “God with us” — engraved on them.

But this is not God’s will at work; it is our will at work. God’s mercy and love extends to the entire world, including people who do not believe in Christ or people who do not believe in God at all, even atheists and — as in the story of Jonah — worshippers of idols. Their words, actions and beliefs may ultimately condemn them to hell, but judgment is for God; our duty, like Jonah’s, is do whatever we can to help them accept God’s love.

This is a very hard lesson to read. But we do not read the Bible for support of our preconceptions; we read it to learn God’s will, and especially to learn where His will is different from our own.



<i>Jonah and the Whale</i> by Rashid al-Din, ca. 1300.
Jonah and the Whale by Rashid al-Din, ca. 1300. Jonah is shown with the gourd plant.

Daily Inspiration

“Our Allies”

Current Memory Verse     Remember the Bible

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Mark 9:40: He who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.



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