Daily Devotion for July 24, 2021
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.
Saturday is “Oldies Day,” but that covers a huge range. This hymn harkens back to the Anabaptist persecution and is sung in their style (a capella, with complex vocal harmony) by the Antrim Mennonite choir.
A Prayer of St. Basil the Great
I bless you, O God most high and Lord of mercies, who forever works great and mysterious deeds for me, glorious, wonderful, and numberless; who provides me with sleep as a rest from my infirmities and as a repose for my body tired by labor. I thank you that you have not destroyed me in my transgressions, but in your love toward mankind you have raised me up, as I lay in despair, that I may glorify your majesty.
I entreat your infinite goodness, enlighten the eyes of my understanding and raise up my mind from the heavy sleep of indolence; open my mouth and fill it with your praise, that I may unceasingly sing and confess you, who is God glorified in all and by all, the eternal Father, the only-begotten Son, and the all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
To Be Filled of the Spirit
Heavenly Father, fill me with Your Spirit until I am overflowing, as the sun is filled with light, until it spills out of me and illuminates everything it my path. Crowd out the flawed thoughts of my mind with your truth and wisdom; put so much of your knowledge and fear in my heart that there is no longer room for the seductive lies of this world. Comfort me in my pain, convict me in my transgressions, guide me when I am tested. Fill my being with energy and focus to spread your word and do your will, and, with the salvation of your grace through Jesus Christ, this will be enough for me.
For Those Praying with Me
Heavenly Father, there are people praying with me, right now, whom I will never meet. I don’t know their names, or what country they live in, or what they may look like, but I will know their souls, for we are brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that we might be united in the Holy Spirit, and that I will know and feel the kinship and love, in my spirit, of those who share these prayers with me.
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What Bible verse tells us to trust God’s Word more than we trust our own minds?
What is Faith?
Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.
~ Max Lucado
Exodus 27 (ESV)
The Bronze Altar
ou shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits broad. The altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits.
And you shall make horns for it on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze. You shall make pots for it to receive its ashes, and shovels and basins and forks and fire pans. You shall make all its utensils of bronze. You shall also make for it a grating . . . .
The Court of the Tabernacle
You shall make the court of the tabernacle. On the south side the court shall have hangings of fine twined linen a hundred cubits [about 150 feet] long for one side. Its twenty pillars and their twenty bases shall be of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. . . .
Oil for the Lamp
You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel.
Excerpts are given here. If you want to read all of Exodus 27, click the link or go to your own Bible.
Notes on the Scripture
The altar was fundamentally a barbecue grill almost eight feet square. At different times and in different ways, the Old Testament teaches both the Hebrews and us an important, and often difficult, truth: God gave us life and He will take this life away. Our lives on earth are called “mortal” because they are temporary; God ends mortal human life as He wills, and the Old Testament gives many instances.
Our eternal lives are a gift of love, and meant to be permanent. But if we have sinned, the only way God will allow us to live is by redemption: something must die in our place. This may not make complete sense, it might not be how we would do things, we might not think it is fair — but there you have it. One of the great themes of the Old Testament is redemption by substitution. God decrees that the Hebrews may offer the life of an animal to redeem their own life.
The laws of sacrifice are often quite specific. Some offerings to God are sacrifices for redemption, although some are simply gifts of thanks. In most cases, either the person making the sacrifice or the priests, or both, are allowed to eat part of the sacrifice, to share with God a meal of joy that the offeror’s life has been redeemed.
Moreover, we see that worship is a community function. The primary worship is not done at home by an individual or family, but in public. There is one central altar for sacrifice. It is located in a great courtyard in front of the Tabernacle proper, to accommodate a crowd.
Finally, God never sleeps and His door is never closed. A lamp inside the Tabernacle was lit with the purest olive oil, to produce the cleanest flame they could manage. It was the duty of the priests — Aaron and his sons — to make sure that the lamp never went out at night. This symbolized that God’s light was upon the Hebrew people at all times, from the sun by day and a special lamp by night, just as the light of His spirit is now upon us without ceasing.