Daily Devotion for July 29, 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.
An inventive song based on the Apostles’ Creed, written by Rich Mullins and performed here by Third Day.
“I believe what I believe; it’s who I am. I did not make it; it is making me. It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man.”
Prayer for Morning
Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praises; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee.
To Awaken in Christ’s Body
I awaken in Christ’s body as Christ awakens my body, and my poor hand is Christ. He enters my foot, and is infinitely me. I move my hand, and wonderfully my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him (for God is indivisibly Whole, seamless in His Godhood). I move my foot, and at once He appears like a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous? Then I must open my heart to You and let myself receive the One who is opening to me so deeply. For if I genuinely love You, I wake up inside Your body where all my body, all over, every most hidden part of it, is realized in joy as You, and You make me utterly and real. Everything that is hurt, everything that seemed to me dark, harsh, shameful, maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged, is in You transformed and recognized as whole, as lovely, and radiant in Your light.
Awaken, Beloved Son of God, in every last part of my body.
For Those in Need of Strength
I pray, Lord, for all who will need strength and courage in the day ahead: For those who face danger. For those who risk themselves for others. For those who must make an important decision today. For people who are seriously ill. For those facing persecution or torture. I ask you, Lord, to give them the power of your Spirit,
“God judges a person not by the point they have reached, but by the way they are facing; not by distance, but by direction.”
As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
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.
Wounded for Others
Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages are your most effective ministry.
~ Rich Warren, from The Purpose Driven Life
Exodus 29 (ESV)
Consecration of the Priests
ow this is what you shall do to them to consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests. Take one bull of the herd and two rams without blemish, and unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers smeared with oil. You shall make them of fine wheat flour. You shall put them in one basket and bring them in the basket, and bring the bull and the two rams.
You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting and wash them with water. Then you shall take the garments, and put on Aaron the coat and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastpiece, and gird him with the skillfully woven band of the ephod. And you shall set the turban on his head and put the holy crown on the turban. You shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him. Then you shall bring his sons and put coats on them, and you shall gird Aaron and his sons with sashes and bind caps on them.
And the priesthood shall be theirs by a statute forever. Thus you shall ordain Aaron and his sons.”
(Note: Excerpts are given here. If you want to read all of Exodus 29, click the link or go to your own Bible.)
Notes on the Scripture
Israel was a partial theocracy: an established (and in this case, hereditary) priesthood was central to society and government. Secular government would not evolve into monarchy for well over a thousand years; Moses would be followed by judges, and Joshua by great generals. It was rather like the government of Iran today, in many ways.
Where priests exercise political power, the priesthood seems inevitably to become corrupted by it. We will see this already occurring as early as 1 Samuel and, by the time of Jesus, the Hebrew priesthood is heavily entangled with the Herodian dynasty.
To stray into general speculation, one might say that this endemic corruption, rather than genuine theological issues, lay at the base of the Reformation, for much of what reformers and Protestants found truly intolerable was not the fundamental theology of the Catholic Church, but rather the Church leaders’ abuse of theology in grasping for personal power and wealth.
For example, around 1500, one of the greatest sources of money for Rome was the selling of divorces. Few people, at least at that time, objected to the Church’s refusal to dissolve a marriage and its power to investigate and find if there were grounds for annulment. What was intolerable was that the investigations’ outcomes were fraudulent; rich aristocrats and royalty would pay huge sums to have grounds for annulment of an unsatisfactory marriage fabricated by Church powers; and at least some of this money would go into the pockets of individuals in the Church hierarchy.
Once the revolution of the Reformation began, it ran to extremes, and the pomp and glitter of Catholic worship was rejected along with the rest of Catholic and Orthodox doctrine. The Anabaptists (today’s Amish and Mennonites) and Puritans formed their churches at the opposite extreme. In fact, some Old Order Amish today will pick preachers by drawing lots and have no church buildings at all; and when a community has a church, it will contain no altar or ornament, not even a cross on the wall.
Given the life and teachings of Christ, it is impossible to find fault with such an approach. But the more liturgical approach cannot be faulted, either, when one reads God’s will for worship presented in Exodus. God Himself ordained a priesthood for the Hebrews, to stand as ordained and sanctified men to perform the rituals required for their worship.
But why would God ordain an institution that would fail? This is the message of Christ: the endemic corruption of mortal man and, thus, the futility of justification by works. As human beings, we cannot become perfect. It is only by the sacrifice of Christ and the grace of God that we can become flawless and stand, one day, before God’s full glory.