Daily Devotion for November 26, 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.
Another Thanksgiving hymn, which we didn’t have room for yesterday. We can never have too much thanks!
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God's own field,
fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.
For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
giving angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.
Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest home.
Text: Henry Alford, 1810-1871
Tune: “St. George’s Windsor” by George J. Elvey, 1816-1893
For the Presence of God
O God, be present with me always, dwell within my heart. With thy light and thy Spirit guide my soul, my thoughts, and all my actions, that I may teach thy Word, that thy healing power may be in me and in all the saints of thy church universal.
To Serve Christ
Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous;
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not heed the wounds,
To toil and not seek for rest,
To labor and not to seek reward,
Save that of knowing that I do your will.
“When God put a calling in your life, He already factored in your stupidity.”
Benediction (from Colossians 3)
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me all this day; and whatever I do in word or deed, may I do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
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.
Pearls Before Swine
Do not lower the standard or cater to the worldly laxness of the average Christian by making the way in easy. Make sure that everyone who joins fully understands his duties and obligations and is willing, in Christ’s strength, to undertake them.
~ Isabella Alden
Matthew 7:6 (NKJV)
Sermon on the Mount - Pearls Before Swine
Do not give what is holy to the dogs;
nor cast your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them under their feet,
and turn and tear you in pieces.
Notes on the Scripture
Up until this point, the Sermon on the Mount has generally presented long sections of teachings tied together with a unifying theme. Chapter six has two sections: The first deals with worshipping in our hearts out of love of God, rather than in public for the benefit of our public image; the second, with serving God rather than the things of this world.
Napoleon, the pig king
Orwell's Animal Farm
Chapter 7 is choppier than 5 or 6; like the Book of Proverbs, one teaching may have little direct relationship to those before or after it. Today’s verses do not build upon or follow from 7:1-6, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” In fact, they are contrary in tone, since one must discern people not worthy of a gift; and Christ analogizes them to dogs and pigs!
Verse 6 is structured in the poetic parallel form of a proverb; if you popped this Scripture into the middle of Proverbs, it would fit perfectly. To the Jews, this would be a poem of four lines. The first line makes a statement, then the second line restates it, a “direct parallelism.” Direct parallelism is the basic and most frequent poetic device in the Old Testament: Think of Psalm 23:2, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”
The third and fourth lines are also directly parallel. But there is also a “following parallel” or “consequential parallel” between the first two lines and the second two lines, another common technique. To see another example of a “consequential parallel,” we need look no further than Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” The Lord is our Shepherd; as a consequence, we shall not want.
The application of the verse, in real life, needs discussion. It comes directly after we have been subjected to powerful commandments not to judge our fellow man. So what does it mean, since it encourages us to compare some people to pigs or dogs?
First off, it does not direct us to stop spreading the Gospel. Christ was criticized for personally teaching, and taking meals with, Gentiles and sinners (Matthew 9:10); Matthew himself was a tax collector!
When later in the book, Christ sends his disciples out into the world for their first mission trips, He will restate today’s advice a bit less colorfully; if people don’t listen to you, “shake the dust off your feet.” (Matthew 10:14-18).
The demand not to judge others remains in effect; we are ourselves sinners, just as the “dogs and swine”; and furthermore, we cannot feel pride in our salvation. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8)
What the verse tells us, then, is although we do not judge those who refuse to listen to a Christian message, we are not expected to teach those who ridicule what we say; there is a limit to how hard one must push a non-Christian towards the Gospel. If someone is not interested . . . move along!
Finally, these verses intimate, for the first time, the impossibly difficult theological concept of predestination, and the paradox of election versus free will. There are apparently people who cannot receive the Word of God. By the same token, though, we cannot know who they are; we can only seek to lead them to Christ, and if they reject us, move on to greener pastures, hoping they will change in the future.