Daily Devotion for August 7, 2022
Although the dead horse in the foreground ties this to the fifth plague, Turner captures the general drama of the plagues of Egypt with his use of scope, contrast, and his trademark tumultuous sky. (Exodus 9:1-7.)
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.
Our “Virtual Sunday Church” today is the Waldsassen Basilica, and our “choir director” is Leonard Bernstein, conducting Mozart’s beautiful Ave Verum Corpus.
(Note: Composers frequently repeat, omit, or put phrases out of order.)
Ave, verum corpus
Cujus latus perforatum
O Iesu dulcis,
For Unity in Sunday Worship
Father of mercy, your love embraces everyone, and through the Resurrection of your Son you call me and all who pray with me into your wonderful light. Dispel our darkness and make us a people with one heart and one voice, forever singing your praise, in Jesus, the Christ, our Lord.
Prayer of Confession
Most merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbors as myself; and I sorrow for these wrongful acts and omissions from the bottom of my heart. I humbly and fully repent all of my misdeeds, and pray that for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, you will have mercy on me and forgive me, not by my merits, but by that grace that He has granted those who confess his name. And I pray that you will be in my heart and walk with me, that I might sin no more.
To Live in Union with Christ
Loving God, I am just beginning to realize how much you love me. Your son, Jesus was humble and obedient. He fulfilled your will for him by becoming human and suffering with us. I ask you for the desire to become more humble so that my own life might also bear witness to you. I want to use the small sufferings I have in this world to give you glory.
Please, Lord, guide my mind with your truth. Strengthen my life by the example of Jesus. Help me to be with Jesus in this week as he demonstrates again his total love for me. He died so that I would no longer be separated from you. Help me to feel how close you are and to live in union with you.
Doxology (Traditional Anglican)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
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.
In Jeremiah 20:7-18, the prophet laments the persecution and mockery he has suffered from preaching God’s Word to Israel.
Psalm 62:5-7 (NKJV)
My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
Romans 11:25-36 (ESV)
The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation
est you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob;
and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”
As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.
For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?” [Isaiah 40:13]
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Notes on the Scripture
We learn, today, the important truth about the relationship of Christ and the Jews under the new covenant. Paul’s explanation is somewhat involved, but it is a good thing to understand, because so many people seem so confused about it.
He begins by telling us why Israel has not fully accepted Christ, why it is “hardened” against the gospel. In a nutshell, Judaism is the price someone had to pay for the salvation of the world; for now, the Jews have become disobedient, by failing to accept Christ.
Rahab, the faithful
God has, however, promised to redeem Israel. Remember, God made promises to them in the Old Testament; they are “beloved for the sake of their forefathers.” So God still loves Israel despite their disobedience. In fact, Paul tells us that God has allowed them to become disobedient, precisely because He intends to show them mercy. He will now let the mercy shown to the Gentiles convince Jews to follow Christ, just as he had previously let the disobedience of the Jews bring mercy in the form of a Jewish Messiah, which was extended to the Gentiles.
When this will occur fully is not answered here. God intends that Israel be saved at some point. Even though Paul tells us in Romans 11, “if they do not continue in their unbelief, [they] will be grafted in [to the vine of life],” he later tells us that “all Israel will be saved.” But we learn, in Revelation 20:4-5, that this will occur late in the Apocalypse. So whatever constitutes “Israel” will be called to Christ and redeemed, shortly before the end of the world.
If all this is somewhat puzzling to us — why would God want someone to be disobedient just so that he can forgive them? — it is somewhat puzzling to Paul himself. At the end of Romans 11, he reminds us that this is God we are dealing with. We do not and cannot “understand” Him.
Also puzzling: Who or what is Israel? Do not assume that the modern State of Israel and Biblical “Israel” are co-extensive. Neither I nor anybody else can say what, exactly, God will consider to be Israel in the end days. I might think observant Jews in New York City are more likely to be included than atheist politicians in the State of Israel; but I don‘t really know. Many Christians think Revelation refers only to Jewish converts to Christianity, but they don’t know, either.
In effect, Paul throws up his hands at trying to explain the mysteries of God. He seems to be overcome by the burden of writing Romans at the end of Chapter 11 and falls down on his knees, to praise God for everything Paul himself cannot understand. He stops trying to explain God and, instead, takes a moment to worship Him for his mystery and the glory.