Daily Devotion for September 21, 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.
A quiet and pretty prayer from Annie Karto.
I knelt before Him one stormy night
His Face was adorned in a golden light
I felt so unworthy, I want to run and hide
But His gaze was so intense I felt paralyzed
like a river, oh, flood my soul
wash me clean, and make me whole
like a river, oh, flood my soul
wash me clean, and make me whole
His Light was so brilliant It melted me
reaching to the deepest caverns of my soul
I felt so bare, unadorned in His sight
afraid, yet longing to be whole
All I could see, all I could feel
was swept away in a river of His love
I felt so weak, rested in His arms
washed clean, His Gaze now feels so warm
Music and Lyrics by Annie Karto
Prayer for This Day
Holy God, I pray in the name of Christ that you will this day increase my faith in the sweet promises of the Gospel. Give me repentance from dead works. Pardon my wanderings, & direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation. Teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments.
Make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber. But daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life.
Bless my family, friends & kindred; unite us all in praising & glorifying thee in all our works begun, continued, and ended, when we shall come to make our last account before thee blessed Saviour, who hath taught us thus to pray, our Father.
For God’s Peace
Drop thy still dews of quietness till all our strivings cease,
Take from our souls the strain and stress
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.
“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord.”
~ Isaiah 66:9
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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.
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
~ from Awake, my soul, and with the sun by Thomas Ken (1674)
Matthew 5:1-2 (ESV)
Introduction to The Sermon on the Mount
eeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: . . .
Notes on the Scripture
Matthew is the only Gospel that contains the extensive collection of Christ’s teachings known as The Sermon on the Mount. It comprises three full chapters, Matthew 5-7, almost entirely filled with Jesus’ words. (Making it easy to find in red-letter Bibles!) Luke contains some of the same (or nearly the same) quotations, but they are scattered around.
This difference demonstrates the specific aims of Matthew and Luke. Matthew’s primary interest is to present the verbatim teaching of Christ. He wants us to have a primary source document to show us what Christianity is: what we should believe, how we should behave. Luke, on the other hand, was more interested in giving us a history of the life of Christ. To some degree, his Gospel tends more towards setting Christ’s words in the context of his activities.
As it is written, Matthew seems to imply that Jesus spoke the entire content of these three chapters at one sitting. We do not have to take the time frame literally, for it is tangential to the message. It would have been a very long day, especially considering the novelty and difficulty of the material. So we might suspect that Matthew 5-7 is more a compendium of Christ’s important teachings than a verbatim sermon; or that it was delivered over many days; or that it contains some teachings, heard later, that fit so well with the thematic material of the Sermon that integrating them here created a superior lesson.
Or, we might choose to take Matthew absolutely literally. There is much to recommend that approach, also.
In Matthew, only four of the apostles have been called when the Sermon on the Mount is presented. Luke also contains the Beatitudes — the eight or nine statements about “blessings,” so-called because beatitude is a Latin word meaning “blessed.” But in Luke, they occur after all 12 apostles are called. Certainly all of the apostles heard all of Christ’s teachings presented in Matthew 5-7, for he is teaching the future teachers. This raises another possibility, which also makes good sense: Jesus may have repeated various parts of the Sermon on the Mount later in his ministry, possibly many times.
The odd language detailing that Christ sat down and opened his mouth, which seem superfluous, were both conventional to the time. Rabbis would teach while standing and walking, but to make a critical pronouncements, they would sit. The phrase “opened his mouth” was idiomatic, used to relate official or important pronouncements, especially for oracles or for kings making an edict. Christ would have been walking around; when he sat and opened his mouth, it would have silenced the crowd.
The Sermon on the Mount can fairly be called the most important Christian teaching in existence (apart from the doctrine of salvation by grace). It is nothing less than the concentrated memory of many hundred hours of heart-to-heart communion between Jesus and his disciples. To the Jews of the day, it was a radical change in everything they had been taught about the proper relationship of man and God; and to any person not acquainted with Christian dogma, it is mind-bending, counter-intuitive, and utterly contrary to human experience.