A Devotion for 6 November 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Psalms 63:1-6
6 ¶ Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.)” (Isaiah 55:6-7; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
What is early to each of us? It is the next moment, the next morning, the next day of our lives regardless our present age. David the Psalmist uttered these lines while stranded in the wilderness encompassed about by mortal enemies; yet, in a mature age, he sought the Lord early – as soon as possible.
In our daily struggles, we are also confronted by temptations, wrongs, and hurtful events; and sometimes, we forget that the Lord is right beside us just as He was with Haggar in the wilderness, with Mary Magdalene at the Garden Tomb (11 ¶ But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.), and with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. We must trust in His presence and walk with Him as He walks with us.
We seek the Lord early in prayer. We plead that our eyes be opened that we might see just as did Elisha when he was accosted by the Syrian army at Dothan: “15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” Haggar, too, had her eyes opened to the presence of a fountain in the wilderness. The eyes of the two disciples were opened at the sharing of Bread by the Lord. There are many ways the Lord may open our eyes to know Him and to trust His ever presence with us.
Early, every morning, that we arise from our beds is a reminder of the resurrection from the tomb of our beloved Redeemer. We thank God at first dawn of light for our awakening – not only to life – but to His presence and blessing for us.
Just as the Psalmist sought the Lord early for his relief in the Wilderness, our help will come from on high when help from those on earth fail us. The Lord reveals Himself most often to hearts of love and hands of service. Remember the calling of Matthew, of Peter and John – all responded without question and followed Christ.
It is not possible to do the work of the Lord without His close company because our works of service on the Lord’s behalf is not truly our labors, but the labors of the Lord working in and through us.
There are titles of kings, emperors, princes, presidents, and rulers on earth; but the Christian owns the higher title of ‘Brethren of the Lord.’ He is our Sovereign, our King, our Emperor, our Prince, and our Lord who “sticketh closer than a brother.”
Had Eve sought the Lord in the coolness of the morning instead of hiding from Him naked in the coolness of the evening, what a difference would this old-world experience! Of course, the events of Eden happened in the Prescience of the Lord, our Maker.
Christ died for the Redemption of our souls from Hell. He died for the thief on the cross, in the stead of the murderer Barabbas, and He died for you and me. He allowed Himself to be stripped naked that we might wear the robe of Righteousness which He purchased with His own blood; He wore a crown of thorns that we might wear the crown of glory; and He suffered, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. And He did not lose a single soul whom God the Father placed in His hand.
It was early morning in the Temple when a woman taken in adultery was dragged before the Lord by men who meant her the most harm of all enemies and, yet, these scoundrels brought the woman to the only One who could do her the greatest good – the Lord Jesus Christ. She found the Lord early in the morning of the rest of her earthly life, but the very beginning of her Heavenly salvation.
Each of us should seek the Lord’s face at first light every day and seek His presence with us throughout the day and evening. Even as we sleep, He stands guard over us while we are disarmed and unaware of our surroundings. He is with you at this very moment if you have responded to His call of your name, whether Mary! Or John! Or Betty, or Deborah. No one will ever call your name as Jesus does. His voice will penetrate the cold, stone walls of the tomb at the last trump, and you will arise with new life and joy.