Daily Devotion for April 14, 2010
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
2 Samuel 2:8-30 (abridged)
War Between the Houses of David and Saul
Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul's army, had taken Saul's son, Ish-Bosheth, and made him king over all Israel. Ish-Bosheth was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David. David ruled over Judah, from the city of Hebron, for seven years and six months.
Abner son of Ner, together with the men of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, went out and met Joab and David's men at the pool of Gibeon. One group sat down on one side of the pool and one group on the other side. Abner said to Joab, "Let's have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us."
So they stood up and were counted off — twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David. Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent's side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim ["Field of Daggers"].
The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by David's men.
The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle. He chased Abner [the commander of Saul's army] turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him. Abner looked behind him and asked, "Is that you, Asahel?" "It is," he answered.
Then Abner said to him, "Turn aside to the right or to the left; take on one of the young men and strip him of his weapons." But Asahel would not stop chasing him. Again Abner warned Asahel, "Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?"
But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel's stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.
Then Joab and Abishai [Asahel's brothers and officers in David's army] pursued Abner, and as the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Ammah, on the way to the wasteland of Gibeon. Then the men of Benjamin [Saul's tribe] rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill. Abner called out to Joab, "Must the sword devour forever? Don't you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their brothers?"
Joab answered, "As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would not have taken up the pursuit of their brothers." So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the men came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel, nor did they fight anymore, and Abner and his men departed across the Jordan.
When Joab returned from pursuing Abner, he assembled all his men. Besides Asahel, nineteen of David's men were found missing. But David's men had killed three hundred and sixty Benjamites who were with Abner. They took Asahel and buried him in his father's tomb at Bethlehem. Then Joab and his men marched all night and arrived at Hebron by daybreak.