Daily Devotion for February 5, 2017
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.
comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision,
offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever,
'twixt that darkness and that light.
By the light of burning martyrs,
Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,
Toiling up new Calv'ries ever
with the cross that turns not back;
New occasions teach new duties,
time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward,
who would keep abreast of truth.
Hymn Before Prayer
I bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who purchased me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
In friendship and affection.
Through Thine own Anointed One, O God,
Bestow upon us fullness in our need:
Love towards God,
The affection of God,
The smile of God,
The wisdom of God,
The grace of God,
The fear of God,
And the will of God
To do on the world of the Three,
As angels and saints do in heaven;
Each shade and light,
Each day and night,
Each time in kindness,
Give Thou us Thy Spirit.
Sunday Prayer to Christ
Oh Christ, you are continually worshiped in heaven and on earth, in all times and at all hours; you are patience, compassion and mercy; you love the righteous, you have mercy on sinners, and you call all men to salvation, promising them all things to come: Receive my prayers, this Sunday, as I celebrate Your resurrection; make my life conform to your will; sanctify my soul and body, order my thoughts, and give me victory in all trials and sadness, both today and in the week to come; protect me and bless me, and all of those who worship you this day, so that we may come to unity of faith and knowledge of your glory. For you live and reign, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God now and forever,
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, I confess that I have sinned against your Holy Word. I pray that you will now fulfill in me and in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Finally, may I go forth filled with the joy and confidence of your Spirit; and may everything I do this day, in word or deed, be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
For He will speak peace
To His people and to His saints;
But let them not turn back to folly.
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.
Genesis 14:1-12 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham 
In the days of . . . Chedorlaomer king of Elam [and three other kings], these kings made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, [and three other kings]. And all these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated . . . all the country . . . .
Then the king of Sodom . . . went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim with Chedorlaomer king of Elam . . . four kings against five.
Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country. So the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot, the son of Abram's brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way.
Notes on the Scripture
mitted from our Scripture today are long strings of names of kings and kingdoms who fought in this battle, called the Battle of the Valley of Siddim. Chedorlaomer, the king of Elam, had put together a coalition of Mesopotamian city-states to invade and conquer their neighbors. One of their conquests was the city-states of the Jordan Valley, which had been paying tribute for 12 years.
Today's Scripture describes a rebellion again them by a coalition of five city-states in the Jordan Valley, led by Bera, the king of Sodom. (You can see all the names, if you want, in Genesis 14. These were all very early city-states, just at the dawn of the rise of great empires; outside the Bible, information on them is spotty and, of the names, only Elam is clearly known to archeology.
To understand just how small the scope of these early city states, tomorrow's scripture will have Abram raising an army of 318 men to fight the four kings in the Elam confederation.
The first civilizations grew up around rivers, and the two at war here are no exception. The "kings" were one step up from great tribal chieftains, the leaders of infant civilizations which had built a small cities with masonry walls. The invaders came from one of the cradles of civilization, the Tigris-Euphrates Valley.
The Jordan River is much smaller and thus capable of feeding fewer people. It does not even empty into the ocean; it is entirely an inland river. Its headwaters are in the hills north of the Sea of Galilee; from Galilee, it flows south, picking up a few small tributaries, and terminates in a great depression: the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, a great hole in the ground partially filled by water from the Jordan.
The Valley of Siddim is another name for the Jordan Valley, and the Salt Sea is now called the Dead Sea.
Bitumen is the same substance found in the La Brea Tar Pits, a naturally occurring asphalt. When it bubbles aboveground, it forms a black, hot, sticky trap for the unwary. It seems rather stupid of the native inhabitants to be caught in these, rather than the invaders, but that's what happened.