Daily Devotion for April 25, 2017
Mosaic of scenes from the life of Abraham, Basilica di San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy.
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.
John Doe singing Bob Dylan’s best-known Christian song, Pressing On
Well I'm pressing on
Yes, I'm pressing on
Well I'm pressing on
To the higher calling of my Lord.
Many try to stop me, shake me up in my mind,
Say, "Prove to me that He is Lord, show me a sign."
What kind of sign they need when it all come from within,
When what's lost has been found, what's to come has already been?
Shake the dust off of your feet, don't look back.
Nothing now can hold you down, nothing that you lack.
Temptation's not an easy thing, Adam given the devil reign
Because he sinned I got no choice, it run in my vein.
Words and Music by Bob Dylan
Puritan Prayer for the Morning
O God, the author of all good, I come to You for the grace another day will require for its duties and events. I step out into a wicked world; I carry about with me an evil heart. I know that without You I can do nothing, that everything with which I shall be concerned, however harmless in itself, may prove an occasion of sin or folly, unless I am kept by Your power.
Hold me up O God and I shall be safe. Preserve my understanding from subtlety of error, my affections from love of idols, my character from stain of vice, my profession from every form of evil.
May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore Your blessing, and in which I cannot invite Your inspection. Prosper me in all lawful undertakings, or prepare me for disappointments. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with food suitable for me, lest I be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or be poor, and steal, and take Your name in vain.
May every creature be made good to me by prayer and Your will. Teach me how to use the world and not abuse it, to improve my talents, to redeem my time, to walk in wisdom toward those without, and in kindness to those within, to do good to all men, and especially to my fellow Christians. And to You, O God, be the glory.
For Those in Need of Strength
I pray, Lord, for all who will need strength and courage in the day ahead: For those who face danger. For those who risk themselves for others. For those who must make an important decision today. For people who are seriously ill. For those facing persecution or torture. I ask you, Lord, to give them the power of your Spirit,
Community of Prayer
I pray to you, dearest Jesus, for all the graces I need to know you, to love you and serve you faithfully unto death, and to save my soul. Give me a tender and fervent devotion to your sacred passion by which I was redeemed, venerating you each day in prayer, and teach me how to unite sorrows and sufferings of my life with your own.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What verse tells us to trust what the Bible says more than what we think?
But envy is rottenness to the bones.
Genesis 24:1-9 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham  - Rebekah
ow Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh, that I may make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”
The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?”
Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, 'To your offspring I will give this land,' he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.
But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.
Notes on the Scripture
The chapters of Genesis, more than most of the books of the Bible, indicate important breaks. Here we have again both skipped a period of time and truly started a new “chapter” in Abraham's life.
We learned much earlier in Abraham's story that, if he had not had a son, his inheritance would have passed to the senior responsible person in his household; his household has many aspects that are more tribal than familial. It is an independent unit, and leadership would pass to someone within the unit. The situation is very different from our modern lives, in an established state, where his property would pass to a close (or even distant) family member living elsewhere.
But Abraham does have an heir, and he does not want to mingle his bloodline with the hodgepodge of peoples between Iraq and Egypt, whom he collectively calls Canaanites. He has a special reason to avoid assimilation; Isaac is to father an entire nation, which is to possess all of Canaan. To accomplish this, he must keep his bloodline clearly distinguished. But Isaac is a solitary Chaldean, surrounded by a multitude of Canaanites, and assimilation will be quite difficult to avoid.
Abraham is, in other words, the first Jew.
To accomplish his mission, he turns to his senior servant. Speaking again in terms of a “tribe”, this servant isn't like a butler; he is like a steward or chief officer of the household, a second-in-command, the person who is first in line to inherit the household if Abraham did not have a son.
Abraham is fairly confident that God's angel will guide his servant to the right woman, who will return with him. But notice, under no circumstances is Isaac to return to Ur. The fundamental and primary mission, under the covenant between Abraham and God, is for Isaac to inhabit and populate Canaan with his offspring.