Daily Devotion for April 28, 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.
The magnificent chorus “And the Glory of the Lord” from Handel’s Messiah, led by the great choral conductor, Robert Shaw. The text is Isaiah 40:5.
For Joy Among the Children of God
Heavenly Father, you take no pleasure in wickedness and evil has no place in your kingdom; the boastful will not stand in your sight. You hate all the workers of evil. You destroy those who lie and defraud; you abhor the bloodthirsty and deceitful.
Bless me that I will not be among them, for I would come into your house in the multitude of your mercy. In fear of you and in the hope of mercy, I worship you. Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness. Make Your way straight before my face. Let all those rejoice who put their trust in you; let them shout for joy, because you defend them; those who love your name, grant them mercy and joy.
And evermore let your word spread throughout the world, and make me your servant in this task. In Christ's name, I pray,
Prayer for Physical Renewal
Lord, I come before you today in need of your healing hand. In you, all things are possible. Hold my heart within yours, and renew my mind, body, and soul.
I am lost, but I am singing. You gave me life, and you also give me the gift of infinite joy. Give me the strength to move forward on the path you've laid out for me. Guide me towards better health, and give me the wisdom to identify those you've placed around me to help me get better. In your name I pray,
[God will give me the strength to move forward.]
Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)
Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Abraham's Servant Meeteth Rebekah, by James Tissot, ca. 1898.
You cannot help but enjoy the way Tissot depicts Rebekah as a lovely, confident, and rather saucy young girl. Abraham's servant is at her feet in more way than one. Lucky Isaac!
Psalm 89:30-32 (NKJV)
If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,
If they break My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,
Then I will punish their transgression with the rod,
And their iniquity with stripes.
Genesis 24:15-21 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham  - Rebekah
Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, came out with her water jar on her shoulder.
The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up.
Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water to drink from your jar.” She said, “Drink, my lord.” And she quickly let down her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink.
When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels.
The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether the Lord had prospered his journey or not.
Notes on the Scripture
he narrative of yesterday and today is fairly straightforward. Abraham's servant has traveled from Hebron to the region of Ur in southwest Mesopotamia, from which Abraham came, to find a girl to marry Isaac. He prays to God that the girl he asks will offer him water and that this will be a sign that she is the one; it seems like a college mixer, with the servant praying that the girl he likes will dance with him. (Luckily for Isaac, the servant picks a pretty one!)
It is no easy task to water the camels. The girl must walk down stairs and fill a heavy earthen jar, perhaps three gallons at a trip, then carry it up the stairs. Camels that have just taken a long trip are the thirstiest animals on earth, and there are ten of them. Notice the expression, “she let down her jar”; it is sufficiently heavy that she must carry it on her shoulder or head.
This is Rebekah, destined by her hard work and beauty to become the mother of the Jews. She is the granddaughter of Nahor, Abraham's brother, and thus Isaac's first cousin. The custom of the region was for men to take two wives, or a “wife” and a “concubine”. Even Abraham, remember, had gotten a child by Hagar, his wife's servant. No doubt, the custom of bigamy made this easier for Sarah to swallow.
Genealogies of the time almost never named women. If you wonder why Rebekah's father, Bethuel, is called the “son of Milcah” (his mother), this odd bigamist culture is the reason. Children of second wives were not the outcast bastards of later eras — Ishmael could have inherited Abraham's estate — but neither were they quite as respected as the children of the wife or first wife. This seems odd to us today, when we are accustomed to reading about the struggles of Henry VIII, say, to have a son by his wife to inherit his crown, even though he had plenty of bastard sons running around.
But there is no hint of a question about Rebekah's lineage. She is just what Abraham wanted. Now, it is up to the servant to close the deal. One can well imagine that Rebekah might not jump at the prospect of moving so far from home, into a turbulent and often lawless area she has never seen, to marry a man she has never met.