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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Daily Devotion for June 22, 2017

<i>Dante’s Vision of Leah and Rachel</i>, by Marie Spartali Stillman, 1887.
Dante’s Vision of Leah and Rachel, by Marie Spartali Stillman, 1887. (See Full-size.) This work is clearly tied to the Rossetti painting, below, both by style and by subject matter.



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Lord's Prayer

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.


Patty Griffin in a quiet old country gospel tune.

Prayer to Walk with Christ Today

Dear Heavenly Father, I am learning to understand what your Word says. Yet so often I simply hear it or read it and think about applying it, but get no further. I want to do it and intend to do it Lord, but it is gone from my mind so easily. I am deceiving myself if I simply hear it and do not make it a part of my life.

Please help me today to take one truth and apply it to my circumstances. Oh blessed Holy Spirit, nudge me, remind me throughout my day, again and again, for I know I will find freedom in obedience to your Word. I pray, show me what I need to focus on, right now and wherever the day might take me.

Change my vision. Embolden me to practice what you reveal to me, for I am confident of the blessings that come from life in harmony with your Word. My life is yours: I give it to you, of my own free will, and pray you to take it up and show me your path. In the name of Jesus, I pray this with all my heart,


To Witness to God’s Love

Dear Heavenly Father, I lower my head before you and confess that I have too often forgotten that I am your child. Too often, I carry on my life as if you do not exist, falling far short of being a bold witness to You. For this, I ask your forgiveness, and I pray that you will give me strength, courage, a clear mind and an open heart when you call upon me to witness to your mighty love. Remind me always to strive to be who You would have me be, no matter where I am, or what I am doing, or who I am with. Make me into your lantern, precious Lord, and let your light shine through me so bright that all can see it.


Dedication to Service

Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray,


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.

Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question

What Bible verse assures us that heaven will be better than we can possibly imagine?

Answer: Romans 8:18
“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

<i>Leah and Rachel</i>, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1885.
Leah and Rachel, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1885.
The two women, seated at the fountain in the Earthly Paradise, symbolise the active and the contemplative life. Leah, the active one, works with tendrils of honeysuckle and carries a red rose in her long loose hair. Both flowers had connotations of sexual attraction for Rossetti.

Our Daily Bread

There are three things that spread the Christ life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names — Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord’s Supper. If you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day.

That is why daily prayers and religious reading and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed.

~ C. S. Lewis, from Mere Christianity

Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 29:31-35, 30:1-12 (TLB)

The Story of Jacob [4] - The First Children

So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her more than Leah, and stayed and worked the additional seven years.

But because Jacob was slighting Leah, Jehovah let her have a child, while Rachel was barren. So Leah became pregnant and had a son, Reuben (meaning “God has noticed my trouble”), for she said, “Jehovah has noticed my trouble — now my husband will love me.” She soon became pregnant again and had another son and named him Simeon (meaning “Jehovah heard”), for she said, “Jehovah heard that I was unloved, and so he has given me another son.”

Again she became pregnant and had a son, and named him Levi (meaning “Attachment”) for she said, “Surely now my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!” Once again she was pregnant and had a son and named him Judah (meaning “Praise”), for she said, “Now I will praise Jehovah!” And then she stopped having children.

Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.”

Then Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” She said, “Here is my maid Bilhah, go in to her that she may bear on my knees, that through her I too may have children.” So she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her.

Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son.” Therefore she named him Dan. [Dan means, “He judged.”] Rachel’s maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. So Rachel said, “With mighty struggles I have wrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed.” And she named him Naphtali. [Naphtali means “my struggle.”]

When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son. Then Leah said, “How fortunate!” So she named him Gad. [Gad means “fortunately.”] Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. Then Leah said, “Happy am I! For women will call me happy.” So she named him Asher. [Asher means “happy.”]

Notes on the Scripture


e are once again reminded of the primitive society reflected in the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — this was centuries before Moses — for it seems in this passage that marriage meant pretty much whatever the people involved thought it should mean. Laban simply decided to make Jacob work for seven years before giving him Leah as a wife; but apparently, as soon as Jacob began his second seven-year stint to earn Rachel’s hand, Laban consented to the immediate consummation of their union. Perhaps he felt a bit badly about tricking Jacob into the Leah marriage, and so he softened on the terms.

Both women seem to have no qualms at the concept of childbearing by proxy. In fact, they both appear anxious that their maid, and not their sister’s maid, should bear Jacob’s next child.

Thus, in half a chapter, we have seen more than half the tribal progenitors of Israel born: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah to Leah; then Dan and Naphtali to Bilhah, as Rachel’s proxy; then Gad and Asher to Zilpah, as Leah’s proxy.

While the entire episode has an air of farce about it, God’s will is being fulfilled all the time. He has ordained that Jacob have 12 sons, and the two women are racing to crank out babies, to fulfill what God has preordained.

The two paintings presented today illustrate a surprising development in Jacob’s marriages. It seems at first as if Rachel is the proper and favored wife, Leah being the lesser personage forced upon him by trickery. But as the story develops, Leah appears in an ever more favorable light, for she is a forceful and fruitful woman. Perhaps Laban knew what he was doing, by giving Leah to Jacob first.

endless knot

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“The Day You Find Out Why”

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 5:17: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

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