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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Daily Devotion for July 6, 2017


<i>Vision after the Sermon</i> by Paul Gauguin ca. 1894.
Vision after the Sermon by Paul Gauguin ca. 1894. We don’t think of Gaugin as a Christian visionary, but he was apparently moved deeply by a sermon about Jacob wrestling the angel.

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Amen.



To Show Christ's Love Today

Oh Holy God, who has commanded us to love one another without fail, purify my soul. Let your Holy Spirit empower me throughout this day, to be obedient to the truth at every moment, so that I might love my brothers and sisters earnestly, from a pure heart.

And let me always remember that I have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of your Son; born again into a life of perfect love, obedience, and service. And if I am confused or do not know what to think or do, let me think of your Son, Jesus Christ, and ask myself what He would have done. For I will follow him even to the point of suffering and death, confident in his resurrection and the eternal reward for those that do follow him in sincere belief.

Amen.

That Others May See Christ in Me

O God, a violent society filled with pride seeks to despise me, for they do not know you. Turn your face upon me, O Lord, I pray, and have mercy on me, for you are full of mercy and truth. . Give strength to your servant and show me a sign for good, that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed of their hard hearts, and turn to you for help and comfort, as I do.

Amen.

Meditation

[A violent society filled with pride.]


Benediction

The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue; the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him; the Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace.

Amen.


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.



<i>Jacob and the Angel</i>, by Odilon Redon, ca. 1910
Jacob and the Angel, by Odilon Redon, ca. 1905-10. (See Full-size.)

Today

And now, this is the sweetest and most glorious day that ever my eyes did see.

      ~Donald Cargill


Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 32:22-32 (TLB)

The Story of Jacob [10] - Jacob Wrestles with the Angel

But during the night he got up and wakened his two wives and his two concubines and eleven sons, and sent them across the Jordan River at the Jabbok ford with all his possessions, then returned again to the camp and was there alone; and a Man wrestled with him until dawn. And when the Man saw that he couldn’t win the match, he struck Jacob’s hip and knocked it out of joint at the socket.

Then the Man said, “Let me go, for it is dawn.”

But Jacob panted, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”

“What is your name?” the Man asked. “Jacob,” was the reply.

“It isn’t anymore!” the Man told him. “It is Israel—one who has power with God. Because you have been strong with God, you shall prevail with men.”

“What is your name?” Jacob asked him.

“No, you mustn’t ask,” the Man told him. And he blessed him there.

Jacob named the place “Peniel” (“The Face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is spared.” The sun rose as he started on, and he was limping because of his hip. (That is why even today the people of Israel don’t eat meat from near the hip, in memory of what happened that night.)


Notes on the Scripture

T



his bizarre account of Jacob wrestling with God —often known in tradition as Jacob wrestling with the Angel — actually makes a great deal of sense. Jacob was dispossessed of Isaac’s wealth for reasons that are never given to us; but the fact is, he was sent into a foreign land without possessions to make his own way. He had to earn first Isaac’s blessing, then his first wife (Leah), then his second wife (Rachel, whom he thought he would marry first). Trickery and deception, both by and against him, characterized these 12 years. Then, he is involved in constant turmoil with Laban, while his two wives wrangle with one another for precedence.

Nothing has been given to Jacob for free. He has earned everything he has, by hard work, by fighting, and by his wits, even when this meant deception. His entire life has been an unremitting struggle. Now, he finds himself in Canaan, promised to him by God, but God isn't going to give him Canaan for nothing, either. Jacob is stuck between two stronger and richer men, Laban and Esau, both of them potentially hostile.

The one thing God has given Jacob is enormous strength of character. He has struggled and fought his entire life, and all he sees in the future is more struggle and strife. But he is up to the challenge. His persistence is so enormous that he will wrestle with God Himself. God finally knocks Jacob’s hip out of its socket; yet, Jacob will still not call “uncle.”

Does he wrestle with this “Man” — who is in reality a theophany, a physical manifestation of God Himself — out of hostility, in order to best Him or hurt Him? No. All Jacob wants is His blessing! He is not fighting God as an enemy; he is proving himself, showing God that His blessing is worth everything that Jacob has to give. The wrestling match is a physical prayer.

But we cannot think that Jacob is proving himself to God, for God knows how this will turn out. It is Jacob to whom God proves something: the adequacy of Jacob’s strength to be Israel. Jacob actually becomes Israel at the dawn of a new day, the culmination of his lifelong struggle to be the true heir of Abraham, and the ancestor of Christ.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“ Light Of The Night ”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 6:25: Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. . . . But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


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