Daily Devotion for February 7, 2012
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way!
~ Oswald Chambers
The Story of Abraham 
The angel of the Lord found Hagar by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?"
She said, "I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai." The angel of the Lord said to her, "Return to your mistress and submit to her." The angel of the Lord also said to her, "I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude."
And the angel of the Lord said to her, "Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction.
He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen."
So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, "You are a God of seeing," for she said, "Truly here I have seen him who looks after me." Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.
And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
Notes on the Scripture
Shur — a place one encounters repeatedly in Exodus — is the desert wilderness in the northern Sinai. Amazing as it may seem, we know exactly where Beer-lahai-roi is. Many of the places mentioned in Genesis have been lost, largely because they are towns in areas which have been overrun, reinhabited, destroyed and built over countless times in the 30+ centuries since Abraham. But this well is in the middle of nowhere; it is a geographical feature known to anyone crossing the Sinai and has kept its name to this day.
Hagar seems to fled her senses as well as her mistress. She has walked a very long way, pregnant, into the edge of the desert, 12 miles from the last town before Egypt. This would be dangerous today, but 3500 years ago, there was not even a pretense of civilization. Men finding her there would not have broken even a theoretical law by killing, raping, or enslaving her.
But there, alone in the middle of nowhere, one of the oddest things in the Bible occurs. God becomes involved in the life of Hagar's son, even giving him the name Ishmael, which fittingly means "God has paid attention".
Ishmael is an enigmatic figure. He is not accursed as, say, Cain was; but neither is he blessed. He will be the patriarch of millions, and his line will prosper; yet, he will be something less than his father and excluded from the company of God's chosen people. (The best description of him may be the unintentionally humorous one in Young's Literal Translation, which calls him "a wild-ass man".)