Daily Devotion for February 17, 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.
The girl singing this was 15 years old at the time.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,
Prayer of Thanks
Almighty and gracious Father, I give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make me and all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions.
Walk with me, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
The Story of Abraham  - Sodom
Then the men said to Lot, "Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it."
So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, "Move! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city." But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.
As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city." But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
And as they brought them out, one said, "Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away."
And Lot said to them, "Oh, no, my lords. Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there — is it not a little one? — and my life will be saved!"
He said to him, "Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there." Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
Notes on the Scripture
We see, in hindsight, the sheer foolishness of Lot and his family. Angels of God come to them and tell them that the city is to be completely destroyed; but they don't leave. If we think this is unusual, we have only to think about what happens even today, when people are warned that a terrible hurricane is coming and they must evacuate. There are always a "lot" (sorry) who simply will not leave. In terms of human nature, the story of Lot and his family is entirely credible.
But, like the National Guard sometimes forces unwilling people to leave their homes before a hurricane arrives, the angels resort to physical force in order to save their lives.
For some reason that is not given, Lot doesn't want to flee to the hills, but to a small town at the south end of the Jordan Valley. "Zoar" in Hebrew means "small" or "insignificant". Like many of the cities in Genesis and other early historical books of the Old Testament, archeologists have not been able to find any definitive evidence that it existed; but unlike most others, there is ample evidence of it in other books. Arab geographers praised it for the sweetness of its dates — an important food in arid parts of the mideast — and it was still standing during the first crusade (about 900 years ago) and we thus have descriptions of it from European sources, as well.
Lot's righteousness is apparent, because God grants him the same level of familiarity as He did to Abraham. Lot is allowed to negotiate with God Himself! There seems to be some detail that has been lost over time, but for whatever reason, God, having acceded to Lot's request, does not want to commence His destruction of Sodom until Lot reaches Zoar.
Zoar was probably about ten miles from Sodom. See Map.