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Daily Devotion for February 23, 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
Blessed are you, Lord God of my salvation, to you be praise and glory for ever. As once you ransomed your people from Egypt and led them to freedom in the promised land, so now you have delivered me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of your risen Son. May I, the fruit of your new creation, rejoice in this new day you have made, and praise you for your mighty acts. Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Prayer for Goodness (based on Psalm 1)
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of your law, so that we might know our sin, and your Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short. Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and let me never replace the truth which you have put into my heart with the clever words of men. Through Christ I pray,
A Prayer for Lent
Father in Heaven, the light of your truth bestows sight to the darkness of sinful eyes. May this season of repentance bring us the blessing of Your forgiveness and the gift of Your light. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Prayer for Renewal
Lord, I am one of your people, the sheep of your flock. I pray for you to heal those who are wounded; touch those who are in pain; clean those who are soiled; warm those who are cold; help me to know the Father's love through Jesus the shepherd, and through the Spirit.
Help me to lift up that love, and show it all over this land. Help me to build love on justice and justice on love. Help me to believe mightily, hope joyfully, and love divinely. Renew me that I may help renew the face of the earth.
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.
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.
For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord?
Genesis 20:8-13 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham  - Abimelech
So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things. And the men were very much afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, "What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done."
And Abimelech said to Abraham, "What did you see, that you did this thing?"
Abraham said, "I did it because I thought, 'There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.'
Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. And when God caused me to wander from my father's house, I said to her, 'This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me, "He is my brother."'"
Notes on the Scripture
After the destruction of Sodom, Abraham and his family went back to the southeast, towards Egypt, and stopped to live in a village in the Negev called Gerar. As he had done earlier in Egypt, he told everyone that Sarah was his sister. He feared that some ruler would take Sarah from him, because of her beauty. If he was her husband, he would be killed, but her brother might be allowed to live.
And indeed, the local ruler, Abimelech, did take her; but, unlike the Pharaoh, the Lord did not let Abimelech "touch" her. Since the covenant was made between them, God has been more protective of Abraham.
And now, God visits Abimelech to tell him that he will kill him if he does touch her, and that he has committed a grave sin by taking her. Abimelech is naturally both fearful of God, and angry at Abraham and he chides Abraham for lying to him, and getting him into trouble. So Abraham justifies his lie. He tells Abimelech, frankly, why he has done what he did, and also, that it really wasn't untrue. Sarah is his half-sister!
As we have discussed earlier, Abraham is set in ancient times, so ancient that morals we take for granted had not developed; here we find out that it predates the strict taboo against incest. In Egypt, also, Pharaohs would often marry a full sister or brother.