Daily Devotion for February 26, 2012
Hagar and Ishmael Banished by Abraham Verhagen ca. 1790.
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.
Our "Virtual Sunday Church" this week takes us to a Catholic first communion service in the 1960s. The music is a setting of Psalm 95 by Arvo Part.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, I thank you this morning for all that I have. Even if I have problems with my health, I am alive today. If I have money problems, I will eat today. I have clothes to wear, a roof to protect me, and air to breathe. Let me never take for granted these gifts of life, oh Lord, but always remember that they come from you; without you, no man could make the sun shine or the tree bear its fruit. I pray to live this day in joy and thankfulness for what I have, remembering always who made me and who keeps me. In the name of Christ I pray,
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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.
Who is mighty like You, O Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
You rule the raging of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.
You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one who is slain;
You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
Genesis 21:8-14 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham  - Isaac
And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.
But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, "Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac." And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son.
But God said to Abraham, "Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring."
So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
Notes on the Scripture
Throughout history, one finds countless examples of a decision made by some individual, a comparatively small and very personal matter, that profoundly changes the course of the world. One notable example: In 1914, an archduke visiting the Balkans decided to take a detour while riding in his car, enabling a Serbian anarchist to shoot him; and from this event, the world was plunged into the most terrible period of conflict in history, two world wars that devastated Europe and killed hundreds of millions of people.
Abraham, by the hand of God, has had two sons. As ordained by God, his second son (by his wife Sarah) is destined to be the patriarch of a great nation, the Hebrews. But Sarah is jealous of Ishmael, Abraham's elder son who was born to Sarah's Egyptian servant, Hagar.
Ishmael, though, is not cursed by God, for he was born with the blessing of both Sarah and God himself. Sarah, being human and full of human fault, insists that Abraham drive Hagar and Ismael away. But God, unlike Sarah, is just. And although He instructs Abraham to follow the wishes of his wife Sarah — for like Sarah, He intends that Isaac carry His message of righteousness — He promises to take care of Hagar and Ishmael.
As we will see in the next two days, this event will have enormous ramifications on the course of history, which greatly affect our world even today.