Daily Devotion for March 4, 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.
This isn't a polished performance but is certainly full of spirit!
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for Family and Friends
Blessed are you, loving Father, for all your gifts to me and those close to me. Blessed are you for giving us family and friends to be with us in times of joy and sorrow, to help us in days of need, and to rejoice with us in moments of celebration.
Father, I praise you for your son Jesus, who knew the happiness of family and friends, And in the love of Your Holy Spirit. Blessed are you for ever and ever.
God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make me and all who confess your holy name people of this light. Make us faithful to your Word that we may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Two ancient depictions of Hittite chariots
But he who is impulsive exalts folly.
Genesis 23:1-9 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham  - The Death of Sarah
Sarah lived 127 years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.
And Abraham rose up from before his dead and said to the Hittites, "I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight." The Hittites answered Abraham, "Hear us, my lord; you are a prince of God among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tomb to hinder you from burying your dead."
Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. And he said to them, "If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me and entreat for me Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as property for a burying place."
Notes on the Scripture
Genesis 23 skips forward some years to the time of Sarah's death. Abraham has, apparently, moved to Hebron in the interim. One does not have to try hard to see why he would want to leave Beersheba, a desert city dependent on wells for survival. This move puts him yet again among a strange people: for now we meet the Hittites, perhaps the first great expansive empire in Western history.
When archaeologists claim not to trust Biblical accounts, one must always remember the Hittites. The world of archeology claimed they simply did not exist (or, if they did, they were some minor tribe) until, in the late 19th century, they began to uncover records of a great empire called the "People of Hattusas" from Anatolia (Turkey). Genesis was right. And when modern archaeologists express doubt about, for example, the existence of Sodom, one is fully justified in believing they simply don't know what they are talking about.
The Hittites are remarkable for another reason: they were not Mesopotamian in origin, but western. Their language was Indo-European — in the same family as English, German, and Latin. Their prominence sprang largely from their use of the chariot, which spread down from Eastern Europe, and they almost certainly had roots there .
Abraham thus lived among all the great middle eastern empires of his day — Mesopotamian (early Babylon), Egyptian, and now Hittite. This represents a meeting not only of empires, but also of continents: African Egypt, Asian Babylonia, and the European Hittites. It is this singular confluence of three continents, together with their peculiar religions and cultures, that has made the Middle East so contentious throughout history; and here we see it, already, more than a thousand years before Christ's birth.
Abraham wants to bury Sarah out of his sight. Rather than dig her a grave — which unlike today, would be difficult to keep secure — he will go to great lengths to bury her in a cave. Protecting a body from discovery or molestation, and putting it in a place where the living would have minimum contact with it in the future, are advanced ideas for the time. Although Abraham really has no civilization to call his own — his entire existence revolves around his direct relationship with God — his sense of civilized customs was progressive, as befits the patriarch of two great peoples: the Hebrews and the Arabs.