Daily Devotion for March 10, 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.
A traditional English hymn from one of the truly great gospel choirs of all time, the Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa.
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
A Prayer of Repentance
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me for all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your Grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
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.
But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.
The Story of Abraham  - Rebekah
When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, and said, "Please tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father's house for us to spend the night?"
She said to him, "I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor." She added, "We have plenty of both straw and fodder, and room to spend the night."
The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord and said, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master's kinsmen." Then the young woman ran and told her mother's household about these things.
Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban. Laban ran out toward the man, to the spring. As soon as he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sister's arms, and heard the words of Rebekah his sister, "Thus the man spoke to me," he went to the man. And behold, he was standing by the camels at the spring.
He said, "Come in, O blessed of the Lord. Why do you stand outside? For I have prepared the house and a place for the camels."
So the man came to the house and unharnessed the camels, and gave straw and fodder to the camels, and there was water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. Then food was set before him to eat. But he said, "I will not eat until I have said what I have to say." He said, "Speak on."
Notes on the Scripture
Throughout history, weights and measures have changed constantly. We can infer from the gifts given here, however, that a gold shekel must be roughly one-third of an ounce. So this stranger gives Rebekah about $6000 worth of jewelry, at a time when money was scarce. Then he asks if he can spend the night!
This gets her attention! She immediately runs to tell her mother. We do not know if her father, Bethuel, is present at this point, although we learn later that he is. Laban, however, seems to act with great authority. And Laban, after seeing the gold on his sister, acts with great politeness.
No doubt, the abruptness of the activity is tempered by the mention of Abraham; Laban would know his family tree and would know exactly who Abraham was, even though they have never met. Also, the family of Nahor worships the One God; we have little in the way of theology from this time, but Abraham's family has taken its primitive religious belief from Noah, worshipping a single unseen God, rather than the idols that most of the world worshipped.
When the servant tells Laban he has something to say, Laban must know what is coming. There would be only one reason for his uncle's servant to travel so far and then give a strange girl such lavish gifts.