Daily Devotion for March 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.
This is the Gloria in Excelsis Deo ("Glory to God in the highest", the only words in the entire piece) by Bach, from his Mass in B Minor.
Prayer for the Morning
You are ushering in another day, untouched and freshly new, So here I come to ask You God if You'll renew me too?
Forgive the many errors, that I made yesterday, And let me try again dear God, to walk closer in Thy way.
But Father, I am well aware, I can't make it on my own. So take my hand and hold it tight, for I can't walk alone.
Prayer for Personal Conduct (from 1 Timothy)
Lord God, I pray that this day my conduct will be like that you have set for your clergy, above reproach. May I be this day temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, and not violent, but gentle. May I never be quarrelsome, always seeking peace even in disagreement, and may my love be for you and my fellow man, not for money. I pray that I manage my own household well. If I have any children in my charge, I pray to that I may take the time to see that they are in control and behaving with proper respect. Grant me a good reputation with outsiders, so that I will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil. This I pray through my Lord Christ, whose love and attention ever gave us an example of conduct,
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.
Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.
~ Martin Luther King
Genesis 25:12-18 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham  - The Generations of Ishmael
These are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's servant, bore to Abraham.
These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes.
(These are the years of the life of Ishmael: 137 years. He breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.)
They settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria. And he died in the presence of all his brethren.
Notes on the Scripture
Ishmael was perhaps in his mid-60's when he died, an old age for a time when the average life span was around 26. Much of the short average life span was due to infant death, and a prosperous man such as Ishmael also had an advantage, so his age at death was not quite so remarkable as it sounds. A fair number of people — such as Abraham himself — made it past 80.
As we have previously noted, Muslims believe that Arabs descended from Ishmael. Nothing in the Bible contradicts this (although other contradictions do exist — Muslims believe Hagar was the true wife of Abraham and Ishmael, his heir).
Ishmael is credited with twelve sons who were "princes" of their tribes (just like Jacob, whose sons became the 12 tribes of Judaism). In fact, the Hebrew translated "by their encampments" means, literally, "by their towers", which would indicate a stone defensive structure and, thus, some degree of military strength. They will remain an important force in the early part of Jewish history, although they are eclipsed by the great empires of the time, from Babylonia to Rome, in the Bible. The rise of the Arabs to regional power occurred long after the Bible was written; Mohammed died in 632 A.D. and Islam reached the height of its empire around 1200 A.D. In 1492, for instance, the year in which Columbus discovered the New World, the Spanish completed the reconquest of Spain from the Islamic Moors.
His sons spread out, and the description of the areas in which they lived is not terribly helpful. Scholars believe that "Havilah" was, in fact, far south on the Arabian peninsula, and a few believe it became Yemen. We do know where Shur is, because it is a wilderness in the Sinai Peninsula where early Hebrews often lived, including Abraham, Isaac, and Moses. This is consistent with Arab accounts of their genealogy, a race spread out down the west coast of the Arabian Peninsula, south of the Moabites and Amorites who were descended from Lot.