Daily Devotion for March 22, 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 call to Christ's service by the great Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
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,
For Each of Us in Our Work
Almighty God, heavenly Father, who makes it possible for me to work and gives every creature its food, declaring your glory and showing your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver me, I pray, in my work, from coveting material goods, from falling into the temptation of serving mammon and putting money in the forefront of my life. Help me to perform the work which you have put at my hand, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as your servant, and to the benefit of my fellow men as well as myself; for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lived and died only to serve us.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant us to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
But his wrath is against him who causes shame.
Genesis 26:12-17 (ESV)
The Story of Isaac  - Abimelech
And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy.
He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father's servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) And Abimelech said to Isaac, "Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we."
So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there.
Notes on the Scripture
Unlike many of the places in Genesis, the location of Gerar and the Valley of Gerar has been found in an archeological dig. It is about 15 miles northwest of Beersheba. Gerar was a city of notable size in the late Bronze Age, especially since it grew up in the middle of nowhere, in the northern Negev. It exists on what is now called a "wadi", a river that often runs dry (or at the worst, a dry streambed that occasionally fills with water).
Like the Jews in 20th century Palestine, Isaac comes to a country that is already inhabited and becomes much richer than the people living there. He is at peace with them, as he submits himself to their political leadership, but as he becomes richer and more powerful, the peace becomes more and more difficult. For, at its heart, political power lies in wealth, especially when wealth consists of the basic ability to feed a large number of people.
The Philistines seem intent on not becoming prosperous. Once before, Abraham had prospered in the area by digging wells; but rather than taking over the wells and building communities around them, the Philistines have filled them in so that they cannot be used!
And so, the Philistines come to fear Isaac, as the possibility that he might defeat them in battle grows with his prosperity, and their leader, Abimelech, tells him he will have to leave. Isaac does not intend conquest and, thus, does not fight the decision. He moves his household away from the city of Gerar and out into the countryside, along the valley created by the wadi called, here, the Valley of Gerar.