Daily Devotion for March 25, 2012
Feast of the Annunciation
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" takes us to the Crossroads Church of Turlock, California.
Prayer for the Morning
Holy Father, who watches over your children by night and by day; blessed Jesus, my food and my strength; sweet Holy Spirit, the light and guide of my soul; I thank you for this new day and pray that you will watch over me. May my thoughts, my words and actions reflect the Spirit that dwells within me. And may every minute of my life celebrate the gift of grace, earned by the blood of Christ, in whose name I pray.
Thanks for the Life of Christ
Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is amazing to me that he lived and walked among us, one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. Your love in showing us that you would share the burdens of mortality is great.
Although the terrible beating and torture, and long painful death, that he suffered at the hands of the powerful was a terrible thing, his ultimate victory in overcoming that death was the greatest victory in the history of mankind. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for his promise to all people, that he will intercede for us at our death, and bring us to eternal life. Today I remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray,
Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
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 a harsh word stirs up anger.
Genesis 26:34-35; 27:1-4 (ESV)
The Story of Isaac  - Jacob and Esau
When Esau was forty years old, he took Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite to be his wife, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.
When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, "My son"; and he answered, "Here I am." He said, "Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die."
Notes on the Scripture
Isaac's elder son marries two Hittite women, which is not remarkable. As you will remember from earlier in Genesis, Abraham had purchased land from a Hittite and had ended his days living in an area controlled by this powerful tribe (which had originated in central Europe), very much at peace with them. No doubt the "year" used in this passage is the same as used throughout the stories of Abraham and Isaac, so Esau would have been in his early or mid 20s in our modern calendar, the customary age for men to marry then.
Also notice the unabashed bigamy. It became very clear from reading about Abraham's life that bigamy — having two wives — was an acceptable practice at the time, as was having one wife and one mistress. In fact, neither Judaism not Christ himself ever explicitly condemned polygamy; it is not until we reach the New Testament that Paul instructs us to be monogamous: "each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband". (1 Corinthians 7:2)
If you find this odd, it is. Sexual morality is strongly associated with Judaism. When the early Jewish Christians decided to allow Gentiles to join the Christian church, it was only on the condition that they give up their sexual immorality. But monogamy does not become a stated norm until Paul, and even then, it is only in the context of an alternative to chastity, for those who cannot restrain themselves.
Beeri and Basemath made the lives of their parents-in-law "bitter", but no more is said on the subject. This is a condemnation of them, and perhaps of Esau by implication; daughters-in-law had an obligation to their husband's mother and, however fair or unfair it might seem to us, the obligation of keeping the peace lay with them.
The end of today's passage begins the story of Isaac's death. Esau is a skilled hunter, and this civilization is so old that game is still a staple food. So Issac asks Esau to bring him some fresh meat from the hunt for a good meal, after which Esau is to receive his blessing, for Isaac is nearly blind and knows that his end is near.