Daily Devotion for March 27, 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 Benedictus by Mozart is exquisite. The Latin words are short and easy to follow: "Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis." In English, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosannah in the highest."
It is suitable either to listen to attentively, or to play as a soft background for prayer and meditation.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust."
Genesis 27:14-20 (ESV)
The Story of Isaac  - Jacob and Esau
So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared savory food, such as his father loved.
Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. And she put the food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
So he went in to his father and said, "My father." And he said, "Here I am. Who are you, my son?" Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me."
But Isaac said to his son, "How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?" He answered, "Because the Lord your God granted me success."
Notes on the Scripture
The tale of Jacob and Esau often puzzles readers, because of the contradiction between Jacob's righteousness and fraudulence. He is to get the blessing of Isaac, the heir of Abraham, and become the third of this line of three men to whom God has promised so much: the land of Canaan, descendants who will become a great nation (the Hebrews), and most important, special status as the people who will be blessed by God and will be the keepers of his covenant.
But juxtaposed to his unique status — the patriarch of God's holy people — we see Jacob participating in a seedy little fraud to deceive his father. And it is by no means a minor fraud. He seeks to steal from his brother the very position of patriarch, and to defraud his father into naming him his heir, by fooling blind Isaac into mistaking him for Esau.
How can one lie and cheat his way into the position of the patriarch of God's covenant? Although we will never understand God's mind, Jacob gives us the basic answer in this selection: "Because the Lord your God granted me success." God has not given the Law to the world at this point; Moses will not be born for centuries. There is no commandment to forbid stealing.
Of course, the answer that the Law does not yet exist is not completely satisfactory, because as Paul will tell us in Romans, the Law did not make theft a sin; it only showed the Hebrews that they were sinning. But God's plan works itself out slowly in human terms. He did not snap his fingers and create the Christian church, but worked it out in a slow succession of events.