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Daily Devotion for March 29, 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.
We go back in time for some old gospel, as The Golden Gate Quartet decides they "ain't gonna' study war no more".
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
A Prayer of St. Basil the Great
I bless you, O God most high and Lord of mercies, who forever works great and mysterious deeds for me, glorious, wonderful, and numberless; who provides me with sleep as a rest from my infirmities and as a repose for my body tired by labor. I thank you that you have not destroyed me in my transgressions, but in your love toward mankind you have raised me up, as I lay in despair, that I may glorify your majesty.
I entreat your infinite goodness, enlighten the eyes of my understanding and raise up my mind from the heavy sleep of indolence; open my mouth and fill it with your praise, that I may unceasingly sing and confess you, who is God glorified in all and by all, the eternal Father, the only-begotten Son, and the all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you"; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.
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.
Seeing and Believing
"Instead of complaining that God had hidden himself, you will give Him thanks for having revealed so much of Himself."
~ Blaise Pascal
Genesis 27:30-36 (ESV)
The Story of Isaac  - Jacob and Esau
As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. He also prepared sumptuous food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, "Let my father arise and eat of his son's game, that you may bless me."
His father Isaac said to him, "Who are you?" He answered, "I am your son, your firstborn, Esau."
Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, "Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed."
As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with a great and bitter cry and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" But he said, "Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing."
Esau said, "Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing."
Notes on the Scripture
Esau's nature has been his undoing. He has always been the huntsman, constantly away from the homestead. It is how he lives and what he enjoys. There is nothing to indicate that Esau was not a good man or a good son, but Rebekah has preferred him for a reason. Jacob, whose place has always been at home, has both the nature and the training to rule men.
Finally, and most important, it means more to Jacob; for, remember, Esau was willing to trade Jacob his birthright for nothing more than a bowl of stew. Jacob, at least, actually wanted the leadership more than Esau. One might also conclude that Jacob was brighter.
As we discussed yesterday, the blessing Isaac gave Jacob was meaningful. Now, Isaac informs Esau that it was irrevocable. It was an official act. Jacob has already, in effect, been crowned.
The name "Jacob" can be read to have two meanings in Hebrew: "he takes by the heel" and "he cheats". The first meaning is actually how he got his name, for when the twins came from the womb, Jacob was holding onto Esau's heel. But now, Esau makes a pun and (as one would expect) complains that Jacob cheated him. But we can have little sympathy for the first time Jacob "cheated" Esau; it was not cheating as we would use the word, because Esau freely and knowingly gave his birthright to Jacob in return for the infamous bowl of red stew. In fact, Esau simply did not value it very highly.
This second time, although it was largely Rebekah's doing, Jacob may have fooled Isaac, but he did not cheat Esau. Really, if Esau had taken Isaac's blessing, it would have been him welching on the deal with his brother; for with the blessing came the birthright. They are not separable.