Daily Devotion for March 30, 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 beautiful a capella hymn is sung by the Charity Homeschool Chorus. If you have been following Daily Prayer for long, you will probably recognize that this sounds like a Mennonite hymn, which is close. Charity Christian Fellowship is a less separatist spinoff of the Amish, with more emphasis on missionary service.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A Prayer of Repentance for Lent
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray to you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make me and all who confess your holy name people of this light. Make us faithful to your Word that we may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
Genesis 27:36-40 (ESV)
The Story of Isaac  - Jacob and Esau
Then Esau said, "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?"
Isaac answered and said to Esau, "Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?"
Esau said to his father, "Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father." And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
Then Isaac his father answered and said to him:
and away from the dew of heaven on high.
By your sword you shall live,
and you shall serve your brother;
but when you grow restless
you shall break his yoke from your neck."
Notes on the Scripture
Today, we see more evidence that Isaac's "blessing" meant much more than a wish or prayer for success. The singular blessing he gave Jacob was what we would call his last will and testament. Isaac does not know when he will die, and must make a final disposition of his estate before he dies. There are no courts and, actually, not even a written language; although the great cities of Egypt and Mesopotamia have begun to use primitive forms of writing -- hieroglyphics and cuneiform -- it is not widespread.
But the blessing Isaac gives to Esau sounds more like prophecy. Since Esau was disinherited, Isaac does the best he can for him, for he loves Esau. The first two lines are the exact opposite of Jacob's; Jacob will have the fat of the earth and the dew of heaven, that is, he will own land and live by agriculture. Where Jacob was told he would rule, Esau will serve.
That Esau will live by his sword sounds as if he will be a professional soldier, but we know from later verses that this is not to be taken in the sense that it might be 1000 years later, when men spent their lives in uniform. Esau loves to be afield and grows restless in camp, anyway. He is to have the life he enjoys, the life of a hunter and man of action. And when he grows tired of serving Jacob, he will be allowed to free himself of obligation to Jacob. He has not been made the master of Isaac's tribe, but unlike his younger brothers and other relatives, he has Isaac's blessing to strike out on his own.
Thus Isaac fulfills the prophecy; it is through Rebekah's trickery rather than Isaac's own will, but remember, the prophecy was given to Rebekah in Genesis 25:
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger."