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Daily Devotion for April 2, 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.
An American classic. The song is a bit patriotic for this website, so let us to remember to pray first for God to bless all people of the world, wherever they may live.
"For Each New Morning"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
I thank thee.
Prayer for Palm Sunday
Oh heavenly Lord, let me enter the city with your son today; let me sing of glory to my King, your son, the very Son of God, riding on a donkey, keeping company with shepherds and prostitutes, with the blind and the leper, with the abandoned and oppressed. Let me be filled with joy at Christ's coming and follow the One who welcomes the sinner and dines with the outcast. Let me touch and see as God draws near, riding in triumph towards the Cross.
As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
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.
Jacob and Esau by George Frederic Watts, c. 1878.
Dwelling in God
"Love and pity and wish well to every soul in the world; dwell in love, and then you dwell in God."
~ William Law
Genesis 28:1-9 (ESV)
The Story of Isaac  - Jacob and Esau Seek Wives
Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, "You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother's father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother's brother.
God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!" Thus Isaac sent Jacob away.
And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother.
Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, "You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women," and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram.
So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth.
Notes on the Scripture
If you are confused by all the names, you aren't the first or only one! This is a good spot for a recap and simplification of the ancient history of Abraham and his family.
One name that you might want to pay special attention to is the tribal name "Aramean" which is pronounced with four syllables (air-uh-may-un). The Arameans were a rather unimportant tribe of nomads but they have one claim to fame; for some reason, their language became widespread and, 1500 years later, was the primary language that Jesus spoke: Aramaic. It is actually still spoken today in some very tiny pockets of the Middle East.
The place "Paddan-aram" was a rare case where the Arameans actually had their own little kingdom, a small area due north of where Israel is today. When Abraham first decided to strike out from Mesopotamia, he stopped in this little kingdom, which was a comfortable place since his family had Aramean heritage. Abraham's brother stayed there when Abraham traveled on to Canaan and his destiny, for God was to make His covenant with Abraham, including giving him and his heirs the land.
But Abraham's brother also started a large family; this is why Isaac went back there to find his wife, Rebekah, and now why Isaac and Rebekah want their own son to go back there to find a wife. It would be similar to an immigrant to the U.S. going back to the "old country" to find a wife.
When Isaac tells Jacob to marry one of Laban's daughters, he is telling him to marry his first cousin. We might look askance at that today (although it is legal in many states of the U.S.) but Isaac is clearly most interested in keeping the blood line pure.
Esau, who is not at all a bad son, has inadvertently displeased his parents by taking two wives from local tribes. He tries to make up for this, and please his parents, by also marrying a first cousin, only a cousin on his father's side instead of his mother's. Ishmael, you will remember, is Abraham's first child and thus Isaac's older brother.