Daily Devotion for January 22, 2017
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.
For our Virtual Sunday Church, we join Divna Ljubojevic and an unknown choir for a hauntingly beautiful Kyrie Eleison, taken from the Serbian Orthodox liturgy.
Preparation for Prayer
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly-minded.
For with blessings in his hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to command.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, this morning I pray for those who are beginning to know Christ: may You strengthen them on their journey. I pray for all children, and for those who take care of them, especially those who awaken them to faith. I pray for the ill and those who are ending their lives in loneliness: Oh Lord, give them the strength they need. I pray for those who are condemned to prison or exile: Lord, sustain their hope. I pray that the fire of your Spirit may renew the energies of all your saints and enable us to welcome those who do not know you. And finally, Lord, may your Church be constantly renewed, in prayer, in your Word and in your worship; in Christ's name, this I ask,
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the week and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me today and throughout the coming week, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
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.
Map of the Middle East at the Time of Abraham
Psalm 84:1-4 (NKJV)
How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah
Genesis 11:26-32 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham 
When Terah had lived 70 years, he fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot. Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans. And Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.
Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. The days of Terah were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran.
Notes on the Scripture
oday we begin the story of Abraham, possibly the most important person in the Old Testament after Moses and one who, like Moses, led an adventuresome life. It is important to keep in mind just how old this history is. The events occur close to the dawn of civilization, when there were only a few very small areas, centered on rivers, which had begun to show strong attributes of civilized society: Egypt (Nile), Mesopotamia (Tigris-Euphrates), China (Yellow R.) and India (Indus R.). Ur of the Chaldeans was the southernmost city of what was likely still the Sumerian Empire, although nobody is sure precisely when Abram lived; the accounts of this section of Genesis are unique and there is practically no other written history of Canaan at that time.
The Sumerians had an archaic form of writing, but it was not used to write books; the only written history of the time is the occasional brief account of a great ruler. Thus, the history of Abraham was passed from generation to generation orally. His importance is demonstrated by the great detail preserved in the oral history, such as the names of minor kings which would be unknown except for Genesis.
Genesis is, and will always be, full of mystery. Nobody even knows how the length of lives were calculated, although Terah almost certainly did not live for 205 years in the modern sense. Calendars were primitive; a reliable calendar was not invented in the West until Rome adopted the Julian Calendar in 45 B.C. A Sumerian year was possibly equal to four or five of our months.
Terah moved from Ur, in what would today be southwestern Iraq, with Abram and his wife Sarai, who had no children, and Lot, the son of his dead son Haran. They were headed for Canaan, which most people will recognize as the ancient name for Israel and the surrounding lands, but they stopped instead in Haran, a town north of Canaan in Turkey or Syria. (Haran is also the name of Terah's dead son, but there is no connection.)
Terah's reasons for leaving Ur or stopping in Haran are not known. One could imagine a motivation similar to American pioneers traveling to Oklahoma or Oregon; there were fewer people and cheaper land. It was their land of opportunity, away from the hidebound society of Sumer.
But while the personal reasons for the journey are not known, the meaning of the journey is clear. Abraham’s departure from Ur represents the unbroken quest of man to find Christ, a process that will take thousands of years; and one which continues among us, even today, as we wait for the return of Christ.