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Daily Devotion for February 19, 2017


<i>Sarah Leading Hagar to Abraham,</i> by Matthias Stom, ca. 1639.
Sarah Leading Hagar to Abraham, by Matthias Stom, ca. 1639.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord's Prayer

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.

Amen.




A Prayer Before Reading Scripture

Open my eyes, gracious Lord, as I turn to your word. I long to know you, to understand life, and to be changed. Examine me, Lord, by the floodlight of your truth.

Amen.

Prayer for Sunday

Heavenly Lord, I think you for this day, when your holy priesthood gathers around the world to celebrate your victory over death, in the resurrection of our Savior, Christ Jesus. Help me always to keep in mind that the Sabbath was made for men, and that your commandment to keep one day holy, not to work and not to suffer others to work, was made for our benefit. Help me understand, Holy God, the benefit to me, both in this world and the next, of taking a day every week to dedicate to you; keep me from the temptation of adding to my worldly wealth on this day, for all wisdom is yours, and you have commanded us to make this a day of rest and worship.

Make me always aware that your commandment extends to making others work; and let me do what is within my power to follow your commandment with my full heart, as you Spirit may guide me.

Amen.

“The Soul of Christ”

Soul of Christ, be my sanctification,
Body of Christ, be my salvation,
Blood of Christ, fill all my veins;
Water of Christ's side, wash out my stains;
Passion of Christ, my comfort be;
O good Jesu, listen to me;
In thy wounds I fain would hide,
Ne'er to be parted from thy side;
Guard me, should the foe assail me;
Call me when my life shall fail me,
Bid me come to thee above,
With thy Saints to sing thy love,
World without end.

Amen.

Benediction

May I go in peace, with God and with his other children, and may we love one another as Christ taught us. May I follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort and help me and all who believe in Him, both in this world and in the world which is to come.

Amen.


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.



endless knot

Proverbs 14:14

The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways,
But a good man will be satisfied from above.



Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 16:1-6 (ESV)

The Story of Abraham [13] - Sarai and Hagar

Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.”

And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived.

And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!”

But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.


Notes on the Scripture

T

his history recounts the life of one of the holiest and most revered patriarchs, Abraham, a man of God. It is quite a jolt when Sarai suggests that Abram commit adultery — and he does it! Yet again, we see how old the text is, because the ten commandments had not yet been handed down. Remember Paul's long discussion of sin and the law in Romans, e.g. “I would not have known sin except through the law.” (Romans 7:7) Abram lives under an ancient relationship with God, just as Adam did. What God wants him to do, He tells him directly. Possibly the only unrighteousness known to Abram is what would become the First Commandment, the most basic law of God; to worship Him as God, and no other.

A few years after they have returned from Egypt — we really have no way of knowing what “ten years” means — Hagar, an Egyptian girl they had brought with them, becomes the first surrogate mother. Abram is making a subtle mistake here; for God has promised him a son by his wife, so the business with Hagar is unnecessary. Still, God has not forbidden it.

And as always, when we have two women and one man (or vice versa), melodrama ensues. Once Hagar is pregnant, she now has something on Sarai because she is the mother of Abram's child, and she lords it over Sarai. But her pridefulness is ill-conceived, because Abram takes Sarai's side and she “deals harshly” with Hagar. What this means is left to our imagination; beating servants was commonplace, but Hagar was pregnant with a child that Sarai wanted, and she would not have risked inducing a miscarriage.

Whatever Sarai did to Hagar, it was harsh enough to make her run off.



Devotional painting of Genesis, Hagar and Ishmael in the DesertText: Hagar and Ishmael in the Desert, Grigory Ugryumov 1785

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