Daily Devotion for April 21, 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.
Non fia mai che nell'inferno
Gran Dio, giammai
Music sometimes attributed to Alessandro Stradella (1639-1682)
Prayer to the Holy Spirit to be with Me This Day
In utter humility, before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I come before you this morning, Eternal Spirit of God, to offer myself, my soul and body to you. I live in awe of your purity, your justice, and the power of your love. You are the strength and light of my soul, for without you I have neither life nor goodness. I desire never to grieve you by unfaithfulness, and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against you.
Mercifully guard my every thought; and grant that I may always watch for your light, and listen to your voice, and follow your gracious inspirations. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son, to listen first for your voice in everything I may say or do, this day and always,
For Those with Senility and Their Caretakers
Holy Jesus, look down with love and sympathy on all those who are losing or have lost the function of their mind and memory. Bless them, that may not suffer distress. Send your Holy Spirit to comfort them in their anger and confusion.
And bless also those who love and care for them. We cannot understand what goes on within their minds, Lord; so help us to understand them, to love them, and to care for them. Give us your eternal patience, that we might provide to them such comfort as is possible, and the strength to help them, day after day, without hope of thanks or recovery.
Bless us all in our distress, O Holy Jesus, who always looked with love and sympathy on those with burdens; and lighten our burden, I beseech you, if it be Your will.
[Loving people we cannot understand.]
Oh God Almighty, send me Your light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may Your mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.
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.
The Burial of Sarah, by Tom Lovell
Beware, I pray thee, of presuming that thou art saved. If thy heart be renewed, if thou shalt hate the things that thou didst once love, and love the things that thou didst once hate; if thou hast really repented; if there be a thorough change of mind in thee; if thou be born again, then hast thou reason to rejoice.
But if there be no vital change, no inward godliness; if there be no love to God, no prayer, no work of the Holy Spirit, then thy saying "I am saved" is but thine own assertion, and it may delude, but it will not deliver thee.
~ Charles Spurgeon
Genesis 23:10-16 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham  - Ephron the Hittite
Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites, and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, of all who went in at the gate of his city, “No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the sight of the sons of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead.”
Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. And he said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, “But if you will, hear me: I give the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.”
Ephron answered Abraham, “My lord, listen to me: a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.” Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants.
Notes on the Scripture
The negotiation for purchase of the land is very Eastern in flavor, mannered and artificial. Ephron insists that he will give the land to Abraham; Abraham then insists that he will pay for it. Ephron then slips a price delicately into the conversation, saying that a field worth 400 shekels of silver is nothing between friends, he will give it freely so that Abraham can bury his dead. Thus Abraham knows the size of the gift to give in return. This is witnessed by a group of Hittites, since there is no county courthouse where a deed might be recorded!
There is another oddity about the transaction: Abraham is buying land that God has already given to him! But God has not given a timetable for possession and, in fact, possession of all of Canaan will be bought with blood in the centuries and millennia to follow.
But Abraham, as he did with Abimelech in Beersheba, chooses peace with his neighbors; for the Hittites have given him no offense. Besides, his tribe is tiny and the Hittites are powerful; the day of Hebrew conquest lies far in the future.
As we learned yesterday, the site later becomes a city, known as Hebron or “Kiriath-arba” — these names came later and were added to Genesis. Hebron, which sounds more modern, actually might have come first; it comes from a word meaning “unite” or “friend” in Hebrew; and this sense, of a meeting place of different peoples, is reflected in the Arabic name for the town, Al-Khalil or Ibrahim Al-Khalil, “Abraham the Friend”.
These names reflect the peaceful co-existence shown in today's Scripture. It is rather wistful, as the area has been torn by bloodshed continuously since Abraham's time. (Even today, Israelis and Palestinians continue to fight over it.) We do not know how the Hittites were driven out, but it was not likely to be peaceful. By the time Joshua conquered Hebron, it had already been taken by the rather mysterious Anak and his three sons, whence it got the temporary name “Kiriath-arba”, the “town of four giants”.