Daily Devotion for May 23, 2017
by Henry Ossawa Tanner, ca. 1989.
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 Faithfulness in the Use of this World's Goods
Almighty God, whose loving hand has given me all that I possess; Grant me grace that I may honor you with my substance, and remembering the account which I must one day give, may be a faithful steward of your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for All People
O God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, I humbly pray to you for all sorts and conditions of humanity; that it might please you to make your Word known to them and bring your saving health to all nations. In particular I pray for the entirety of your church, in all of its many forms; that it may be guided and governed by your Holy Spirit, and that all who profess your name and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth. May all of us live in that unity of spirit which our faith in Christ provides to us, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.
Finally, I commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are ill or in distress, in their mind, body, or circumstances. May it please you to comfort and relieve them in accordance with their needs, giving them patience during their suffering, and a fortunate outcome to all of their problems. And this I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who was always pleased to relieve the suffering of those he encountered.
[Honoring God with my substance.]
Into your hands, O Lord, Jesus Christ, my God, I commend my spirit. Bless me and all those who pray in faith of You this day; save us and grant unto us everlasting life.
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.
"God understands our prayers even when we struggle to find the words to say them."
Genesis 26:18-25 (ESV)
The Story of Isaac  - Rehoboth and Beersheba
And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him.
Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah. And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”
From there he went up to Beersheba. And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.” So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well.
Notes on the Scripture
Isaac, having been asked to leave Gerar by the Philistines there because his household has become so wealthy and powerful, must find a new place to pitch his tent. By now, Isaac’s “household” would not be him, his family, and a few servants. It would be more like a small tribe.
Isaac is immediately caught up in disputes about land and, even more troublesome, water; this is very arid land, practically desert, and a well or water source is the most valuable possession one could have. Isaac must find or dig a well to live. But the first times he digs and finds water, the Philistines living in the valley claim the water as their own. This is not unusual. A well gives access to what is essentially an underground river or lake. There is a possibility that the Philistines who claimed the water were correct.
But Isaac does not fight with them. He names the wells “Esek”, which is Hebrew for “contention”, and “Sitnah”, which means “enmity”. Instead, he continues to move along until he is far enough from them to dig a well that they do not claim. He called this well Rehoboth, which means “a broad place” or “spacious area”.
Yet again, Isaac moves, although we are not told whether he leaves part of his household or flocks in Rehoboth. He goes to Beersheba, an area really founded by his father, Abraham. There the Lord visits him, to renew the covenant He had made with Abraham. And again, like his father before him, he digs a well in Beersheba, builds an altar, and pitches his own tent at the very margin of the uninhabitable desert.