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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.

Daily Devotion for June 26, 2017

<i>Jacob with Laban’s Flock</i>, by Jusepe de Ribera, ca. 1630
Jacob with Laban’s Flock, by Jusepe de Ribera, ca. 1630. Jacob seems rather furtive here, as he deceives Laban.



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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.


For the Presence of God

O  God, be present with me always, dwell within my heart. With thy light and thy Spirit guide my soul, my thoughts, and all my actions, that I may teach thy Word, that thy healing power may be in me and in all the saints of thy church universal.


A Prayer in Darkness of the Mind

This much, O heaven — if I should brood or rave,
Pity me not; but let the world be fed,
Yea, in my madness if I strike me dead,
Heed you the grass that grows upon my grave.

If I dare snarl between this sun and sod,
Whimper and clamour; give me grace to own,
In sun and rain and fruit in season shown, The shining silence of the mercy of God.

Thank God the stars are set beyond my power,
If I must travail in a night of wrath,
Thank God my tears will never vex a moth,
Nor any curse of mine cut down a flower.

Men say the sun was darkened: yet I had
Thought it beat brightly, even on Calvary:
And He that hung upon the Torturing Tree
Heard all the crickets singing, and was glad.



[“Thank God my tears will never vex a moth.”]


Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.


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.

<i>St. Veronica</i> by Hans Memling, ca. 1480.
St. Veronica by Hans Memling, ca. 1480. (See full-size)

Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 30:14-43 (TLB)

The Story of Jacob [5] - Jacob’s Flocks

One day during the wheat harvest, Reuben found some mandrakesMandrake is a leafy plant whose roots look peculiarly like a human being. This gave rise to a peasant superstition that a woman who ate mandrake was more likely to conceive a child. (See the illustration below.) growing in a field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel begged Leah to give some of them to her.

But Leah angrily replied, “Wasn’t it enough to steal my husband? And now will you steal my son’s mandrakes too?”

That evening as Jacob was coming home from the fields, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me tonight!” she said; “for I am hiring you with some mandrakes my son has found!” So he did. And God answered her prayers and she became pregnant again, and gave birth to her fifth son. She named him Issachar (meaning “Wages”), for she said, “God has repaid me for giving my slave girl to my husband.” Then once again she became pregnant, with a sixth son. She named him Zebulun (meaning “Gifts”), for she said, “God has given me good gifts for my husband. Now he will honor me, for I have given him six sons.” Afterwards she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.

mandrake root
Old illustration of
mandrake roots.

Then God remembered about Rachel’s plight, and answered her prayers by giving her a child. For she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. “God has removed the dark slur against my name,” she said. And she named him Joseph (meaning “May I also have another!”), for she said, “May Jehovah give me another son.”

Soon after the birth of Joseph to Rachel, Jacob said to Laban, “I want to go back home. Let me take my wives and children—for I earned them from you—and be gone, for you know how fully I have paid for them with my service to you.”

“Please don’t leave me,” Laban replied, “for a fortune-teller that I consulted told me that the many blessings I’ve been enjoying are all because of your being here. How much of a raise do you need to get you to stay? Whatever it is, I’ll pay it.”

Jacob replied, “You know how faithfully I’ve served you through these many years, and how your flocks and herds have grown. For it was little indeed you had before I came, and your wealth has increased enormously; Jehovah has blessed you from everything I do! But now, what about me? When should I provide for my own family?”

What wages do you want?” Laban asked again. Jacob replied, “If you will do one thing, I’ll go back to work for you. Let me go out among your flocks today and remove all the goats that are speckled or spotted, and all the black sheep. Give them to me as my wages. Then if you ever find any white goats or sheep in my flock, you will know that I have stolen them from you!”

“All right!” Laban replied. “It shall be as you have said!”

So that very day Laban went out and formed a flock for Jacob of all the male goats that were ringed and spotted, and the females that were speckled and spotted with any white patches, and all of the black sheep. He gave them to Jacob’s sons to take them three days’ distance, and Jacob stayed and cared for Laban’s flock. Then Jacob took fresh shoots from poplar, almond, and sycamore trees, and peeled white streaks in them, and placed these rods beside the watering troughs so that Laban’s flocks would see them when they came to drink; for that is when they mated.

So the flocks mated before the white-streaked rods, and their offspring were streaked and spotted, and Jacob added them to his flock. Then he divided out the ewes from Laban’s flock and segregated them from the rams, and let them mate only with Jacob’s black rams. Thus he built his flocks from Laban’s. Moreover, he watched for the stronger animals to mate, and placed the peeled branches before them, but didn’t with the feebler ones. So the less healthy lambs were Laban’s and the stronger ones were Jacob’s! As a result, Jacob’s flocks increased rapidly and he became very wealthy, with many servants, camels, and donkeys.

Notes on the Scripture

There is a lot of “Bible story” in the history of Jacob, and not a lot of theological content; so we will have long readings, in the easy-to-read Living Bible translation, and not a lot of commentary.

It is a bit shocking to see all the trickery and superstition among the ancestors of Christ. Jacob is practically a con man! Once again, this illustrates the understanding of morality that first came to human beings through the law of Moses.

endless knot

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Matthew 5:40 (NASB): If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.

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