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Daily Devotion for July 3, 2017


<i>Rachel Hiding the Idols from her Father Laban</i>, by Fontebasso Francesco, ca. 1750.
Rachel Hiding the Idols from her Father Laban, by Fontebasso Francesco, ca. 1750.

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.

You Belong to Me is a Christian song by Grey Holiday, even though the video (a clip from the movie Fireproof) gives it a romantic twist.




An Old American Prayer for the Work Day

Almighty God, I thank Thee for the job of this day. May I find gladness in all its toil and difficulty, its pleasure and success, and even in its failure and sorrow. I would look always away from myself, and behold the glory and the need of the world, that I may have the will and the strength to bring the gift of gladness to others; that with them I stand to bear the burden and heat of the day and offer Thee the praise of work well done.

Amen.

Thanks for God’s Word

I  thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that the things which were hidden from the wise and prudent, and which many prophets and kings desired to see and could not, are revealed unto us babes in your written Word. I thank you that I have the Scriptures to search, and that they testify of Christ, for in them I can find eternal life.

I thank you, Father, for the preservation of your teachings through time, and despite the constant efforts of men to destroy it or change it, that through them I might find patience, and hope, and truth, and life. And having learned so much, I thank you that I can hear with my ears your wonderful works, the testimony of the earth and the spirit, like a light shining in darkness. In Christ’s name, I pray and render you thanks,

Amen.

Benediction

If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.

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.


Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question

What verse tells us that Scripture comes from God?

Answer: 2 Timothy 3:16



two girls in devotional prayer

Walk in the Light

Walk in the light, the beautiful light.
Come where the dew drops of mercy shine bright.
Shine all around us by day and by night.
Jesus, the light of the world.

~ Mrs. J. V. Coombs (1890)


Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 31:22-44 (TLB)

The Story of Jacob [7] - God is My Witness (Mizpah)

So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a monument, and told his men to gather stones and make a heap, and Jacob and Laban ate together beside the pile of rocks. They named it “The Witness Pile”—“Jegar-sahadutha,” in Laban’s language, and “Galeed” in Jacob’s.

“This pile of stones will stand as a witness against us if either of us trespasses across this line,” Laban said. So it was also called “The Watchtower” (Mizpah). For Laban said, “May the Lord see to it that we keep this bargain when we are out of each other’s sight. And if you are harsh to my daughters, or take other wives, I won’t know, but God will see it. This heap,” Laban continued, “stands between us as a witness of our vows that I will not cross this line to attack you and you will not cross it to attack me. I call upon the God of Abraham and Nahor, and of their father, to destroy either one of us who does.”

So Jacob took oath before the mighty God of his father, Isaac, to respect the boundary line. Then Jacob presented a sacrifice to God there at the top of the mountain, and invited his companions to a feast, and afterwards spent the night with them on the mountain. Laban was up early the next morning and kissed his daughters and grandchildren, and blessed them, and returned home.


Notes on the Scripture

L

aban still cannot quite swallow the idea that Jacob’s property and family belong to Jacob. He sees Jacob as a sort of subordinate officer in Laban’s tribe. But his pride has been stymied by the Lord, who has enjoined him from either blessing or cursing Jacob.

Thus, he cannot make war on Jacob or physically force him to remain in Laban’s homeland; neither can he entice Jacob (or his daughters) to remain as part of his fief in Mesopotamia. He cannot even make Jacob his heir: for Jacob’s destiny is not as Laban’s heir in present-day Iraq, but as Isaac’s heir in Canaan.

We see one great difference when they give different names to the same place. Semitic language has already differentiated between Laban’s Aramean name for the Witness Pile, and Jacob’s Hebrew “Galeed.” (Oddly enough, thousands of years later, the native language of Jesus and his disciples will be an outgrowth of Aramaic. Hebrew was already a dead language by then, used only for religious reasons, primarily reading Scripture.)

Laban’s only recourse is to allow Jacob his independence in a foreign land, to accept the will of God, and to try to ensure that Jacob will not attack him in the future. We see an odd bit of polytheism here, for Laban honors the God of Jacob, while still worshipping his own gods. And remember, Rachel has several of Laban’s household gods hidden in her saddle!

“Mizpah” is Hebrew for “lord watch over me.” Largely because of this passage, it became a common terms to mark an agreement between two people, with God as their witness. Laban can only trust in Jacob’s piety to defend him against future attack.

Most important, in this passage, is that we see an early return to Canaan, the land promised to the heir of Abraham. Jacob is an early paradigm for diaspora followed by a return to Canaan.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“First: Seek God”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 6:25: Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. . . . But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.



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