Daily Devotion for September 24, 2022
(Church of Betton, Britanny. France, c.1400.)
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.
Regular readers know how mind-boggling Sister Rosetta’s guitar playing was. She was years ahead of Chuck Berry and one of the pioneers of rock and roll, but is now practically forgotten — no doubt, because she sang gospel music.
I was gratified to see her appear as #6 in a major list of “The Top Ten Female Guitarists of All Time.”
Prayer to Address God with My Heart (inspired by Jane Austen)
Give me grace Almighty Father, so to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address you with my heart, as with my lips. You are everywhere present, from you no secret can be hidden. May the knowledge of this, teach me to fix my thoughts on you, with reverence and devotion, that I may not pray in vain.
May I now, and on each return of morning, consider how I will spend the day ahead; what thoughts will prevail in my mind? What words will I speak? Will my actions reflect your will, or my own? How far can I acquit myself of evil, and live in the goodness and beauty of my Lord Christ?
Will I think irreverently of you? Will I disobey your commandments? Will I neglect and make excuses for any known duty, or willingly give pain to any human being? Incline me to ask my heart these questions oh! God, throughout the day, to save me from deceiving myself by pride or vanity.
And give me always a thankful sense of the blessings in which I live, of the many comforts of my lot; that I may not deserve to lose them by discontent or indifference. Hear me almighty God, for his sake who has redeemed me, and taught me thus to pray.
To Be Filled of the Spirit
Heavenly Father, fill me with Your Spirit until I am overflowing, as the sun is filled with light, until it spills out of me and illuminates everything it my path. Crowd out the flawed thoughts of my mind with your truth and wisdom; put so much of your knowledge and fear in my heart that there is no longer room for the seductive lies of this world. Comfort me in my pain, convict me in my transgressions, guide me when I am tested. Fill my being with energy and focus to spread your word and do your will, and, with the salvation of your grace through Jesus Christ, this will be enough for me.
As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
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
Did Jesus abolish the law of the Old Testament?
Attachment to Earthly Things
Whatever that idol be,
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
and worship only thee…
~ William Cowper, "O For a Closer Walk with God"
Genesis 21:22-34 (The Message)
The Story of Abraham  - Abimelech
t about that same time, Abimelech and the captain of his troops, Phicol, spoke to Abraham: “No matter what you do, God is on your side. So swear to me that you won’t do anything underhanded to me or any of my family. For as long as you live here, swear that you’ll treat me and my land as well as I’ve treated you.”Abraham said, “I swear it.”
At the same time, Abraham confronted Abimelech over the matter of a well of water that Abimelech’s servants had taken. Abimelech said, “I have no idea who did this; you never told me about it; this is the first I’ve heard of it.”
So the two of them made a covenant. Abraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech. Abraham set aside seven sheep from his flock.
Abimelech said, “What does this mean? These seven sheep you’ve set aside.” Abraham said, “It means that when you accept these seven sheep, you take it as proof that I dug this well, that it’s my well.”
That’s how the place got named Beersheba (the Oath-Well), because the two of them swore a covenant oath there. After they had made the covenant at Beersheba, Abimelech and his commander, Phicol, left and went back to Philistine territory.
Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and worshiped God there, praying to the Eternal God. Abraham lived in Philistine country for a long time.
Notes on the Scripture
We learn today that Abimelech’s tribe are called “Philistines”, the first time we encounter them in Genesis. (This is actually the second time the word “Philistine” appears in the Bible. In Genesis 10:14, we learn that the Philistines are the descendants of a man named Casluhim, a great-grandson of Noah.) Abraham, unlike many Hebrew leaders to come after him, lives in peace with these Philistines.
as painted by Botticelli.
Beersheba is a spot whose significance is completely out of proportion to its size, for it was always a tiny town, struggling to survive at the northern edge of the Negev desert. Annual rainfall in the area is about eight inches, which would make it a true desert, incapable of sustaining a human population; however, due to a freak of geography, rainfall in the surrounding mountains collects and flows to an underground reservoir; this is the aquifer which Abraham taps with his well, and the reason a town can exist there. Still, the population was only 4,000 people as late as 1948 (when Palestine was partitioned).
It is named and renamed “Beersheba” several times in the Bible, because the name can mean either “seven wells” or “oath well(s)”. (Isaac will later dig seven wells there, and the spot will again be named Beersheba!)
The oddest thing about all this is: What are Philistines doing in the middle of the Negev? It is far inland, starting just south of the Dead Sea. But most archaeologists agree, based on the scarce evidence available to them, that the Philistines were a seafaring people, somehow associated with the Phoenicians, and part of a group that attacked Egypt by sea around 1200 B.C. Perhaps Abimelech’s forebears had been defeated in a battle with Egypt and had fled, or been sent by a Pharaoh to occupy the area. We will probably never know.