Daily Devotion for November 25, 2022
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.
Another Thanksgiving hymn, which we didn’t have room for yesterday. We can never have too much thanks!
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God's own field,
fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.
For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
giving angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.
Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest home.
Text: Henry Alford, 1810-1871
Tune: “St. George’s Windsor” by George J. Elvey, 1816-1893
Prayer to Dedicate This Day to God
Holy God, as I face another day, I know I am going to face many challenges: to my faith, to my patience, to my love for others. I am going to have constant temptations to lapse into sin. Come to me now, Lord, and stay with me all day. Let your Spirit encompass my mind. Let me know your presence. Steer my hand, direct my words, guide my thoughts in everything I think and say and do. I resolve to live this day as a beacon of your glory, the best I can, with your help. I commit myself to give this day to you. In the name of Christ, be with me and help me.
To Witness to Christ
Heavenly Father, Christ left with us his instructions to spread the gospel into every nook and cranny of the world, to let others know about him and find him, to save their souls and bring them into true peace and your ultimate purpose for us. But I am so stupid and ignorant, I do not know what to say. I am so filled with a desire not to offend others that I am afraid to speak up. It is so much easier for me just to sit back and leave everything up to you, or up to professional preachers. I retreat into thinking that this is somebody else’s job.
All One in Christ
Help me dear Lord to do your work. I promise to try, but I cannot do this without your help. Fill me with the fire of your Holy Spirit and give me the words and the strength, if only to witness how much you have meant to me in my own life. Give me strength to plunge straight through feelings of awkwardness or potential hostility, and to offer to you just the simplest witness before others. For I know that if I help only one person to find you, it is worth ten thousand rejections. Bless me to remember, that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
In Christ’s name, I pray,
You’ll never be able to plow a field by turning it over in your mind.
Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.
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.
Dwelling in God
“Love and pity and wish well to every soul in the world; dwell in love, and then you dwell in God.”
~ William Law
Genesis 28:1-9 (ESV)
hen Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.
God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!” Thus Isaac sent Jacob away.
And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.
Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram.
So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.
Notes on the Scripture
The Story of Isaac  - Jacob and Esau Seek Wives
If you are confused by all the names, you aren’t the first or only one! This is a good spot for a recap and simplification of the ancient history of Abraham and his family.
One name that you might want to pay special attention to is the tribal name “Aramean” which is pronounced with four syllables (air-uh-may-un). The Arameans were a rather unimportant tribe of nomads but they have one claim to fame; for some reason, their language became widespread and, 1500 years later, was the primary language that Jesus spoke: Aramaic. It is actually still spoken today in some very tiny pockets of the Middle East.
The place “Paddan-aram” was a rare case where the Arameans actually had their own little kingdom, located today in eastern Turkey. When Abraham first decided to strike out from Mesopotamia, he stopped in this little kingdom, in the village called Haran, which was a comfortable place since his family had Aramean heritage. (Genesis 11:31.) Abraham’s brother remained in Haran when Abraham traveled on to Canaan and his destiny; for God was to make His covenant with Abraham, including giving him and his heirs the land.
But Abraham’s brother also started a large family; this is why Isaac went back there to find his wife, Rebekah, and now why Isaac and Rebekah want their own son to go back there to find a wife. It would be similar to an immigrant to the U.S. going back to the “old country” to find a wife.
When Isaac tells Jacob to marry one of Laban’s daughters, he is telling him to marry his first cousin. We might look askance at that today (although it is legal in many states of the U.S.) but Isaac is clearly most interested in keeping the blood line pure.
Esau, who is not at all a bad son, has inadvertently displeased his parents by taking two wives from local tribes. He tries to make up for this, and please his parents, by also marrying a first cousin, only a cousin on his father’s side instead of his mother’s. Ishmael, you will remember, is Abraham’s first child and thus Isaac’s older brother.
Editor’s Note: Today’s Scripture will be the end of “The Story of Isaac,” so we will take a break from our reading of Genesis until after Christmas. We will pick back up at Genesis 28:10, on January 7, with “The Story of Jacob.” The two stories (Isaac and Jacob) overlap quite a bit, but this is a good stopping point, and Advent starts Sunday.