Daily Devotion for March 23, 2012
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.
The great soprano Leontyne Price sings a setting of Ave Maria by Charles Gounod, from a melody by Bach.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.