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Inspirational Image of the Day

G-MM™: Meditation Moment

The Free Press WV

Let all who take refuge in you rejoice, O Lord. Let us ever sing for joy. Let those who confess your name raise up their voice, filling the air with glorious noise. Spread your protection over us, mighty God, that we who love your name may exalt you before all the people of the earth. Let the quiet and the shy find their courage so that they may sing and shout to the sky, “There is one great God who rules over us all, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth is His only Son”.

May I be blessed to help the blind see your glory and the deaf hear your praise, lest they surely die. For they must be told: Every heart will find righteousness and eternal life in the holy name of Christ, and nowhere else. Make me your trumpet, make me your lighthouse; let me proclaim to the very end of the earth, that Christ is King!
Amen.


Proverbs 15:5 (NKJV)

A fool despises his father’s instruction,
But he who receives correction is prudent.


1 Peter 1:19-21 (ESV)
The Word Made Flesh [2]

He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.


Notes on the Scripture

Another long sentence! This is actually a continuation of the Scripture from Sunday, but once again, we must take the time to read it slowly and thoroughly in order to get a full measure of meaning from it.

Peter once again reminds us that Christ existed from the beginning of time. We could not, however, find him. He was a “light that shined in darkness”, but a light which the darkness could not (and cannot) comprehend. We were living in that darkness, and thus, we could not comprehend Christ.

So the light took the form of a man, to ensure that we could see him and relate to him, to see what was possible: victory over death. He was made “manifest” — that is, made into something we could see and hear and touch — so that we might really grasp that God exists, and hear God’s word, and know God’s heart, which is love.

All this He did, so that our faith and hope might be in God. By our nature, our faith and hope are in things of this world: money, pride, status, the satiation of our bodies and our egos. Our nature is to believe what we can see. So God made Himself into someone we could see. He took the eternal fight of good and evil into the visible world. Christ was God bringing the fight into enemy territory, in a sense.

And the purpose of Christ becoming a human being was that our faith and hope would be in God.

G-MM™: Meditation Moment

The Free Press WV

O God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, I humbly pray to you for all sorts and conditions of humanity; that it might please you to make your Word known to them and bring your saving health to all nations. In particular I pray for the entirety of your church, in all of its many forms; that it may be guided and governed by your Holy Spirit, and that all who profess your name and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth. May all of us live in that unity of spirit which our faith in Christ provides to us, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.

Finally, I commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are ill or in distress, in their mind, body, or circumstances. May it please you to comfort and relieve them in accordance with their needs, giving them patience during their suffering, and a fortunate outcome to all of their problems. And this I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who was always pleased to relieve the suffering of those he encountered.
Amen.


Genesis 26:18-25 (ESV)
The Story of Isaac [6] - 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.

G-MM™: Meditation Moment

The Free Press WV

I thank You for the temporal blessings of this world — the refreshing air, the light of the sun, the food that renews strength, the raiment that clothes, the dwelling that shelters, the sleep that gives rest, the starry canopy of night, the summer breeze, the flowers’ sweetness, the music of flowing streams, the happy endearments of family, kindred, and friends. Things animate, things inanimate, minister to my comfort. My cup runs over.

Do not allow me to be insensible to these daily mercies. Your hand bestows blessings; Your power averts evil. I bring my tribute of thanks for spiritual graces, the full warmth of faith, the cheering presence of our Spirit, the strength of Your restraining will, Your spiking of hell’s artillery. Blessed be my sovereign Lord!
Amen.


Proverbs 14:35 (NKJV)
The king’s favor is toward a wise servant,
But his wrath is against him who causes shame.


Genesis 26:12-17 (ESV)
The Story of Isaac [5] - Abimelech

And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy.

He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.”

So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there.


Notes on the Scripture

Unlike many of the places in Genesis, the location of Gerar and the Valley of Gerar has been found in an archeological dig. It is about 15 miles northwest of Beersheba. Gerar was a city of notable size in the late Bronze Age, especially since it grew up in the middle of nowhere, in the northern Negev. It exists on what is now called a “wadi”, a river that often runs dry (or at the worst, a dry streambed that occasionally fills with water).

Like the Jews in 20th century Palestine, Isaac comes to a country that is already inhabited and becomes much richer than the people living there. He is at peace with them, as he submits himself to their political leadership, but as he becomes richer and more powerful, the peace becomes more and more difficult. For, at its heart, political power lies in wealth, especially when wealth consists of the basic ability to feed a large number of people.

The Philistines seem intent on not becoming prosperous. Once before, Abraham had prospered in the area by digging wells; but rather than taking over the wells and building communities around them, the Philistines have filled them in so that they cannot be used!

And so, the Philistines come to fear Isaac, as the possibility that he might defeat them in battle grows with his prosperity, and their leader, Abimelech, tells him he will have to leave. Isaac does not intend conquest and, thus, does not fight the decision. He moves his household away from the city of Gerar and out into the countryside, along the valley created by the wadi called, here, the Valley of Gerar.

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