Devotion for Week of January 25th, 2010

David Brainerd – Missionary to the American Indians<?xml:namespace prefix = o />

Deut. 32:38, “… let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.”

2 Samuel 22:2-3, “And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; [3] The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.”

David Brainerd (1718-1747) was a missionary to the American Indians in New York, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania. Born in Connecticut in 1718, he died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-nine.

It is a lovely evening in the early summer of 1744; and, only a few yards from him, a colony of beavers is building a dam across the stream.  Looking up from the open page before him, he watches the clever little creatures at their task.  They have no more idea that they are observed than he knows that he is being watched by wolfish eyes concealed within the impenetrable foliage.  The red men, as silent and as sinewy as serpents, follow him everywhere and mark his every step.  It is well for him that they do.

For, on his very first journey to the Forks of the Delaware, the insatiable curiosity of the Indians saved his life.  He had been told of a particularly ferocious tribe, living far back in the forests of New Jersey, and he determined to take the gospel to them.  When, towards evening, he saw the smoke of their camp fires, he pitched his tent and resolved to enter the settlement in the morning.

He had been led to expect a hostile reception, but, to his indescribable astonishment, the whole tribe came out to meet him as, soon after sunrise, he approached the wigwams.  The reverence that they exhibited almost took his breath away.  He only learned later that, during the night that he had spent on the outskirts of the village, their sharp eyes had been constantly upon him.  As soon as it was whispered that a white man was coming through the woods, a party of warriors had gone forth to kill him.  But, when they drew near to his tent, they saw the paleface on his knees.  And, even whilst he prayed, a rattlesnake crept to his side, lifted its ugly head as if to strike, flicked its forked tongue almost in his face, and then, without any apparent reason, glided swiftly away into the brushwood. “The Great Spirit is with the paleface!” the Indians said; and they accorded him a prophet's welcome.


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