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Daily Devotion for September 24, 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.
Prayer for the Day
O my God, I offer you all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of your only son, Jesus Christ. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to His infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of His infinite love.
O my God, I ask you for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill your holy will, to accept the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in Heaven for all eternity.
Prayer for Deliverance
Dear Lord, grant me, I beseech you, your divine helping grace. Endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to your will. You know my misery and suffering. I flee to you, my only hope and refuge, for relief and comfort, trusting to your infinite love and compassion; that in due time, you will deliver me from all the trials of this life and turn my distress into comfort. I rejoice in your mercy. I exalt and praise your holy name, oh Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: now and forever.
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.
Lord, I don't ask for a faith that would move yonder mountain. I can take enough dynamite and move it if it needs movin'. I pray, Lord, for enough faith to move me.
~ Norman Allen
Genesis 37:1-2 (ESV)
Introduction to Joseph
Jacob lived in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan.
These are the generations of Jacob.
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives.
Notes on the Scripture
After all the difficulties of reading an Epistle, I thought it would be fun to read another ancient Bible story, and since we left off studying the story of Abraham during the life of Jacob, it seems like a good idea to read the story of Joseph. (However, we are going to take Wedenesdays and Sundays off, to study New Testament excerpts, to give us some variety.)
Not many of us are too terribly clear about Joseph. We might remember taking out our crayons in Sunday school, to draw a "coat of many colors", or remember that he went to Egypt for a while. It's a good story, though, and important in understanding the continuum of Hebrew history. For where Exodus is the story of how Moses brought the Jews out of Egypt, Joseph is the story of how they came to be there.
The Pentateuch is one of very few good narrative histories that exists of events before 1500 B.C., and the only one about the lower Middle East. While secular scholars sometimes spend their lives trying to prove that it is fictional, or "mythical", I don't believe them. There are no hard facts to disprove anything in it. The most common attack is that, say, there is no other record or evidence of such-and-such a town where Abraham is said to have lived; and yet, every once in a while, archaeologists will "discover" a site that shows that the skeptics were wrong, and the Bible is right.
Genesis and Exodus are unique; they were preserved and handed down as a living part of Hebrew culture, because the Hebrews themselves were unique. They were chosen by God to receive His word and bring it to us. There are parts of Genesis that archaeologists now admit are true, which appear in no other contemporary writing.
Jacob was also known as "Israel", and it is he for whom Israel is named. He was the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, and was the third and final patriarch of the Hebrews. He had twelve sons — of whom Joseph is one — who became the patriarchs of twelve great tribes, the Tribes of Israel.
So the story of Joseph is the story of one of Jacob/Israel's twelve sons. It is the point where God's promise to Abraham begins to be fulfilled, for the great nation that Abraham was to found begins to grow in size and organization.
Keeping track of Jacob's wives is tricky. He was supposed to marry Leah, but loved her sister, Rachel. Suffice it to say that Jacob eventually took both of them as wives. Then, Rachel and Leah found additional wives for Jacob to increase the size of the family: Bilhah and Zilpah. Their children were considered fully legitimate, so the twelve tribes of Israel had four mothers.
But Rachel, the wife of Jacob's heart, had only two of the twelve sons, Joseph and Benjamin; and this will come to play an important part of our story.