Daily Devotion for October 15, 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 Morning (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer of Praise (from Psalm 86)
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon you: for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; and no works like those you have done. All nations whom you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; and will glorify your name.
For you are great, and do wondrous things: you are God alone.
Teach me your way, Lord, and I will walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify your name forever.
May the God of peace, who declared victory over death by the resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, make me perfect in every thought and act through His grace, that my life might be pleasing in his sight and that I might share the perfect peace that is only possible through Him, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Genesis 42:9-17 (ESV)
Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt 
And he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land.” They said to him, “No, my lord, your servants have come to buy food. We are all sons of one man. We are honest men. Your servants have never been spies.”
He said to them, “No, it is the nakedness of the land that you have come to see.” And they said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more.”
But Joseph said to them, “It is as I said to you. You are spies. By this you shall be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from this place unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. Or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies.”
And he put them all together in custody for three days.
Notes on the Scripture
Our first impression of Joseph's attitude toward his brothers is that he wants to take revenge, that he takes delight in being able to throw them into fear and confusion. But as we will see later, during his emotional and unguarded speech after Jacob's death, that is not his true feeling. Genesis 50:19-21 will show us what is deep in his heart: "But Joseph said to them, [his brothers] 'Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, do not be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.' And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them."
It is natural that when Joseph so suddenly encountered his brothers, whom he had not seen for something like 15 years (and then, they were holding him captive and considering murder), he would test them. He had an easy vehicle to interrogate them, because Egypt was vulnerable. It was a time of constant war and Egypt was especially vulnerable, since the famine was widespread and Egypt had huge storehouses of grain. The land was "naked" — i.e. there were no crops in the fields — so the stored grain was both a great hoard of wealth to be coveted, and a vulnerability, for if it were seized, Egypt would be powerless. Spies were a legitimate concern, and gave him the excuse he needed to examine foreigners closely.
Of course, Joseph knows his brothers are not spies; but he cannot be sure they do not wish him personal harm. This is a personal, emotional matter: He realizes that they cannot actually hurt him, but he cannot know whether they continue to bear him ill will.
So, he tests them. He puts them into prison for three days (fittingly, the length of time Christ would be dead before His resurrection). He also destroys their family insurance policy, for Jacob had kept back his youngest son Benjamin; if disaster should strike and all ten brothers be lost, their would still be an heir to take over the family. So Joseph requires his family to make itself as fully vulnerable as he himself had been, when sold to the slavers.