Daily Devotion for October 18, 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 wonderful old Golden Gate Quartet vows they "ain't gonna' study war no mo'."
Prayer for the Morning
Father, as I face this new day, let me be aware of the work you have done for me as I slept. I praise you that your loving care never slumbers, but has been with me while I was least aware of it; and that you renew me and the whole world, fresh every day, preparing your plans for me.
I pray that I may seek your will this day, your plan for my life, and carry out your plan in my every action. I lay my hopes and fears on an altar before you, that your Holy Spirit may guide my hopes toward the light of your holiness, and may quiet my fears with the knowledge of your infinite peace, in total confidence that your grace will save me from the evils of this world. In Jesus' name I pray,
For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human race, O Lord; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth.
That, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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.
“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”
~ Mother Teresa
Genesis 42:26-38 (ESV)
Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt 
Then they loaded their donkeys with their grain and departed. And as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey fodder at the lodging place, he saw his money in the mouth of his sack. He said to his brothers, “My money has been put back; here it is in the mouth of my sack!” At this their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?”
When they came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, . . .
As they emptied their sacks, behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack. And when they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid.
And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has come against me.”
Then Reuben said to his father, “Kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you.” But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is the only one left. If harm should happen to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.”
Notes on the Scripture
Imagine Jacob's dismay when the caravan returns from Egypt. The boys still have all their money, but they are missing a brother, for Joseph has kept Simeon as a hostage! And not only Jacob, but the sons are also filled with fear, because of the strange occurrences. They have been accused of spying, one of their number has been kept as a hostage, and now their money has mysteriously appeared in their sacks. (The "sacks" might be luggage; the Scripture sometimes differentiates them from the "bags" in which they purchased grain was stored.)
But they have no way of knowing how the money got there. They suspect that God has become involved and, since they are terrible sinners for what they did to their brother Joseph, they fear God's wrath. God could hardly be rewarding them for their good conduct. Possibly they fear magic of some sort. Perhaps, if they return to Egypt, they will be accused of stealing it? Can they possibly let another of their brothers die?
Jacob does not come off as a totally sympathetic figure here, either, for he is rather selfish. He openly favors his two sons by Rachel — Joseph and Benjamin — and treats his other sons as a lower class of person. Jacob's preference for Rachel's sons is so pronounced that Reuben offers Jacob's own grandchildren to him as hostages. This seems quite odd, that Jacob might hold his own grandchildren hostage, but it shows the strength of Jacob's preference for Joseph and Benjamin.
In truth, the money in their sacks is a blessing that springs from the love Joseph has for them, despite their enormous crimes against him. Remember, they came close to murdering him; but this is how much Joseph loves God. There are several parallels between Joseph and Christ, and his forgiveness and love for his brothers is most pronounced.
But this blessing of love makes them confused and afraid, because of their own sin. They cannot accept a gift of love because of their guilt. As Emerson so eloquently put it, "Commit a crime and the world is made of glass."
And, in fact, Joseph is punishing them by letting them stew in their guilt. Joseph loves them, for he has accepted the love of God, but he will let them do their penance first. Just so, we often find that we (or others) pay a double price for sin: even Christians who will be forgiven for their sin at the final judgment, often must endure punishment during their life on earth.