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Daily Devotion for October 19, 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.
Country singer Alan Jackson does a nice job with "How Great Thou Art"
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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 Prayer of Jabez
And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain." So God granted him what he requested.
I Chronicles 4:10
Genesis 43:1-15 (ESV)
Joseph's Brothers Return to Egypt
Now the famine was severe in the land. And when they had eaten the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. But if you will not send him, we will not go down. . . . ”
Israel said, “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?” They replied, “The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ What we told him was in answer to these questions. Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?”
And Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.”
Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight.
Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”
Notes on the Scripture
Israel (Jacob) is the patriarch of the family, and is still in charge, but by this point of the story his leadership seems tainted by self-interest, fear and vacillation. The famine is severe — starvation is a real possibility — and yet Jacob does not send to buy grain, but rather procrastinates. He will not make the difficult decision.
It is Judah who forces the issue; and so, another character comes to the forefront of the story. Israel has abandoned his duty to the nation (which numbers, at this point, perhaps 70 people) in favor of his personal attachment to his two children by Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin, one of whom he believes dead.
He bemoans that Judah — whom he has sent to face Pharaoh and possibly be killed — should have even mentioned that Benjamin existed, thus putting his favorite in the least jeopardy. How this must sound to the ten brothers who have actually traveled to Egypt at risk to their lives, to be criticized for even telling Pharaoh that Benjamin exists!
It is Judah who "steps up to the plate" and puts his own life on the line, guaranteeing Benjamin's safety. He will do what is necessary to save the entirety of the tribe. His father treats him no better than a king might treat a commoner, for Judah acknowledges that Israel values his life so little, that he might take it simply as surety for the life of his favorite. (Previously, we saw the same attitude, when Reuben offered his children — Jacob's grandchildren — as surety for Benjamin's safety.)
Ironically, in the distant future after Solomon's death, the nation of "Israel" will become the lesser half of a divided Hebrew nation; the greater part, including Jerusalem, will be known as the Kingdom of Judah.
Of course, Judah, Reuben, and Simeon are stained by their treatment of their brother Joseph. But they have grown; in effect, they have developed the moral strength to pay penance for the crime of their youth.
Jacob's contribution is to send luxuries and money to help ease the situation. Although this is commendable as a political stratagem, there is an overriding sense of the effete to it. It is grain, not luxuries, that fuels the power of a ruler. All Israel has to offer is self-indulgence; it is his children who have become the major forces in the drama.