Daily Devotion for October 20, 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 lovely voice of soprano Carolyn Sampson gives a quiet and lovely moment of praise to the glory of God.
(Laudate pueri, Dominum:
Sicut erat in principio,
Prayer for the Morning
Blessed are you, O Lord my God, King of the universe, who removes sleep from my eyes and slumber from my eyelids. I thank you for all that you have done while I was asleep, watching over me and all your children while we slept unaware, and I pray that my thoughts and acts this day may show forth my love and thanks for you and all you have done for me.
Help me through your Holy Spirit, that I may remember what you have taught me in the Bible and it may show forth in my every deed. Let me not wander into the hands of sin, nor into the hands of pride or perversity, nor into the hands of temptation, nor into the hands of shame, but steer my inclinations towards goodness and charity this morning and all the day. In the name of Christ I pray.
Prayer of Thanks
Thank you, oh source of all abundance, for surrounding me with good things. But help me to remember that nothing of earthly value owns timeless truth. Let your immeasurable blessings transform how I perceive material benefits. Teach me to appreciate unchanging treasures: the wealth of your compassion, the grandeur of your wisdom, and the richness of reconciliation. Lighten my selfishness with simple faith. Help me to reveal your love more joyously. And strengthen me in grace, oh God, always to give the best that serves you most in humble gratitude.
Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Than a house full of feasting with strife.
Genesis 43:16-25 (ESV)
Joseph's Brothers Arrive in Egypt Again
When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” . . .
And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph's house, and they said, “It is because of the money, which was replaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall upon us to make us servants and seize our donkeys.”
So they went up to the steward of Joseph's house and spoke with him at the door of the house, and said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food. And when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each man's money in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it again with us, and we have brought other money down with us to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.”
He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.”
Then he brought Simeon out to them. And when the man had brought the men into Joseph's house and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, they prepared the present for Joseph's coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there.
Notes on the Scripture
The situation is ironic. Joseph's brothers are guilty of a crime — seizing Joseph, plotting to murder him, and finally selling him into slavery. Moreover, they have been brought before the very person against whom the crime was committed and they are entirely in his hands: Joseph himself, now a powerful Egyptian official.
But they do not know the situation. They appear to have stolen the Pharaoh's money on the previous journey, which they did not do. They have been caught red-handed in a crime they did not commit. On the other hand, they think they have gotten away with the crime they actually did commit, the enslavement of their brother. Whereas in reality, the exact opposite is true.
But they carry with them the weight of a great sin and they live in fear of God's wrath for their sin. They live in the expectation of punishment. Joseph would have lived in a great house and the prison would have been in his basement, a practice common throughout history; perhaps "dungeon" would be a more appropriate term. Like all of us, if they approach judgment with a guilty conscience, they approach in fear, for their judge can improve their situation or he can punish them.
As is true through so much of the Bible, their sin will be — and actually, has already been redeemed — by another, their innocent young brother Benjamin. Because Benjamin has come with them, risking his own life even though he had no responsibility for the events, Joseph forgives them; and not to his glory, but to the glory of God.