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Daily Devotion for October 29, 2012

Sinai Desert, Genesis, Bible
Photo of travelers in the Sinai Peninsula



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

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

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.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

Devotional painting of Jacob Ladder, St. Catherine Monastery, Sinai
The Ladder of Divine Ascent (Jacob's Ladder), 12th century, St. Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt.

"The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters is not intellect, but obedience."

~ Oswald Chambers

Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 45:21-28, 46:1-7 (abridged) (ESV)

Joseph's Brothers Return Home

The sons of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey. To each and all of them he gave a change of clothes, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five changes of clothes. . . .

So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. And they told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them.

But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”

So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes.”

Then Jacob set out from Beersheba. The sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They also took their livestock and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, his sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters. All his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.

Notes on the Scripture

So God's great miracle, still with us today, takes a great step forward. Jacob has been out of sorts because of the loss of the two sons he had had with the wife of his heart, Rachel: first the death of Joseph and then, almost fifteen years later, the apparent loss of Benjamin. He has become depressed, and his will to live seems to have left him. His focus on his role as the patriarch of the people of God also seems to have receded.

And so, just as Jacob's life hits its low point and he is resigned to die unhappy, a miracle occurs. His ten other sons come home, bearing not just food to keep them alive, but wagons filled with riches, and Benjamin, and news that his lost son Joseph is not simply alive, but is also one of the most powerful men in Egypt!

But Jacob cares nothing for the power or wealth. "It is enough," he say, that Joseph lives. Jacob will go and see his beloved son before he dies; it is all he wants.

Beersheba, remember (if you were with us when we studied Abraham and Isaac, or know the story) is at the very edge of the Negev Desert, a sort of "last gas for 200 miles" place. It is truly a terrible and desolate desert to the west, across the Sinai Peninsula; although it is not the magnitude of the Sahara or Kalahari, crossing it is a major (and risky) undertaking.

But God appears to Jacob, to give him strength, and to reaffirm His promises to Abraham (Genesis 15:13-14) (This is called "theophany" in theological circles, when God makes a direct appearance to a human.) So Jacob gambles all; this is not a trip, but rather, a migration.

Almost everyone feels some reluctance to commit their heart completely to God. The actions of Jacob are suitable for some thought by all of us, for he commits not only his life, but all of his children and grandchildren, and all that they own, to march into a deadly wasteland, based solely on their faith. How easy and tempting it is for us to retain comfortable habits of thought and action, knowing that we could do better. And age is no excuse; Jacob is quite old by now.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

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