Daily Devotion for November 3, 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.
(Note: Composers frequently repeat, omit, or put phrases out of order.)
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Prayer for the Morning
Oh my God, you know my weakness and failings, and that without your help I can accomplish nothing for the good of souls, my own and others'. Grant me, therefore, the help of your grace, according to my particular needs this day. Enable me to see the tasks you will set before me in the daily routine of my life, and let me set my hand to these tasks with the vigor and joy of one with whom you abide. And if I should face trials, suffering or failure, I pray that your hand will lift me up, and I may be refreshed. In the name of Christ, I pray,
Prayer for the Departed
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend the souls of your servants departed from this life and beseech you to grant them rest in the place of your rest, where all the blessed repose, and where the light of your countenance shines forever.
And I pray also to grant that my present life may be godly, sober, and blameless, that, I too may be made worthy to enter into your heavenly Kingdom with those I love but see no longer: for you are the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Repose of your departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto you I ascribe all glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Holy God, I pray to be filled with your Holy Spirit for the rest of this day. Let me go forth, walking with your Spirit in my heart, that I may be filled with the joy and energy and praise for your entire creation, thankful in the many gifts you have given me, and showing forth your light in my every word and deed. This I pray in Christ's name,
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
Genesis 47:1-12 (ESV)
Jacob's Family Settles in Goshen
So Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan. They are now in the land of Goshen.” And from among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were.” They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants' flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.”
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”
Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the days of the years of your life?” And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.”
And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father's household with food, according to the number of their dependents.
Notes on the Scripture
And so, the deal is struck. Jacob, the last lone patriarch, whose line will save the souls of mankind meets the absolute ruler of, arguably, the earth's most advanced civilization. It is an odd meeting between the two most powerful men on earth. It is somewhat reminiscent of John's account of the meeting between Pilate and Jesus (John 18:28-38), 1500 years later, an odd juxtaposition of men representing God, on the one hand, and the earth's greatest temporal power, on the other.
Neither really has any particular desire to meet or deal with the other. But Pharaoh must befriend Jacob for political reasons — the power that has come to him through Jacob's son, Joseph. And Jacob, whose anointed heritage is at the point of starvation, seizes the lifeline that God has provided to him, albeit from such an unlikely vehicle as the pagan Pharaoh of Egypt.
Jacob and his kin are subjected to Pharaoh; but God has a purpose in this, as we will see played out in the rest of the Old Testament. Pharaoh has little notion that it is Jacob, not he, who will dominate history. Pharaoh's heritage will be a traveling exhibition of beautiful gold and ivory ornaments, the burial equipage of one of his line, Tutankhamun; while Jacob's heritage will be the salvation of all humanity, a great player in the most widely published book in the world, and a dynasty that will still exist intact 3500 years later.
And although their meeting is friendly, neither appreciates the extent of their bargain. For Jacob's benefit will not simply be food for a time, until the rain returns; the Hebrews' sojourn in Egypt will be the cauldron that anneals them into the great cohesive and influential force they are destined to become. And Egypt's benefit, like the benefit of all nations, will be missionaries of Christ, who will bring to them the Good News of Christ, and offer them the possibility of salvation.