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Daily Devotion for November 5, 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.
Prayer for Purity of Worship
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires are known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you and worthily praise your holy name. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer of Submission
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
Prayer for True Thought
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of your law, so that we might know our sin, and your Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short. Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and so guide me, that the clever words of men will never replace the truth which you have put into my heart. Through Christ I pray,
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
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.
Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.
In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
Genesis 47:13-22 (ESV)
Joseph and the Famine 
Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought. And Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house.
And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.” And Joseph answered, “Give your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.” So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. He supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year.
And when that year was ended, they came to him the following year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent. The herds of livestock are my lord's. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”
So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them. The land became Pharaoh's. As for the people, he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other. Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land.
Notes on the Scripture
This description of Joseph's consolidation of wealth and power in the Pharaoh confounds the understanding of both Bible scholars and Egyptologists. Early Egyptian history was unbelievably complex, and our understanding of it is based on limited information, for it occurred at the dawn of the written word. By the time of Jacob, Egypt had already had somewhere between 15 and 18 different and identifiable dynasties.
Most likely, Joseph was instrumental in the rise of the 18th dynasty. This is the most famous of all the Egyptian dynasties today, for it was the dynasty of Tutankhamen and Nefertiti. It spanned the years 1550 B.C.to 1292 B.C., which would put it at least roughly during the time associated with Jacob and the formation of Israel as a cohesive tribe. Moreover, Ramses the Great ruled from about 1279 B.C to 1213 B.C. and, although he is not named in the Bible, most depictions of Moses and the Exodus assume he was the pharaoh of Moses' time.
Thus, Joseph's Machiavellian usurpation of land and livestock, and the centralization of ownership in the Egyptian monarchy, was instrumental in the greatness of ancient Egypt. For Joseph's concentration of riches in the monarchy, uniting an unstable melange of squabbling and fighting tribes into a stable central figure, created a superior form of government. We think of absolute monarchies as archaic, but at the time, they were a huge advance in civilization.