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Daily Devotion for November 7, 2012

'Jacob Blessing the Children of Joseph' Rembrandt
Jacob Blessing the Children of Joseph by Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1656



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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 Day (written by Jane Austen)

Give us grace almighty Father, so to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address thee with our hearts, as with our lips. Thou art everywhere present, from thee no secret can be hid. May the knowledge of this, teach us to fix our thoughts on thee, with reverence and devotion that we pray not in vain.

May we now, and on each return of night, consider how the past day has been spent by us, what have been our prevailing thoughts, words and actions during it, and how far we can acquit ourselves of evil.

Have we thought irreverently of thee, have we disobeyed thy commandments, have we neglected any known duty, or willingly given pain to any human being? Incline us to ask our hearts these questions oh! God, to save us from deceiving ourselves by pride or vanity

Give us a thankful sense of the blessings in which we live, of the many comforts of our lot; that we may not deserve to lose them by discontent or indifference. Hear us almighty God, for his sake who has redeemed us, and taught us thus to pray.


Prayer for Holiness

Holy God, no one can put together what has crumbled into dust, but you can restore a conscience turned to ashes. You can restore to its former beauty a soul lost and without hope. With you, there is nothing that cannot be redeemed. You are love; You are Creator and Redeemer. I praise you with my every ounce.

I fear the lesson, my God, of the fall of Lucifer, full of pride. I pray you will keep me from such a terrible fate; keep me safe with the power of your Grace; save me from falling away from you. Save me from doubt. Incline my heart to hear your mysterious voice every moment of my life and thus be led to call upon you, for you are present in every thing and every moment.



All through this day, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live. In Christ's name I pray,


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

endless knot

Proverbs 17:12

Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs,
Rather than a fool in his folly.

Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 48:1-12 (ESV)

Jacob Blesses Ephraim and Manasseh [1]

After this, Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And it was told to Jacob, “Your son Joseph has come to you.” Then Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed.

And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples and will give this land to your offspring after you for an everlasting possession.’ And now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. And the children that you fathered after them shall be yours. They shall be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance.

As for me, when I came from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”

When Israel saw Joseph's sons, he said, “Who are these?” Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” And he said, “Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.” Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see.

So Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them. And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.” Then Joseph removed them from his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.

Notes on the Scripture

Ephrath is the archaic name for the region around Bethlehem, to the southwest of Jerusalem. Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin while the tribe was traveling. She was thus buried, out of necessity, in the middle of nowhere. But her grave transformed this forlorn spot into a notable location. An attractive mausoleum was built at some later point, and today, "Rachel's Tomb" stands at an entrance to modern Bethlehem. It is in land held by the Palestinians, but luckily, Genesis is sacred text for Muslims as well as Jews and Christians (with a few differences), and both Jacob and Rachel are important figures in all three religions.

Sketch of Rachel\

In fact, the reason Jesus was born at Bethlehem is that the spot of Rachel's death also marks the spot of Benjamin's birth, and, later, the birth of David (King David). So when Augustus Caesar declared a census, Joseph   who was a member of the House of David, a subdivision of the Tribe of Judah   was obliged to travel there to be counted. It was a the equivalent of the home city for his family (and probably that of Mary, as well).

Jacob's blessing of Manasseh and Ephraim as his own sons would cause complications in naming the "tribes of Israel" forever after. Jacob had twelve sons, Joseph and his eleven actual brothers, and wouldn't it be nice if the twelve tribes were actually named after them? But there are a number of complications, but lists of them are different. There are other controversies (or at least, differences), but one is whether there is a Tribe of Manasseh, whether there is a Tribe of Ephraim, and whether there is a Tribe of Joseph. (In fact, in Deuteronomy 3:13, Moses mentions the "half-tribe" of Manasseh.)

Ancient German stained glass fragment of Jacob
Ancient German stained glass fragment of Jacob

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1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

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