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Daily Devotion for November 12, 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 the Morning
Heavenly Father, I do not fear this day, for you are with me wherever I might go, your light to shine ahead, your footsteps to lead the way. I do not fear this day, for your word will be my guide. Your strength will sustain me and your love revive me, this day and all days. I do not fear this day, for you are with me. In the name of Christ, I call upon you.
Prayer for Deliverance
Dear Lord, grant me, I beseech you, your divine helping grace. Endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to your will. You know my misery and suffering. I flee to you, my only hope and refuge, for relief and comfort, trusting to your infinite love and compassion; that in due time, you will deliver me from all the trials of this life and turn my distress into comfort. I rejoice in your mercy. I exalt and praise your holy name, oh Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: now and forever.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
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.
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Genesis 49:14-27 (ESV)
Jacob Blesses His Sons 
crouching between the sheepfolds.
He saw that a resting place was good,
and that the land was pleasant,
so he bowed his shoulder to bear,
and became a servant at forced labor.
“Dan shall judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
a viper by the path,
that bites the horse's heels
so that his rider falls backward.
I wait for your salvation, O Lord.
“Raiders shall raid Gad, but he shall raid at their heels.
“Asher's food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies.
“Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears beautiful fawns.
“Joseph is a fruitful bough,
a fruitful bough by a spring;
his branches run over the wall.
The archers bitterly attacked him,
shot at him, and harassed him severely,
yet his bow remained unmoved;
his arms were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
(from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
by the God of your father who will help you,
by the Almighty who will bless you
with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
The blessings of your father
are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents,
up to the bounties of the everlasting hills.
May they be on the head of Joseph,
and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey
and at evening dividing the spoil.”
Notes on the Scripture
This is the second half of Jacob's deathbed blessing on his twelve sons. (See the first part here.) He gives a blunt but succinct description of each. Even those who only get one line have their character, and their future, summed up.
The critical point of the chapter is the phrase "giving one's blessing" has a special meaning for the early Hebrews. A father might bless all of his sons, but one son will "get his blessing"; this is the son who is designated as the heir to both the father's property and his power. The blessed son becomes the head of the family.
Normally, this will go to the eldest son, but not necessarily. Jacob himself was a younger son, and defrauded his older brother Esau of his blessing. Also, although the early Hebrews might have multiple wives and concubines as well, and although the children of the concubines would be called "sons", almost always the blessing went to the son by a wife.
Jacob had two wives. Remember, he was in love with Rachel but was forced to marry her older sister, Leah; but he later managed to marry Rachel, as well. The two concubines were his wives' handmaids, practically slaves, who were offered to him by his wives so that the tribe might increase. Quite a bit different from today! But the knowledge that these sons would not supplant their own children as heirs was, without doubt, a critical factor in Leah and Rachel's enthusiasm for the scheme.
It is Joseph, a younger son by Rachel who has become a mighty prince of Egypt (and probably saved many of the tribe from starvation) who gets Jacob's blessing. Reuben, who was the eldest, was unlikely to inherit in any case, for he had offended Jacob by sleeping with one of his concubines, an act bordering on incest to the Hebrews.