Daily Devotion for November 17, 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.
The jubilant "Glory to God in the Highest", from Bach's Mass in B Minor.
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 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,
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Where is God?
We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.
~ A.W. Tozer
Genesis 50:22-26 (ESV)
The Death of Joseph
So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father's house. Joseph lived 110 years. And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were born on Joseph's knees.
And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”
So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
An Overview of Genesis 37-50 (Joseph)
These last verses of Genesis are straightforward, primarily giving a "happy ending" to the history of Joseph. It doesn't need any exposition; it simply acts like the period in a sentence, giving us a logical stopping point.
Genesis is really two books. Books 1-11 are a sometimes disjointed collection of extremely ancient stories (and the part of the Bible most likely to be questioned as to authenticity and source). Then, beginning in Book 11, the history of the Hebrew nation and the first covenant begins. Books 12-50 cover the first step in God's creation of the first covenant, the patriarchal period. The covenant is established, primarily by the ritual of circumcision, but the law has not yet been given.
Jacob Wrestles with the Angel, by Rembrandt.
God's method of bringing salvation to mankind begins by His creating a cohesive tribe of people, who will believe in Him and understand the concept of righteousness. He wants a society to develop that will, at least, understand the concept of living in accordance with a law that restricts their natural impulses. This is a daunting task, for people are stubborn, independent-minded, and likely to get things wrong. Even worse, the evil instincts born within us are powerful. The idea that murder, theft, or adultery is somehow wrong or immoral, in and of itself, simply did not exist as a general principle. One might get in trouble for killing or stealing from the wrong person, but there is no concept that such an act might be immoral, that it is simply "wrong".
God's plan begins with one man, Abraham, and then his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. The story of their lives and their relationship with God takes up the last three-quarters of Genesis. If the old covenant is likened to a fruit tree (as it often is), Genesis ends when the sapling develops branches: the twelve sons and many daughters and grandchildren of Jacob, whose alternate name, Israel, will be borne by the nation for the rest of history.
So the story of Joseph is the beginning of a new phase in the story of God's covenant with Abraham and his offspring. God puts the metaphorical fruit tree into an isolated hothouse — Egypt — where it can develop without pollution.
Living in Egypt will ensure that the Hebrew nation will not be contaminated by outsiders. The Egyptians consider Canaanites to be an abomination, so they neither socialize nor interbreed with them. The Jews will never be eligible to join Egyptian society; it is impossible for them to integrate. The temptation to marry non-Jewish Canaanites, as did Esau and Ishmael, will removed for hundreds of years, long enough for the Jewish identity to become so firmly entrenched that it will never be destroyed.