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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Daily Devotion for January 7, 2013

Jacob and Joseph, Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo
"Jacob and Joseph" from The Ancestors of Christ, fresco in the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo c. 1512. Notice Joseph's Egyptian hair style and lack of a beard.



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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 Morning

Heavenly Father, I thank you this morning for all that I have. Even if I have problems with my health, I am alive today. If I have money problems, I will eat today. I have clothes to wear, a roof to protect me, and air to breathe.

Let me never take for granted these gifts of life, oh Lord, but always remember that they come from you; without you, no man could make the sun shine or the tree bear its fruit. I pray to live this day in joy and thankfulness for what I have, remembering always who made me and who keeps me. In the name of Christ I pray,


Prayer for Goodness (based on Psalm 1)

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 let me never replace the truth which you have put into my heart with the clever words of men. Through Christ I pray,



And now, as a little child, let me abide in you all this day, oh Christ, so that when you appear I may have confidence and not shrink from you in shame at your coming. For I know that you are righteous, and I am sure that I will be made righteous only by my life in you.


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

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh\
"Joseph Interprets Pharaoh's Dreams", illustration from The History of Joseph and His Brethren by Owen Jones, 1869.


Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying,"I will try again tomorrow."

~ Mary Anne Radmacher

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 1:1-7 (ESV)

Israel Increases Greatly in Egypt

These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt.

Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.

Notes on the Scripture

By popular vote, we take up our Bible study where we left off in mid-November. Our last verses were the final verses of Genesis, ending the story of Joseph with a few words about his last years and his death at the age of 110. The age of the three Hebrew patriarchs — Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (also named "Israel") — has ended. But God has made a promise to them: that their line would become a mighty nation as numerous as the grains of sand in the desert (or the stars in the sky) and that He would give them Canaan as their land.

Once Jacob moved to Egypt with his twelve sons and their families, the inheritance of this promise through a single patriarch ended. Although the Hebrews are a single nation, there is no longer a single leader. But as a nation, they keep the name of the last patriarch, Israel (Jacob).

Both Abraham and Isaac had had other sons, and they sometimes founded great tribes, but they are not inheritors of God's promise. Most notably, Ishmael married an Egyptian woman and, according to a majority of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic scholars, his descendants became the Arabs. Esau also founded a nation, Edom, which lived in a large arid region south of the Dead Sea and survived primarily by trade; they will frequently come into conflict with the Hebrews later on.

But it was the children of Jacob with whom God had His covenant. We do not know exactly how long a period of time the first few verses of Exodus represents, but it was certainly centuries, most likely 300-400 years. Pharaoh had given Joseph extensive lands in the east of the Nile delta to act as Egypt's shepherds and herders, for this activity was anathema to the Egyptians and the Jews were thus unclean to them. This served to insulate Israel from outside corruption, either cultural or genetic, as it grew; they spoke their own language, worshiped their God, and married among themselves.

They were successful, and became increasingly wealthy and numerous. Their social isolation served as a cultural incubator for the fledgling tribes, until they had the size and means to become a mature nation unto themselves.

(Note that there are said to be "twelve tribes of Israel", as listed in today's Scripture, but this isn't as cut and dried as it sounds. Both of Joseph's sons, Manasseh and Ephraim formed tribes or "half-tribes". The enumeration is fluid. Revelation 7, for instance, omits the tribe of Dan and the half tribe of Ephraim but includes the "tribe of Joseph" and the half tribe of Manasseh.)

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

2 Timothy 3:16: All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction in righteousness.

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