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Daily Devotion for January 8, 2013

Hebrews in Egypt
These herders, shown arriving in Egypt, are from a tomb painting. They could be Hebrew or Hyskos, but the beards, clothing, and livestock identify them as Semitic.



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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.


This catchy calypso song, based on Psalm 137, was a popular hit around 1980.

Prayer for the Morning

May all I do today begin with you, O Lord. Plant dreams and hopes within my soul and revive my tired spirit: be with me today. Be at my side and walk with me; be my support, that your hand may be seen in every action I take, that your goodness may be in every word I speak, and that your spirit may inhabit my every thought. Make my thoughts, my work, and my very life blessings for your kingdom. In Christ's name I pray,


Thanks for the Life of Christ

Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He lived and walked as one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. The world has seen no other love like this, for you willingly bore the pain of mortality, that we might be saved.

The beating, torture, and painful death that Christ suffered at our hands was a terrible thing; yet you considered his victory in overcoming that death worth the cost, so powerful was your love. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for his promise to all people, that he will intercede for us at our death, and bring us to eternal life. Today I remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray,



May the God who made me, the God who keeps me, and the God who will be my Lord through all eternity, shine down His blessings and wisdom upon me like the sun upon a field; and may I keep Him in the forefront of my every thought and deed, throughout this day, and evermore.


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

Abraham and his family by Jozsef Molnar
Abraham and his Family by Jozsef Molnar, ca. 1850.

Psalm 137:1,3-4 (NAS)

By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down and wept,
When we remembered Zion.

There on the poplars
we hung our harps,

for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How can we sing the Lord’s song
In a strange land?

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 1:8-14 (ESV)

Pharaoh Oppresses Israel

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”

Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad.

And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.

Notes on the Scripture

As history as shown time and time again, an insular ethnicity within a nation or society creates instability. Most often, they are gradually absorbed, but this was impossible with the Egyptians and the Hebrews, for both were strongly based in religions that excluded the other. To the Egyptians, herders of sheep and cattle were an abomination and the Egyptians would not even eat a meal with these unclean foreigners. For the Hebrews, at the time, the problem was more religious; their monotheistic God was a jealous god and the children of Abraham could not assimilate in a polytheistic and idolatrous culture.

Jew Hebrew slavery

The Egyptians had good reason to dread the Hebrews. They had been conquered by a tribe of Semitic herders — the Hyskos — who ruled Egypt for centuries. The Hyskos had just been expelled when Joseph first traveled to Egypt, so it was a fresh wound.

And so it was that the Hebrews became a slave race for a period, similar to black Africans in America and the Arab world, or Koreans in Japan.

The two cities mentioned here were prominent in history and known to the Greeks and Romans, but no longer exist. All of them were located in the eastern Nile delta, the home of the Hebrews. Pithom was the center of trade between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, and Raamses was (ironically) the old capital of Hyskos.

The Hebrew Bible, from which the Protestant Old Testament is generally taken, includes a third city in the list, Heliopolis, a very important city and the capital of Goshen itself (the name of the region where the Hebrews lived). It was located near present day Cairo and was destroyed primarily for materials to build Cairo. In fact, suburbs of Cairo are built on top of it. The famous London landmark called "Cleopatra's Needle" was looted during the cannibalization of Heliopolis.

endless knot

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