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Friday, December 14, 2018

Daily Devotion for July 13, 2017


<i>Jacob’s Dream</i>, by José de Ribera, 1639
Jacob’s Dream, by José de Ribera, 1639

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Amen.



Prayer for the Morning

Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Confession and Repentance

Almighty and most merciful Father, I have erred and strayed from Your ways like a lost sheep. I have followed too much the devices and desires of my own heart. I have offended against Your holy laws. I have left undone those things which I ought to have done; and I have done those things which I ought not to have done; and there is nothing good in me. O Lord, have mercy upon me, miserable offender. Spare those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent; according to Your promises declared unto men in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant that I may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life; to the glory of His name.

Amen.

Meditation

[The pledge of reawakening.]


Dedication

God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make me and all who confess your holy name people of this light. Make me faithful to your Word that I may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.


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.



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

2 Baruch 70:3-5 (Apocrypha)

And they will hate one another and provoke one another to fight. And the despised will rule over the honorable, and the unworthy will raise themselves over the illustrious.


Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 35 (TLB)

The Story of Jacob [13] - Benjamin and Bethlehem

“Move on to Bethel now, and settle there,” God said to Jacob, “and build an altar to worship me—the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.”

So Jacob instructed all those in his household to destroy the idols they had brought with them, and to wash themselves and to put on fresh clothing. “For we are going to Bethel,” he told them, “and I will build an altar there to the God who answered my prayers in the day of my distress, and was with me on my journey.”

So they gave Jacob all their idols and their earrings, and he buried them beneath the oak tree near Shechem. Then they started on again. And the terror of God was upon all the cities they journeyed through, so that they were not attacked. Finally they arrived at Luz (also called Bethel), in Canaan. And Jacob erected an altar there and named it “the altar to the God who met me here at Bethel” because it was there at Bethel that God appeared to him when he was fleeing from Esau. . . .

Upon Jacob’s arrival at Bethel, en route from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him once again and blessed him. And God said to him, “You shall no longer be called Jacob (‘Grabber’), but Israel (‘One who prevails with God’). I am God Almighty,” the Lord said to him, “and I will cause you to be fertile and to multiply and to become a great nation, yes, many nations; many kings shall be among your descendants. And I will pass on to you the land I gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give it to you and to your descendants.”

Afterwards Jacob built a stone pillar at the place where God had appeared to him; and he poured wine over it as an offering to God and then anointed the pillar with olive oil. Jacob named the spot Bethel (“House of God”), because God had spoken to him there.

Leaving Bethel, he and his household traveled on toward Ephrath (Bethlehem). But Rachel’s pains of childbirth began while they were still a long way away. After a very hard delivery, the midwife finally exclaimed, “Wonderful -- another boy!” And with Rachel’s last breath (for she died) she named him “Ben-oni” (“Son of my sorrow”); but his father called him “Benjamin” (“Son of my right hand”).

So Rachel died, and was buried near the road to Ephrath (also called Bethlehem). And Jacob set up a monument of stones upon her grave, and it is there to this day.

Then Israel journeyed on and camped beyond the Tower of Eder. It was while he was there that Reuben slept with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and someone told Israel about it.

Here are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob:

  • The sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s oldest child, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun.
  • The sons of Rachel: Joseph, Benjamin.
  • The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant girl: Dan, Naphtali.
  • The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s servant girl: Gad, Asher.
All these were born to him at Paddan-aram.

So Jacob came at last to Isaac his father at Mamre in Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron), where Abraham too had lived. Isaac died soon afterwards, at the ripe old age of 180. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.


Notes on the Scripture

emember how Jacob wanted Rachel but was tricked into marrying Leah, instead, after his first seven years of work for Laban? And Rachel, after he finally managed to marry her, appeared to be barren? Well, she may have only had two younger sons, eventually, but they were both special. Joseph, of course, is the greatest of Jacob’s sons, as we will soon see. Rachel dies giving birth to the final, youngest son, Benjamin.

Benjamin is special in a number of odd little ways. He always appears to be the least of the 12 brother. Indeed, his tribe will be so small that it is hardly counted as a tribe. Whereas the great tribe of Judah is the home of Jerusalem, and will become the greatest of tribes after Solomon dies — indeed, the nation splits into the apostate Kingdom of Israel, composed of 10 tribes, and the holy Kingdom of Judah, composed only of Judah and Benjamin — Benjamin is so small that it will be included in the Kingdom of Judah as almost an afterthought.

Yet, what is the most beloved town in Israel? Arguably Bethlehem. This little town is the birthplace of Benjamin, David, and Jesus. It is praised in Micah 5:2, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”



endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 5:34: I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool . . . . Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.


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