Daily Devotion for July 24, 2017
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
I call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.
I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.
I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.
I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.
To Serve Christ
Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous;
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not heed the wounds,
To toil and not seek for rest,
To labor and not to seek reward,
Save that of knowing that I do your will.
[To give and not count the cost.]
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.
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.
Psalm 137:1-6 (NKJV)
By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down, yea, we wept
When we remembered Zion.
We hung our harps
Upon the willows in the midst of it.
For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song,
And those who plundered us requested mirth,
Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How shall we sing the Lord’s song
In a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget its skill!
If I do not remember you,
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.
Joseph Sold by His Brothers 
Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.”
And his brothers listened to him. Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt.
When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes and returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone, and I, where shall I go?”
Then they took Joseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. And they sent the robe of many colors and brought it to their father and said, “This we have found; please identify whether it is your son’s robe or not.” And he identified it and said, “It is my son’s robe. A fierce animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.”
Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him. Meanwhile the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard.
Notes on the Scripture
he brothers have second thoughts about murdering their own flesh and blood, and so they dispose of Joseph by selling him into slavery. They cover up the crime, as planned, by covering the coat of many colors with goat’s blood and telling Jacob that they had found it thus. Jacob swears he will mourn his beloved son until his death.
Notice that Jacob does not even know the concept of heaven. The early Hebrews had a vague concept that their souls would go somewhere mysterious and not necessarily pleasant, Sheol, which is sometimes compared to Hell. At the time of Abraham and Jacob, they conceived that both the righteous and the unrighteous would still exist, but in a world of darkness and without form or personality, cut off from God.
The reference to Ishmaelites takes us back to Abraham. Remember that Ishmael, Abraham’s elder son by his wife’s maid (Hagar) was not cursed, even though Abraham expelled him in favor of Isaac. Ishmael prospered and had twelve sons, who became a sizable nomadic tribe ranging from the borders of Egypt north all the way to Assyria. They would have been third cousins (really, half-second-cousins) to Jacob’s sons.
The Midianites, similarly, are descendants of Abraham, but through his later wife (after Sarah’s death). Most likely they were centered in the northern Arabian peninsula (although some scholars place them in the Sudan). Like the Ishmaelites, they are nomads and, as can be seen here, traders. They have a caravan transporting gum, probably referring to mastic gum, which had many uses in medicine and as the base for cosmetics; myrrh, another sort of gum used to embalm corpses; and balm, yet another gum made from tree sap — no doubt the “balm of Gilead” mentioned several times in the Bible. All three were precious.
The traders have money and can pay twenty shekels for a healthy young male slave — 7 or 8 ounces of silver. While it is very difficult to evaluate ancient prices, this amount would be roughly the cost of four sheep or one cow.