Daily Devotion for August 27, 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.
By helping those who are in need;
My life on earth is but a span,
And so I’ll do the best I can.
Life’s evening sun is sinking low,
A few more days, and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done,
Where there will be no setting sun.
To be a child of God each day,
My light must shine along the way;
I’ll sing His praise while ages roll,
And strive to help some troubled soul.
The only life that will endure,
Is one that’s kind and good and pure;
And so for God I’ll take my stand,
Each day I’ll lend a helping hand.
I’ll help someone in time of need,
And journey on with rapid speed;
I’ll help the sick and poor and weak,
And words of kindness to them speak.
While going down life’s weary road,
I’ll try to lift some trav’ler’s load;
I’ll try to turn the night to day,
Make flowers bloom along the way.
Music and lyrics by William M. Golden, 1918
For Unity in Sunday Worship
Father of mercy, your love embraces everyone, and through the Resurrection of your Son you call me and all who pray with me into your wonderful light. Dispel our darkness and make us a people with one heart and one voice, forever singing your praise, in Jesus, the Christ, our Lord.
Prayer of St. Denis
You are wisdom, uncreated and eternal,
the supreme first cause, above all being,
sovereign Godhead, sovereign goodness,
watching unseen the God-inspired wisdom of Christian people.
Raise us, we pray, that we may totally respond
to the supreme, unknown, ultimate, and splendid height
of your words, mysterious and inspired.
There all Your secret matters lie covered and hidden
under darkness both profound and brilliant, silent and wise.
You make what is ultimate and beyond brightness
secretly to shine in all that is most dark.
In your way, ever unseen and intangible,
You fill to the full with most beautiful splendor
those souls who close their eyes that they may see.
And I, please, with love that goes on beyond mind
to all that is beyond mind,
seek to gain such for myself through this prayer.
[Those souls who close their eyes that they may see.]
Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Prayer of Jabez
And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.” So God granted him what he requested.
I Chronicles 4:10 (ESV)
Genesis 43:1-15 (ESV)
Joseph’s Brothers Return to Egypt
Now the famine was severe in the land. And when they had eaten the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. But if you will not send him, we will not go down. . . . ”
Israel said, “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?” They replied, “The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ What we told him was in answer to these questions. Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?”
And Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.”
Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight.
Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”
Notes on the Scripture
srael (Jacob) is the patriarch of the family, and is still in charge, but by this point of the story his leadership seems tainted by self-interest, fear and vacillation. The famine is severe — starvation is a real possibility — and yet Jacob does not send to buy grain, but rather procrastinates. He will not make the difficult decision.
It is Judah who forces the issue; and so, another character comes to the forefront of the story. Israel has abandoned his duty to the nation (which numbers, at this point, perhaps 70 people) in favor of his personal attachment to his two children by Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin, one of whom he believes dead.
He bemoans that Judah — whom he has sent to face Pharaoh and possibly be killed — should have even mentioned that Benjamin existed, thus putting his favorite in the least jeopardy. How this must sound to the ten brothers who have actually traveled to Egypt at risk to their lives, to be criticized for even telling Pharaoh that Benjamin exists!
It is Judah who “steps up to the plate” and puts his own life on the line, guaranteeing Benjamin’s safety. He will do what is necessary to save the entirety of the tribe. His father treats him no better than a king might treat a commoner, for Judah acknowledges that Israel values his life so little, that he might take it simply as surety for the life of his favorite. (Previously, we saw the same attitude, when Reuben offered his children — Jacob’s grandchildren — as surety for Benjamin’s safety.)
Ironically, in the distant future after Solomon’s death, the nation of “Israel” will become the lesser half of a divided Hebrew nation; the greater part, including Jerusalem, will be known as the Kingdom of Judah.
Of course, Judah, Reuben, and Simeon are stained by their treatment of their brother Joseph. But they have grown; in effect, they have developed the moral strength to pay penance for the crime of their youth.
Jacob’s contribution is to send luxuries and money to help ease the situation. Although this is commendable as a political stratagem, there is an overriding sense of the effete to it. It is grain, not luxuries, that fuels the power of a ruler. All Israel has to offer is self-indulgence; it is his children who have become the major forces in the drama.