Daily Devotion for September 11, 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.
Prayer of Resolve
Blessed Jesus, my Savior and Master, model of all perfection, I resolve — and will try this day with my full heart — to imitate Your example, to be like You: mild, humble, chaste, zealous, charitable, and kind. I will redouble my efforts to see Your image in all those I meet and deal with this day — not only people I like — and to be as helpful to them as I would be to You. I resolve to avoid this day all those sins which I have committed heretofore and which I now sincerely desire to give up forever.
Prayer for Goodness
Lord, save me alike from foolish Pride or impious Discontent,
At anything thy wisdom has denied, or anything that goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe, to right the fault I see:
That mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me.
Mean tho' I am, not wholly so, since quicken'd by thy breath;
O lead me whereso'er I go, thro' this day's life or death!
From Universal Prayer by Alexander Pope
[Resolving to eliminate a persistent sin.]
Benediction (from the Epistle of Jude)
Now all glory to you, great God, who is able to keep us from falling away and will bring us with great joy into your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to you who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!
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.
"The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters is not intellect, but obedience."
~ Oswald Chambers
Genesis 45:21-28, 46:1-7 (abridged) (ESV)
Joseph’s Brothers Return Home
The sons of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey. To each and all of them he gave a change of clothes, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five changes of clothes. . . .
So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. And they told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them.
But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”
So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”
Then Jacob set out from Beersheba. The sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They also took their livestock and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters. All his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.
Notes on the Scripture
o God’s great miracle, still with us today, takes a great step forward. Jacob has been out of sorts because of the loss of the two sons he had had with Rachel, the wife of his heart: first the death of Joseph and then, almost fifteen years later, the apparent loss of Benjamin. He has become depressed, and his will to live seems to have left him. His focus on his role as the patriarch of the people of God also seems to have receded.
And so, just as Jacob’s life hits its low point and he is resigned to die unhappy, a miracle occurs. His ten other sons come home, bearing not just food to keep them alive, but wagons filled with riches, and Benjamin, and news that his lost son Joseph is not simply alive, but is also one of the most powerful men in Egypt!
But Jacob cares nothing for the power or wealth. “It is enough,” he says, that Joseph lives. Jacob will go and see his beloved son before he dies; it is all he wants.
Beersheba, remember (if you were with us when we studied Abraham and Isaac, or know the story) is at the very edge of the Negev Desert, a sort of “last gas for 200 miles” place. It is truly a terrible and desolate desert to the west, across the Sinai Peninsula; although it is not the magnitude of the Sahara or Kalahari, crossing it is a major (and risky) undertaking.
But God appears to Jacob, to give him strength, and to reaffirm His promises to Abraham (Genesis 15:13-14) (This is called “theophany” in theological circles, when God makes a direct appearance to a human.) So Jacob gambles all; this is not a trip, but rather, a migration.
Almost everyone feels some reluctance to commit their heart completely to God. The actions of Jacob should give us all pause for thought: he commits not only his life, but also the lives of his children and grandchildren, and all that they own, to march into a deadly wasteland, based solely on their faith. How easy and tempting it is for us to retain comfortable habits of thought and action, knowing that we could do better. And age is no excuse; Jacob is quite old by now.