Daily Devotion for September 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.
Many nights we've prayed
With no proof anyone could hear,
In our hearts a hopeful song
We barely understood.
Now we are not afraid;
Although we know there's much to fear
We were moving mountains long
Before we knew we could.
There can be miracles, when you believe;
Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill.
Who knows what miracles you can achieve
When you believe, somehow you will,
You will when you believe.
In this time of fear
When prayers so often prove in vain,
Hope seems like the summer birds,
Too swiftly flown away.
Yet now I'm standing here;
My heart's so full I can't explain.
Seeking faith and speaking words
I never thought I'd say.
They don't always happen when you ask
And it's easy to give in to your fears.
But when you're blinded by your pain,
Can't see your way straight throught the rain,
A small but still resilient voice
Says hope is very near.
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Prayer of Saint Clement of Rome
You, Lord, through your works have revealed the everlasting structure of the world. You, Lord, created the earth. You are faithful throughout all generations, righteous in your judgments, marvelous in strength and majesty, wise in creating and prudent in establishing what exists, good in all that is observed and faithful to those who trust in you, merciful and compassionate; forgive us our sins and our injustices, our transgressions and our shortcomings.
Do not take into account every sin of your servants, but cleanse us with the cleansing of your truth, and “direct our steps to walk in holiness and righteousness and purity of heart,” and “to do what is good and pleasing in your sight” and in the sight of our rulers. Yes, Lord, “let your face shine upon us” in peace “for our good,” that we may be sheltered “by your mighty hand” and delivered from every sin “by your uplifted arm”; deliver us as well from those who hate us unjustly.
Give harmony and peace to us and to all who dwell on the earth throughout the day to come, just as you did to our fathers when they reverently “called upon you in faith and trust,” that we may be saved, while we render obedience to your almighty and most excellent name, and give harmony and peace to our rulers and governors on earth.
For Racial Harmony
God and Father of all, in your love you made all the nations of the world to be a family, and your Son taught us to love one another. Yet our world is riven apart with prejudice, arrogance, and pride.
Help the different races to love and understand one another better. Increase among us sympathy, tolerance, and goodwill, that we may learn to appreciate the gifts that those of other races bring to us, and to see in all people our brothers and sisters for whom Christ died. Save us from jealousy, hatred, and fear, and help us to live together as members of one family at home in the world, sons and daughters of one Father who live in the liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[Do I make excuses for not loving others?]
May I go in peace, with God and with his other children, and may we love one another as Christ taught us. May I follow the example of good men of old, and may God comfort and help me and all who believe in Him, both in this world and in the world which is to come.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
(If you like, try to figure out which is which, from the past two days’ Scripture.)
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Genesis 49:14-27 (ESV)
Jacob Blesses His Sons 
crouching between the sheepfolds.
He saw that a resting place was good,
and that the land was pleasant,
so he bowed his shoulder to bear,
and became a servant at forced labor.
“Dan shall judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
a viper by the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
so that his rider falls backward.
I wait for your salvation, O Lord.
“Raiders shall raid Gad, but he shall raid at their heels.
“Asher’s food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies.
“Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears beautiful fawns.
“Joseph is a fruitful bough,
a fruitful bough by a spring;
his branches run over the wall.
The archers bitterly attacked him,
shot at him, and harassed him severely,
yet his bow remained unmoved;
his arms were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
(from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
by the God of your father who will help you,
by the Almighty who will bless you
with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
The blessings of your father
are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents,
up to the bounties of the everlasting hills.
May they be on the head of Joseph,
and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey
and at evening dividing the spoil.”
Notes on the Scripture
his is the second half of Jacob’s deathbed blessing on his twelve sons. (See the first part yesterday.) He gives a blunt but succinct description of each. Even those who only get one line have their character, and their future, summed up.
The critical point of the chapter is the phrase “giving one’s blessing” has a special meaning for the early Hebrews. A father might bless all of his sons, but one son will “get his blessing”; this is the son who is designated as the heir to both the father’s property and his power. The blessed son becomes the head of the family.
Normally, this will go to the eldest son, but not necessarily. Jacob himself was a younger son, and defrauded his older brother Esau of his blessing. Also, although the early Hebrews might have multiple wives and concubines as well, and although the children of the concubines would be called “sons”, almost always the blessing went to the son by a wife.
Jacob had two wives. Remember, he was in love with Rachel but was forced to marry her older sister, Leah; but he later managed to marry Rachel, as well. The two concubines were his wives’ handmaids, practically slaves, who were offered to him by his wives so that the tribe might increase. Quite a bit different from today! But the knowledge that these sons would not supplant their own children as heirs was, without doubt, a critical factor in Leah and Rachel’s enthusiasm for the scheme.
It is Joseph, a younger son by Rachel who has become a mighty prince of Egypt (and probably saved many of the tribe from starvation) who gets Jacob’s blessing. Reuben, who was the eldest, was unlikely to inherit in any case, for he had offended Jacob by sleeping with one of his concubines, an act bordering on incest to the Hebrews.