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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Daily Devotion for October 9, 2017

<i>Jacob’s Funeral Procession</i>, from “The History of Joseph and His Brethren” by Owen Jones, 1869.
Jacob’s Funeral Procession, from “The History of Joseph and His Brethren” by Owen Jones, 1869.



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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.


To Serve God

Teach me, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that I do your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord,


For Mercy

All-merciful Lord, have mercy upon all Your faithful, on those who are mine and on those who are strangers; on those whom I know and on those whom I know not; on the living and on the dead; and forgive all my enemies, and those who hate me, the trespasses that they have committed against me; turn them from the malice which they bear towards me, that they may be worthy of Your mercy. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner.


For Purity of Speech

O  God, who knows well how often I sin against you with my tongue; Keep me free from all untrue and unkind words; consecrate my speech to your service; and keep me often silent, that my heart may speak to you and may listen for your voice; through Jesus Christ our Lord.



[Forgive all my enemies.]


All through this day, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.


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.

<i>Joseph Fills Sacks with Grain</i>, by Raphael de Mercatelli, Ghent, late 15th century.
Joseph Fills Sacks with Grain, by Raphael de Mercatelli, Ghent, late 15th century.

Where is God?

We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.

~ A.W. Tozer

Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 50:22-26 (ESV)

The Death of Joseph

So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s house. Joseph lived 110 years. And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were born on Joseph’s knees.

And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”

So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

An Overview of Genesis 37-50 (Joseph)

These last verses of Genesis are straightforward, primarily giving a “happy ending” to the history of Joseph. It doesn’t need any exposition; it simply acts like the period in a sentence, giving us a logical stopping point.

Genesis is really two books. Books 1-11 are a sometimes disjointed collection of extremely ancient stories (and the part of the Bible most likely to be questioned as to authenticity and source). Then, beginning in Book 11, the history of the Hebrew nation and the first covenant begins. Books 12-50 cover the first step in God’s creation of the first covenant, the patriarchal period. The covenant is established, primarily by the ritual of circumcision, but the law has not yet been given.

Jacob and Angel, Rembrandt
Jacob Wrestles with the Angel, by Rembrandt.

God’s method of bringing salvation to mankind begins by His creating a cohesive tribe of people, who will believe in Him and understand the concept of righteousness. He wants a society to develop that will, at least, understand the concept of living in accordance with a law that restricts their natural impulses. This is a daunting task, for people are stubborn, independent-minded, and likely to get things wrong. Even worse, the evil instincts born within us are powerful. The idea that murder, theft, or adultery is somehow wrong or immoral, in and of itself, simply did not exist as a general principle. One might get in trouble for killing or stealing from the wrong person, but there is no concept that such an act might be immoral, that it is simply “wrong”.

God’s plan begins with one man, Abraham, and then his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. The story of their lives and their relationship with God takes up the last three-quarters of Genesis. If the old covenant is likened to a fruit tree (as it often is), Genesis ends when the sapling develops branches: the twelve sons and many daughters and grandchildren of Jacob, whose alternate name, Israel, will be borne by the nation for the rest of history.

So the story of Joseph is the beginning of a new phase in the story of God’s covenant with Abraham and his offspring. God puts the metaphorical fruit tree into an isolated hothouse — Egypt — where it can develop without pollution.

Living in Egypt will ensure that the Hebrew nation will not be contaminated by outsiders. The Egyptians consider Canaanites to be an abomination, so they neither socialize nor interbreed with them. The Jews will never be eligible to join Egyptian society; it is impossible for them to integrate. But the Egyptians attempt to keep their bloodline pure will result in purity of the Hebrew bloodline, as well; the temptation for Jews to marry into other nations will be removed for hundreds of years, long enough for the Jewish identity to become so firmly entrenched that it will never be destroyed.

(Editor’s Note: I hope you will keep this in mind. We will likely pick back up here in the future (six months? a year?) with Exodus 1.)

endless knot

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Memory Verse

Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

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