Daily Devotion for May 26, 2011
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 for the Morning
O Master and holy God, who is beyond my understanding: at your word, light came forth out of darkness. In your mercy, you gave me rest through sleep, and let me awake to the light of your glory out of the darkness of night.
Now, in your own tender love, accept me and all who adore you and give thanks to you with all of their heart. In the abundance of your mercies, O Lord, remember all your people; all those who pray with me; all my brethren on land, at sea, or in the air, in every place of your domain, who call upon your love for mankind. Upon all of us who pray to you this morning, pour down your great mercy, that we, saved in body and in soul, may persevere unfailingly; and that, in our confidence, we may extol your exalted and blessed name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, always, now and forever.
Prayer for All People
O God, the creator and preserver of all humanity, I humbly pray to you for all sorts and conditions of people; that it might please you to make your Word known to them and bring your saving health to all nations. In particular I pray for the entirety of your church, in all of its many forms; that it may be guided and governed by your Holy Spirit, and that all who profess your name and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth. May all of us live in the unity of spirit our faith in Christ provides to us, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.
Finally, I commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are ill or in distress, in their mind, body, or circumstances. May it please you to comfort and relieve them in accordance with their needs, giving them patience during their suffering, and a fortunate outcome to all of their problems. And this I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who was always pleased to relieve the suffering of those he encountered.
Irish BlessingDeep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
They are corrupt, They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.
Stephen's Speech to the Sanhedrin  (ESB)
"Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him into slavery in Egypt. God was with him, however, and rescued him from all his troubles. The grace and wisdom he gave Joseph were recognized by Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him ruler over Egypt and over his whole palace. A famine came upon all Egypt and Canaan, and great hardship came with it. Our ancestors had nothing to eat.
When Jacob heard there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there for the first time. During their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph's family. Joseph sent for his father Jacob and all his relatives — seventy-five in all — and invited them to live with him.
So Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died. Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had purchased for a certain sum of money from Hamor's children, who lived in Shechem.
When it was time for God to keep the promise he made to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt had greatly expanded. But then another king rose to power over Egypt who didn't know anything about Joseph. He exploited our people and abused our ancestors. He even forced them to abandon their newly born babies so they would die.
That's when Moses was born. He was highly favored by God, and for three months his parents cared for him in their home. After he was abandoned, Pharaoh's daughter adopted and cared for him as though he were her own son. Moses learned everything Egyptian wisdom had to offer, and he was a man of powerful words and deeds."
Notes on the Scripture
Today's Scripture is a continuation of Stephen's defense before the Sanhedrin. I have had to break Stephen's speech up, simply because it is so long. Today, Stephen recounts how the Hebrews came to live in Egypt and then became slaves of the Pharaoh.
Stephen not only recites a summary of early Hebrew history, but he also makes some sense of it that we might not get from reading the Pentateuch. We know that the very early Hebrew history was not written until long after it had happened, including the stories of the creation, Adam and Eve, Noah, etc. Until about 1900 B.C., the only writing known was Egyptian hieroglyphs. Phoenician writing — the first alphabet and thus the first modern writing — appeared in Canaan some time between 1900 B.C. and 1200 B.C., roughly consistent with the time of the Hebrew exodus from Egypt.
Stephen's account of this period emphasizes Moses' role as a scholar. He would have learned Hieroglyphic writing if he "learned everything Egyptian wisdom had to offer". Many scholars trace the origins of the Phoenician-Semitic to Hieroglyphics. So it is entirely possible that Moses, coming into Canaan from Egypt, brought writing with him, enabling Hebrew scholars to write down the oral traditions that had been handed down for countless centuries, from Jewish parents and teachers to their children.
Just as a matter of interest, the Phoenician-Semitic alphabet was so similar to the modern English alphabet that you can recognize a few of the letters. It will look even more familiar if you know any Greek letters.