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Daily Devotion for November 10, 2012

Queen of Sheba and Solomon, Baptistry of San Giovanni, Florence, Italy (by Ghiberti)
Solomon and Sheba, a panel on the famous doors of the Baptistry of San Giovanni in Florence, Italy (by Ghiberti, c. 1450).



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lessons and scripture

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.


Prayer for the Morning

Dear Lord, please give me the patience to make it through this busy day with all the hustle, demands and distractions of modern life. Let me find the quiet time to hear your voice and feel your calming presence. I ask this in your son's name.


A Prayer of Repentance

O  Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray to you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.



The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.


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.

Tile, Lion of Judah, Mosav Zkenim Synagogue, Tel Aviv
A tile depicting the Lion of Judah from the ancient Mosav Zkenim Synagogue in Tel Aviv

Beginning Now

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

~ George Eliot

Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 49:1-13 (ESV)

Jacob Blesses His Sons [1]

Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come. Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob, listen to Israel your father.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, and the firstfruits of my strength,
preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence,
because you went up to your father's bed;
then you defiled it — he went up to my couch!

“Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
Let my soul come not into their council;
O my glory, be not joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men,
and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen.
Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob
and scatter them in Israel.

“Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father's sons shall bow down before you.

Judah is a lion's cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?

The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey's colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.

“Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea;
he shall become a haven for ships,
and his border shall be at Sidon.

Notes on the Scripture

All we know of Jacob's displeasure with Reuben is that Reuben slept with Bilbah, one of the two slave women with whom Jacob had sons. (Genesis 35:22)

Emblem of Jerusalem The Emblem of Jerusalem, showing the Lion of Judah.
Apparently, this offense was serious enough to alienate Jacob and his eldest son, but not enough so that Reuben was driven out. Simeon and Levi, Leah's next two sons, are criticized for their temper and violent nature.

Judah is favored by Jacob and, from the little we have seen, rightly so. He was apparently a man of wisdom and strength. He had already taken on a lot of the responsibility for guiding the tribe of Israel. Although it is Joseph who will receive Jacob's blessing, and become head of the tribe (as we will see in the next episode), Judah's line will be the strongest. The first 8 books of 1 Chronicles are practically unreadable, but they speak of Judah's strength (e.g. 1 Chronicles 5:2) and it is from the Tribe of Judah that David and Solomon, and eventually Jesus of Nazareth, will spring.

Jacob compares him to a lion, and the "Lion of Judah" became a famous symbol in Judaism and early Christianity, for it is also associated with Christ. In The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis depicted a Christ figure as a lion named Adam.

The oddest use of the term comes from the country with the oddest relationship to Judaism and Christianity, Ethiopia. Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia, was known as the "Lion of Judah". The figure was the central the symbol on the Ethiopian flag until 1974.

Rastafarian tradition holds that Selassie was the direct descendant of Judah himself, and the notion is not terribly far-fetched. An ancient Ethiopian book related that when the Queen of Sheba returned from Israel, she had a male child sired by Solomon (the head of the Tribe of Judah), as well as a retinue of Hebrews from the Tribe of Dan. And indeed, as far back as history goes, a community of Jews (called "Beta Israel") lived in Ethiopia, although the great majority of them repatriated to Israel proper during the political strife and famine of the years after Selassie was overthrown.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

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