Genesis 48 (ESV)
After this, Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 And it was told to Jacob, “Your son Joseph has come to you.” Then Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed. 3 And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, 4 and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples and will give this land to your offspring after you for an everlasting possession.’ 5 And now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. 6 And the children that you fathered after them shall be yours. They shall be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance. 7 As for me, when I came from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).” . . . Continue Reading
Jacob’s Dying Wish
What a blessing it is for Jacob to have lived nearly a century and a half and to live out the final days of his life near his entire family including his son Joseph. With his death quickly approaching, Joseph and his first two sons born to him in Egypt went to his bedside as word came that his father was ill (Genesis 48:1).
Jacob sits up in bed and announces to Joseph that God’s promises would continue with his descendants in Egypt and would eventually bring them up again to Canaan. Canaan had been given in covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and would ultimately be restored to their seed according to the covenant. Jacob shares God’s blessing on him in his life but is also reminded of the painful loss of his wife Rachel (Joseph’s mother).
It’s interesting that as Jacob blesses Joseph’s sons Manasseh and Ephraim, he crosses his arms as to lay his right hand on the head of Ephraim who was the younger son. This upset Joseph because Manasseh was the first born and Ephraim should not be before Manasseh. This reminds me of Jacob and Esau as Esau was the first born but he served Joseph the younger son.
Although not every chapter in the Bible has immediate personal application that jumps out of the page and into our lives, I believe the potential is there if we sit with the text long enough. As I get further into the chapter, I am drawn to Jacob’s blessing to Joseph in Genesis 48:15-16 but specifically the two phrases in verse 15, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked” and “the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day.”
“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked . . .”
While not everyone has the privilege of seeing our fathers walking with (being led by) God, most of us know godly men who have followed God faithfully. I think back to many men who walked with God before me and it helps me stay on the narrow path when the elements of life make it hard for me to keep my footing. Seeing godly men walking with God keeps me motivated as I walk. After all, to those coming after me, I may be someone they look to as someone that although flawed, faithfully walked with God.
When someone is flawed and they know it and are willing to show it instead of pretending they are better that they really are, it invites others to see the work of God transforming these flaws into features that reflect the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who follow Him.
“. . . the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day.”
I love the visual imagery of God being a shepherd. It’s used throughout Scripture. Jacob, although flawed, followed God faithfully. With God as our shepherd, we’re automatically in a secondary position – a position of a follower. We’re not leading and asking God to bless us but God is leading us and we are being blessed by His shepherding. The second half of this phrase “all my life long to this day” shows Jacob persevered to the end. He didn’t give up. He kept following and keeps following even after almost 150 years!
Oh Father, help me to remain faithful to you and less flawed each day. Help me to see you as my shepherd in the mountains of life as well as the deep valleys. Keep me on the narrow path God and keep me mindful that my walk is not private but is publicly seen by others. Father, keep me from living to be seen by others but remind me that I am seen so that I can encourage others to remain faithful to you in their lives. It’s for your sake and your glory that I pray these things, Amen.
Thank you for reading my daily online journal today. Far from commentaries these are just my initial thoughts after reflecting on what I’ve read from a chapter in God’s Word each morning. This not only helps me apply what I’ve read because I’m reflecting and sharing instead of only reading but it also allows me to encourage others to prayerfully consider doing the same.
In His Care,