Scripture Reading: Genesis 48:1-23

“And Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, “Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make you a company of peoples and will give this land to your offspring, after you for an everlasting possession.” ‘And now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt, are mine, Ephraim and Manasseh, as Reuben and Simeon are.'” (Genesis 48:3-5)

Before giving his blessings to his grandsons, Jacob first gave reference to God’s appearance to him at Bethel (Luz), where his spiritual life began (vs. 3,4). Jacob’s faith for most of his life was weak. But at the end of his life his faith became strong. In his old age, Jacob had developed a God centered view of life. It was this God centered perspective that enabled him to give thanksgiving for the past blessings he had experienced. It also enabled him to experience consolation for the sorrows in his life — “As for me, when I came from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan in 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)” (v. 7). Without a doubt losing Rachel was the most painful experience of his life. Jacob bore a great testimony to his son and grandsons of God’s faithfulness to him.

Jacob adopted Joseph’s sons as his own children. Manasseh and Ephraim became tribal patriarchs. Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons. He called upon the God of the covenant to bless them — “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys; and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth” (vs. 15,16).

Jacob gave the younger son the blessing of the first born (vs. 17-20). This was God’s choice as it was in the case of Jacob, when he received the blessing over Esau. The choice of one son over the other was the sovereign choice of God.

Israel then said to Joseph, ‘Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your fathers” (v. 21). Jacob had learned the reality of God’s presence with him. God had been a shepherd to Jacob all the days of his life. Now at the end of his life, he assured Joseph that God would be with him also. What greater message could anyone leave with their children and grandchildren than this? “God will be with you.” This is Jacob’s testimony to us as well.

Lord God, my Shepherd and King, how comforting it is to know that You are with me. You will never leave me nor forsake me. I am never alone. Your presence gives me great peace for I know that You will go with me through the good and bad times of my life. Enable me to practice Your presence throughout each day.


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