Jacob (Israel) is getting closer to death and there are a few things he needs to take care of before he passes on.
One thing we notice in the Scriptures is that when the 12 Tribes of Israel are listed, we normally don’t read the names of Joseph or Levi on those lists, even though they were 2 of Jacob’s 12 sons.
We get some of the background behind that here in Genesis 48 as Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim take his place in the Tribal List (doubling his inheritance). Jacob also blessed the younger more than the older, something he personally experienced as well.
Later we’ll see that Levi is not usually mentioned because his tribe will eventually be the priestly tribe and they will not inherit land to own, for the Lord will be their portion (Deuteronomy 18:1).
I get so blessed by the passage we read in:
Genesis 48:11 (NKJV) “And Israel said to Joseph, ‘I had not thought to see your face; but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring!’”
Not only did Jacob see his son Joseph, but he was able to see the sons of Joseph! Wow! This is the Old Testament example of the New Testament promise in:
Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV) “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”
Another endearing passage is:
Genesis 48:15 (NKJV) “And he blessed Joseph, and said: “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day.”
If you’re like me, you probably pray and give God thanks before you eat, acknowledging the fact that every meal is from His hands (it really is). He’s fed us…all our lives.
The second thing we come across in this section of Genesis, is Jacob blessing all of his sons (Genesis 49). It’s a fascinating combination of blessings (and lack thereof) by paying for the sins of the past, human potential, and divine prophecy. Genesis 49:10 is a fascinating foretelling of Shiloh (Peacemaker = Messiah) through the lineage of Judah.
Genesis 49:23-24 mentions Joseph’s experience in that although the archers shot at him, he was strengthened by God not to fire back. How we need that strength!
The day eventually came when Jacob passed away and was gathered to his people, he was reconciled to his loved ones who had gone on before him in faith. (Genesis 49:33)
Once again we witness the wonderful works of Jesus, healing the people, and in Messianic fashion, marveling them in the process. The people hadn’t eaten for 3 days. Jesus’ compassion was very practical (love always is – see 1 John 3:17) they needed food lest they faint, so Christ fed 4,000 men, plus women and children, all from 7 loaves and 3 fish.
What greater sign would one need? And yet the Pharisees and Sadducees wanted more, they wanted Jesus to call fire down from heaven. Jesus didn’t mince words calling them hypocrites for being able to discern the weather, but their inability to discern the One who had come to save them from the storm.
Again Jesus communicated the fact that He would provide the only sign necessary, the sign of Jonah. Jesus had said something similar in:
Matthew 12:39–40 (NKJV) “But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Jesus later warned His disciples about the leaven of these horrible leaders. The disciples mistakenly thought Jesus was warning them not to forget to bring bread next time. This led to a severe rebuke from Christ. Hadn’t they learned? Jesus fed the 5,000 men (plus women and children) with only 5 loaves and 2 fish. He had just fed the 4,000 men (plus women and children) with only 7 loaves and 3 fish. Newsflash: Bread would NOT be an issue! But these signs weren’t sinking into their souls, they couldn’t understand because they wouldn’t understand, they were suppressing their faith.
We might shake our heads in disgust or disappointment, but before I indict the disciples I need to check my own heart…am I listening and learning through all that God is doing in my life?
A couple of quick warnings here, first of all do all that you can not to become legalistic. A life with God based on manmade rules and regulations is no life at all. Second, beware of buying into the lie of seeking after signs, our doctrine must only be Bible based.
What a beautiful prayer this is; something we can pray over others.
Psalm 20:4 (NKJV) “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.”
Psalm 20:7 (NKJV) “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”
All of our body parts are to be surrendered to the Lord.
Our ears, our eyes, our heart, our mouth, our lips, and our feet are mentioned here.
If I yield myself to God like this I will have a healthy Christian life (Proverbs 4:22).
Reminds me of :
Romans 12:1 (NKJV) “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.