Food for Thought:
Joseph learns that his father, Jacob/Israel is ill. Jacob was nearing death, and how it must have pained Joseph to have just gotten his dad back, now to be losing him to sickness and to death. So, he goes to visit his father. Jacob had journeyed, far and wide, wrestled with Laban over goats and sheep, wrestled with God, and Esau over who would forgive who first. He was losing his eye sight, and ailing, but manages to push himself up in his bed to meet and greet his beloved son. Jacob recounts the Abrahamic blessing he received from the Lord at Luz (also Bethel) and recounted how the Lord had promised to make him fruitful and increase his numbers, and how the land would be inherited by his descendants forever (48:3-4). This blessing is the central plot of the book of Genesis. It carries the story forward. Yes there were times in which it seems that the promise was in jeopardy, but God always intervened at the right time, through his chosen vessel to carry out his plans. Joseph’s Egyptian experience had proven to be one of the means God used to help fulfill the promise given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!
Jacob claims Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh as his own effectually providing them a rightful share in the inheritance of the Promised Land. I like how Jacob speaks here, even though the entrance into the Promised Land will happen nearly 500 years later Jacob speaks confidently. Why wouldn’t he? His encounters with Yahweh over his life have shaped him in profound ways, and Jacob speaks as one who knows the faithfulness of the God he serves. Jacob may not have expected the hardships that come his way, but his encounters with Yahweh were such that he knew God’s ways and will were guiding the story along better than he would ever imagine!
Jacob blesses Joseph’s two sons. I wonder in this moment if Jacob remembers full well his deception he pulled on his own father. As he prepares to offer the shalom of God upon Joseph’s sons, Jacob crosses his arms, and gives the younger son the greater blessing (48:17-20). I know we have alluded to it a couple of times already in this week’s readings, but notice who Jacob closes out his blessing. He closes out the blessing to Joseph’s boys by telling them of the future Exodus out of Egypt. Even though all Joseph, his brothers and the Egyptians can see is the severity of the famine, a day will come when Jacob’s descendants and Israel will be delivered from the future hardships! If you have gotten this far in your daily reading this year, you have to keep reading! God’s story isn’t coming to end at the end of the book of Genesis. In many ways it is just getting started.
1. What stood out to you today?
2. What is one thing you can take away from this chapter?