LastCall: (Genesis 47:27-48:16 ) Joseph's Vow to Jacob -Bob Caldwell

All is for Us

  "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.'" -Genesis 48:15

The closing days of Israel's (Jacob's) life had arrived and he found himself seeing it in a very different light than when he was younger. The saying that hindsight is much better than foresight proves true over and over again. There had been a time when he was convinced that all was against him (42:36). He had felt that he would never recover from the mourning and sorrow of thinking he had lost his son Joseph (37:35).

But what seemed impossible happened. The deep loss he had lived with was removed and what he had believed were circumstances against him turned out to ultimately all be for his good. He came to see that throughout his entire life God had taken care of him and protected him from every evil.

If we're honest, most of us will sometimes see life as an array of obstacles and evils that seem designed to stop us from ever experiencing God's divine blessing. But even when we see things that way, thank God He doesn't. As Paul the Apostle put it, if we are faithless, God remains faithful, because God will not stop being the faithful God that He is (2 Tim. 2:13).

In looking back on his life, Israel could see that the same God who had done amazing and marvelous things for others had done so for him too. What do you think? Don't you and I have the same God as Abraham, Isaac, and Israel? We do. Therefore, may we have grace and faith to not lose hope even when all things seem to tell us we have been abandoned by God and left overwhelmed by the evil intentions of others. If God is for us, who could ever ultimately win against His purposes for our lives? No one. God wins in the end, and so do we.

Genesis 47:27-48:16

 Joseph's Vow to Jacob

27 So Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly. 28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the length of Jacob's life was one hundred and forty-seven years. 29 When the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, "Now if I have found favor in your sight, please put your hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me. Please do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but let me lie with my fathers; you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place."
And he said, "I will do as you have said."

31 Then he said, "Swear to me." And he swore to him. So Israel bowed himself on the head of the bed.

Genesis 48

Jacob Blesses Joseph's Sons

1 Now it came to pass after these things that Joseph was told, "Indeed your father is sick"; and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 And Jacob was told, "Look, your son Joseph is coming to you"; and Israel strengthened himself and sat up on the bed. 3 Then 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 multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.' 5 And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. 6 Your offspring whom you beget after them shall be yours; they will be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance. 7 But as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died beside me in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was but a little distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem)."

Jacob Names His Burial Place (Verses 28 – 31)

v. 29 Under My Thigh – The thigh or loins represented the power to produce offspring. This oath seems to carry the belief in God's continued blessing upon the seed of Abraham.

v. 30 Carry Me Out of Egypt – We see here the confidence he had in God fulfilling His promises to give the land of Canaan to Abraham's seed, even though at this point it seemed so far from ever becoming a reality.

v. 31 Head of the Bed – Some translate the word bed "mitta" (Heb.) to be "matteh" (Heb.), or staff. This is the translation given in the Septuagint (ancient Greek translation), which was used in Hebrews 11:21. The main point is that Jacob concludes this request by bowing in worship to God. His heart looks in anticipation to being with his forefathers in heaven (v. 30) and to his offspring being within the land God had promised.

Jacob Blesses Ephraim And Manasseh (Verses 1-22)

v. 3 God Almighty"El Shaddai" (Heb.) This is a term for God that refers to His all-sufficient power or greatness in His intrinsic ability to do whatsoever He purposes.

Luz – This was the original name for Bethel (Gen. 28:19).

v. 4 Everlasting Possession – This seems to have a double reference, both to the long-standing commitment by God to maintain this land as Israel's, into the Millennium (i.e. the 1,000 year reign of Christ on Earth after His second return), and also with regard to the everlasting possession of a place before God as God's people in a "Kingdom not made with hands in the heavens."

v. 5 Ephraim and Manasseh Are Mine – These two sons of Joseph are adopted by Jacob (Israel) and will here after be found in the tribal listing in the place of their father Joseph. The position of the birthright or firstborn was given to Joseph, having been forfeited by Reuben because of his sin in becoming sexually involved with Bilhah (Gen. 35:18f).

v. 7 Rachel Died – Rachel, Joseph's mother, had died much earlier than the mothers of the other sons of Jacob, while giving birth to Benjamin. Jacob had always had a special love for Rachel (Gen. 29:20).

8 Then Israel saw Joseph's sons, and said, "Who are these?"

9 Joseph said to his father, "They are my sons, whom God has given me in this place."

And he said, "Please bring them to me, and I will bless them." 10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them. 11 And Israel said to Joseph, "I had not thought to see your face; but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring!"

12 So Joseph brought them from beside his knees, and he bowed down with his face to the earth. 13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near him. 14 Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 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,

16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil,
Bless the lads;
Let my name be named upon them,
And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."

v. 14 Guiding His Hands Knowingly – Joseph had positioned his older son in front of Jacob's right hand since the right hand always symbolized the greater blessing and that was to be given to the oldest son. Jacob felt God wanted to override this cultural norm and thus gave the younger child Ephraim the firstborn birthright.

v. 15 My Father's – Jacob's faith was often strengthened as he recalled the faithfulness of God to his grandfather Abraham and father Isaac (Gen. 28:13; 31:5,42; 32:9; 46:3).

Fed Me – Jacob acknowledges that God had cared for him as a good shepherd (Ps. 23).

v. 16 The Angel – Jacob also acknowledges the visual encounters he has had with God at critical and dangerous points in his life, especially at Peniel (Gen. 32:30-31).

Redeemed – This word conveys the protection and reclaiming of a person by one's "goel" (Heb.) or kinsman in times of trouble (Lev. 25:47, Num.35:19).

Devotions with Emotion

Michael James Stone

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