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Genesis 48





 

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Today, we are jumping into Genesis 48. Let’s dive in with a brief summary.

After moving to Egypt, Jacob decides to give a big part of his special family blessing to Joseph's two oldest sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob, who has been talking about his own death for a long time, is now really close to passing.


When Joseph learns his father is very sick, he brings his two sons to get Jacob's blessing. Despite being very weak and having trouble even sitting up in bed, Jacob is ready for this moment. He starts by remembering when God appeared to him in a place called Luz (also known as Bethel) and God promised to make his family a great nation in Canaan. Jacob wants Joseph and his sons to know how important this promise is. He then says he will treat Joseph's sons as his own, putting them ahead of his actual first sons, Reuben and Simeon.


This means Joseph's family will get a bigger share of what Jacob leaves behind. A little side note perspective here is that Jacob still misses Rachel, Joseph's mother; he misses her a lot, and this might be a way of honoring her memory.


Jacob's next action is kind of ironic if we reflect on his own younger days. He once tricked his blind father into blessing him instead of his older brother, Esau. Now, with his own eyesight failing, Jacob asks Joseph to tell him who is standing in front of him. Despite often worrying and complaining, Jacob acknowledges that God has blessed him greatly, especially by allowing him to reunite with Joseph, who he thought was dead, and to see Joseph's children.


 When it's time for the blessing, Joseph positions his sons according to tradition, expecting the older one to receive the main blessing. However, Jacob crosses his hands, placing his right hand on the younger grandson's head, which is not the usual practice. Jacob's blessing asks for God's guidance and blessings for Ephraim and Manasseh, similar to those he received in his life. He wants them to continue the legacy of Abraham and Isaac. Now in this moment, Joseph is upset when he sees Jacob crossing his hands, possibly thinking it was a mistake or maybe even disagreeing with the decision to favor the younger son, Ephraim.


 But Jacob explains that he did it on purpose, predicting that Ephraim and Manasseh will both be successful, but Ephraim will be more so. In the end, Jacob gives Joseph and his descendants a specific piece of land in Canaan, which quite possibly could be Shechem, a place his sons had conquered earlier. This land, not previously mentioned in Genesis, becomes part of Jacob's legacy to Joseph. Jacob's actions and blessings for his sons and grandsons set the stage for future events and the distribution of the Israelites in the Promised Land.

 

Now, as we wrap up our summary of Genesis 48, let’s look at three points of reflection.


  1. God’s Unexpected Grace: Just as Jacob chose Ephraim over Manasseh, God often works in ways that defy our expectations. His grace is not restricted by human standards of seniority or merit. Honestly, this can encourage us to trust in God’s plan, even when it seems unconventional or surprising.

  2. Blessing Others: Jacob used his final days to bless his grandsons (Genesis 48:15-16). This reminds us of the power of our words and the importance of using them to affirm and bless others. We can strive to speak words of blessing and encouragement to the people in our lives.

  3. Legacy of Faith: Jacob’s faith in God was evident in his blessings, and he passed this faith down to his descendants. This challenges us to consider the spiritual legacy we’re leaving for future generations. Are we, like Jacob, passing on a strong and grounded faith in God?


Genesis 48, through the lens of faith and blessings, invites us to live a life marked by trust in God's promises and the power of blessings. As we apply these principles to our lives, we become conduits of God's grace and faithfulness to the generations that follow.

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