Scripture reading for January 17th: Genesis 48-50
Have you ever been at the bedside of a loved one who was soon to enter eternity? If they are alert and able to talk, we listen for every word and thought. In this present time, drugs for pain control limit our contact or the dying person’s ability to communicate. Joseph or someone in the family took down Jacob’s last words to each family member. He gave a special blessing to Joseph’s two sons, Ephriam and Manasseh. He then spoke a word, also recorded, over the other sons. (Genesis 49:9-20)
The blessing of Joseph’s sons effectively made Joseph the first-born. Israel blessed Joseph and adopted the boys. In this way, Joseph would get the double portion. ( The first-born was to get a double portion of the inheritance.) The other brothers had tried to kill Joseph and cut him out, but God re-established his place and doubled the inheritance! Israel also chose Ephriam over Manasseh. The younger over the older. All blessing and God’s reward comes not from birth order but Divine order! God alone knows the hearts and the end from the beginning!
One other blessing is worth noting. Judah also received a word in Genesis 49:8-12. Judah was told that his brothers would praise him. (His name means “praise”.) His hand would be on the neck of his enemies and his father’s sons would bow down to him. He was called a “lion’s cub”. Jesus was the offspring of Judah in the genealogy of Matthew 1:3. He is known as the “Lion of Judah” (Revelation 5:5) He triumphed over all God’s enemies! (Colossians 3:15) He is King of Kings and rules over nations! (Revelation 15:3-4) Through some of the “last words” of Israel, written almost 4000 years ago, we have a prophecy of Jesus Christ!
Israel finally made Joseph swear to take his bones back to the promised land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). He so believed in God returning and that land being his property that he wanted to be buried there. Israel got his wish and awaits the resurrection in the near future! What famous last words! What a way to go! The only thing better will be the rapture!
What would you say if you just had a very short time left here on earth? What words would you leave with those closest to you? Would your faith be evident in you life and statements?
“You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness–who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” Genesis 49:9-10.
“When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” Genesis 49:33