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Genesis 48




SCRIPTURE: Genesis 48

The story of Genesis is beginning to wind down.  In this chapter we find that Jacob is near the end of his life on this earth.  He knew that his time was short.  But, as was the custom in that part of the world in that period of history, Jacob had some important stuff to do.

As the chapter opens, we find Jacob recounting his life journey.  As he does this, however, he really does put the emphasis on what God did not what he did.  Except for the memory of the death of his beloved Rachel, Jacob’s telling of his history is a very positive thing.

When we get to verse 5 a very interesting thing happens.  Jacob effectively adopts Ephraim and Manessah.  That means they would not be treated as grandsons but as sons.  The blessing that Jacob gives Ephraim and Manessah was the first blessing given to “his sons” which puts these two boys in a most important place and position.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself or the story but part of what happens in the adopting of Ephraim and Manessah would be the displacement of the tribes of Levi and Simeon later in the narrative.  For example, the tribe of Levi would not receive any inheritance in the promised land of Canaan.  Instead they would live in several cities scattered across Canaan. And it may be that the tribe of Simeon was absorbed into the tribe of Judah (Joshua 19:1).  This is particularly possible if you will look at what Genesis 48:5-7 says. Levi’s and Simeon’s inheritance in Canaan would have effectively gone to Ephraim and Manessah.

There is another interesting aspect of Genesis 47.  When Jacob puts his hands on Ephraim and Manessah to bless them as his sons, he intentionally reverses the birth order.  The culture of the time would have said that the elder son should receive the first and greater blessing.  Instead the first and greater blessing went to the second son.   

This is the fifth time in Genesis that we encounter a reversal of birth order.  God chose Abel, not Cain; Isaac, not Ishmael; Jacob, not Esau; and Joseph, not Rueben.  And now the choice is Ephraim, not Manessah.  One of the take aways from this pattern is we should remember that our ways are not God’s ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts.  God is not constricted to follow our plans or cultural patterns.  He can do what He wants to do.  And what He does is always right.

One last thing… In Genesis 48:17, we read that Joseph “was displeased” with what his father had done when he gave the first and greater blessing to the younger child.  To my knowledge, this is the only time recorded in Scripture that says Joseph “was displeased”.  With everything that he went through, there certainly had to be many opportunities to be displeased with people and/or circumstances.  Nevertheless, as far as I can find, this is the only time I can find that says Joseph was displeased.

There are a couple of take aways from this.  One, if we truly trust the sovereign plan of God, there should be few, if any, opportunities to be displeased about anything.  Two, if we are displeased about a lot of things or everything (in other words, if we are always displeased), our displeasure will mean very little to very few.  

We should strive to live trusting that God is in control.  And we should live with few complaints.

Genesis 47




By Jeremy Witt

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 47

At the end of chapter 46, Joshua tells his family to tell Pharaoh that they are shepherds.  This is important because Egyptians viewed shepherds as a one of the lowest occupations a person could have.  Because of Joshua and Pharaoh trusted him and gave Jacob and his family the land of Goshen, the best grasslands in all of Egypt.  God provided and took care of Jacob in the midst of famine.  Imagine how Joshua felt when he realized that God had brought him through all of those difficult situations in order to save his entire family!  When we look back at our own lives, we can see how God is faithful as well.  Those spiritual markers help us to look back and remember what the LORD has done!

At the beginning of chapter 47, we find Joshua taking care of his family just as God had showed him many years prior through his dreams.  Joshua had gone from favorite son to being sold as a slave.  He went from the pit to the prison.  Ultimately, Joshua moved from prison to being 2nd in command of all of Egypt because Joshua remained faithful to the LORD.  Even in the midst lows of his life (yes, in our lives as well), God shows His sovereignty and used difficult circumstances to prepare Joshua (and even us) for what God had planned all along.  So many times we find ourselves asking why.  Through the life of Joshua we can learn that the answer may just lie in our future for a specific purpose that will help us and those close to us.  We just need to have the right perspective that God has a plan and a purpose even if we don’t see it at the time.

Verse 10 stands out to me for one reason.  Jacob blessed Pharaoh.  This blessing was unlike any other Pharaoh had ever received outside of Joshua himself.  Why would that be?  First, a simple shepherd blessed Pharaoh, the most powerful man on the planet at that time.  That would only happen because of God.  It’s a little ironic that such a simple man would impact the world like this.  When we look back at Jacob and his own life, we see the importance of the blessing and through whom the blessing came!   All blessings come from the LORD God. 

In verses 13-26, what stands out to me is the organized leadership of Joshua.  A wise person pays attention to the details and keeping things in order.  Some might call this logistics, which is in my wheelhouse, or you might use some other term, but Joshua helped the nation, helped the people, and made Pharaoh even wealthier in the midst of famine.  

In verse 27, we see that family prospered in Goshen.  The herds grew as did the family.  We see that Jacob and his family were in Egypt 17 years once they arrived.  The chapter concludes with Jacob making Joshua promise to bury him back in the Promised Land with his father and grandfather.  We do not know whether Jacob knew that he was about to die or if God had told him.  Regardless, Jacob never lost sight of the  promise that God had given His grandfather, Abraham, and to his father Isaac, even in the midst of the famine.  

Remember this, God is faithful and can use the lows of our life for good down the road.  Be faithful to the LORD God.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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