Benjamin opened Jacob’s tent flap and leaned in. “Abba, Joseph is here to see you.”
Jacob sat up in his bed and leaned on his staff. “Come in Joseph. I need to talk to you.”
Joseph came in and sat next to his father. “I’m here, Abba.”
Jacob leaned into his favorite son and placed a hand on his leg. “I’ll soon join our fathers in death. Swear to me that you won’t bury me in Egypt. I want to be buried in the cave Abraham bought as a burial plot for Sarah. Isaac and Rebekah are there as well, as is Leah. I belong next to her. I wish Rachel could have been there as well, but she had to be buried near Ephrath.”
Joseph hugged his dad across the shoulders. “I promise to take you there, Abba.”
Jacob lifted his leg. “Place your hand under my thigh and swear to me that you won’t bury me in Egypt.”
Joseph did exactly that.
A short time later news reached Joseph that his dad was ill. “Manasseh, where’s your brother?”
Both young men walked into their father’s room. “We’re both here, Father.”
Joseph smiled at them. “Prepare for a journey. You’re going with me to meet your grandfather before he dies. I’ll see to it that he blesses you both.”
Judah tied the tent flap open before he came in. “Joseph is here to see you, Abba.”
Jacob held out his hand so Judah could help him sit up in bed. “Tell him to come in. I have something important I need to discuss with him.”
Joseph came in and knelt at Jacob’s feet. “I’m here, Abba.”
“Joseph, I claim your two sons born to you before I came to Egypt as my own sons. Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine as Reuben and Simeon are mine. That way you will get a double portion when the land is divided as has been promised by the God of our fathers, Abraham and Isaac.”
Then Jacob noticed the two people who came in with Joseph. “Who are these two?”
Joseph stood next to his sons. “These are your two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.”
Tears filled Jacob’s eyes. “Bring them to me.”
He smothered them in hugs and kisses. “I never thought I’d see you again. Now I have seen your sons, too.”
Joseph made sure Manasseh was on Jacob’s right-hand side and Ephraim on his left as they knelt before Jacob. When Jacob crossed his arms and placed his right hand on Ephraim Joseph protested. “No, Abba. Manasseh is the older son. Your right hand belongs here.”
Jacob smiled, “I know, Joseph. Manasseh will be a great nation, too, but, Ephraim will be greater. I know what I’m doing.”
Jacob placed his hands back on their heads. “May the God of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, be your God, too. I now declare you as my own sons. In God’s name Israel makes this blessing, ‘May God make you as prosperous as Ephraim and Manasseh’.”
Israel went on to bless his natural-born sons before he breathed his last breath.
I always smile when I read this story in the Bible. Here we have that old deceiver, Jacob, granting a blessing on two young men he’d nave met before that day.
His mind would have naturally traced his own upbringing as the younger of twin boys. His heart would automatically reach out to the younger of the two sons of Joseph.
Knowing that Joseph would place his sons so that the elder boy would be on Jacob’s right he crosses his arms before he blesses them. No deception was involved this time as the younger one received the greater blessing.
I’m so glad God doesn’t play favorites this way. Nor does He follow a strict cultural structure when He grants sonship to all who come to Him in repentance.
No, your past doesn’t affect God’s blessing to you. He knows all about what you’ve done.
Jesus died for every sinner. He doesn’t grade on a curve when He grants salvation. You become a child of God the moment you accept Jesus’ death as payment for your sins.
A mass murderer is as free to accept God’s gift of salvation as a director of an orphanage. The only criteria He calls for is repentance from sins and an acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice as the only way to bridge the chasm that’s been established by sin.
If you put your hope in anything else you’ll come up short in your endeavor to be a child of God. Be leery of anyone who presents anything other than this truth from the Bible.
You’re free to practice whatever form of religious expression you want to after your acceptance of Jesus’ gift of salvation. Just don’t trust your religion to get you to heaven.
I find it interesting in this account that Jacob calls himself Israel as he establishes the blessing involving Joseph’s two sons. He wanted it clear that there was no deception used or inferred in what he was stating here.
He knew he didn’t deserve to be seen by God as he was. His life was so full of hypocrisy he wouldn’t have blamed God one second for disowning him as an heir to His promise to Abraham.
That’s not the kind of God we serve. He takes us in because of His love for us. There’s nothing we can do to earn this incredible gift from an awesome Entity.
Presenting anything other than that is the thing we need to avoid at all cost. Promising prosperity for obedience is a sham. There’s too much poverty in the world to believe such a falsehood. Sure, it sounds logical, but, it isn’t the truth from the Bible.
Jesus said it’s the sick who need a physician, not the healthy.
Let’s do our best to guide people to the great Physician who is the only One who can heal the wounded soul back to God.
I’ll see you later. Wade