31st August 2023
Read (Hebrews 11v21)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
First posted on 1st December 2022
There will come a day that every one of us will die. I do not state this fact to annoy you or to ruin your day - I state it because it is true and it is essential that we face death by faith. Jacob knew that his day was coming and stressed to his son Joseph that he was not to be buried in Egypt. Jacob wanted to go home to Canaan and be buried in the promised land.
This in itself was an act of faith. Jacob was away from the land and his family had not yet possessed it but still Jacob wanted to be buried in home soil. He knew in his bones that the Lord would be faithful to His Word and one day the descendants of Israel would inhabit the land of promise. Jacob’s eyes may now have grown dim but they still shone with faith.
He told Joseph of the promises of God, how the Lord had appeared to him at Luz and promised to multiply his descendants and give them the land as an everlasting possession. Such was his confidence in this promise that Jacob wanted the sons of Joseph to share in it. He claimed Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh as his own and although the land was far away, Joseph’s sons would have a share in it.
This was a bitter sweet moment. Jacob’s life was coming to a close and he remembered his beloved wife Rachel whose death caused him much sorrow but at the same time he had once believed that he would never see his son again and yet in this moment Joseph and his two sons were at his bedside. Jacob invited his grandsons near to receive a blessing and so Joseph brought his sons to his father with the eldest Manasseh to Jacob’s right and the youngest Ephraim to his left.
Years before Jacob had also drawn near to his near blind father. In that moment he had used deception to receive the blessing. He had taken matters into his own hands despite the promise of God that the older would serve the younger. There would be no deception in Jacob’s tent, he crossed his hands and laid his right hand on Ephraim and his left hand on Manasseh.
This displeased Joseph for Manasseh was his firstborn and custom dictated that he should have the place of prominence, but Jacob had come full circle. Gone was the trickery of his youth and now he understood that the ways of the Lord were not our ways. Israel with eyes of faith gazed into the future seeing that Manasseh would be great but his younger brother would be greater still.
All of this would come to pass. The descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh would be great in number. They would have a share in the land. Joseph’s descendants would have the town of Shechem and he himself would one day be buried there. Every promise of God was yes and amen. It had been a long road for both father and son. Many years of heartache, imprisonment, strife,sadness and death had come upon them both but in this tender scene of blessing we see a mature and wise Jacob (now called Israel) blessing the sons of righteous Joseph. Israel’s life was coming to a close but his tired old eyes were filled with faith.
Brothers and sisters, each of us will one day die and it is of vital importance that we face it by faith. Israel summed up his life in this way “Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.” (Genesis 47v9)
Perhaps you feel the same? Life has hurt and bitterness creeps upon you. Child of God, may the Lord soften your heart. His ways may seem beyond our comprehension but the Lord is working out His plans in our lives. Every promise of God is yes and amen in Christ and the one who believes in Jesus knows the richest of blessings. Live and die by faith regardless of your troubles for the one who gains Christ, will lose nothing.
Q32 What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life? They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption, sanctification, and the several benefits which, in this life, do either accompany or flow from them.