Blessings–Genesis 49

When Jacob was ready to die, he gave a final talk to his sons.  He took time to “bless” each of them. The blessing he provided was not a treasure or property of some sort, instead, it was disclosure of what was to come for each of them—based on their character and behavior.  In the “blessing”, Jacob told his sons some pretty hard things.  None were intended as an insult, instead, each was simply a look ahead at what was to come. Still, as the last visit with their dad, the sons probably had a difficult time hearing the hard words. 

For our lives, God reveals the truth through his word.  So many times, the truths of his word do not line up with our culture.  As such, those of us that believe them and follow them are often called intolerant and hateful. People do not want to be confronted with the truth, they want to be told that any and all behavior is OK.  But, as with Jacob’s sons, our behavior does have consequences.  Our behavior builds a character that becomes not only what we do, but it also becomes who we are.  We should, therefore, live in a way that honors God and shows the world his true nature of love and integrity. Make no mistake, your life and character are intertwined and will define you and your journey.

God Bless You

Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.

“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob;     listen to your father Israel.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,     my might, the first sign of my strength,     excelling in honor, excelling in power. Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel,     for you went up onto your father’s bed,     onto my couch and defiled it…v26

Your father’s blessings are greater     than the blessings of the ancient mountains,     than[n] the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,     on the brow of the prince among[o] his brothers.

27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;     in the morning he devours the prey,     in the evening he divides the plunder.”

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him…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

God’s Ways–Genesis 48-Final

God is simply free from usual convention. The old joke put it this way–God created man in his image, and men have been trying to return the favor ever since! God will not be put in a box. His ways are not our ways. 

When Joseph brought his sons  to be blessed by Israel, Israel blessed the younger brother ahead of the older.  God’s plan sees ahead, much farther and wider than we could imagine. So he could lead Israel to bless Joseph and his sons in a way consistent with his plan. 

That is why we spend a great deal of time confused by what God does in our lives. We can only see from our limited perspective. God, conversely, sees and knows all things. While it is difficult, God asks us to trust him. 

When we do trust him, he navigates life’s twists and turns–and prepares and leads us through the seemingly impossible course into a full and purposeful life here and an eternity with him in Heaven. That is why our faith is the most important gift to God. 

Be prepared–we will probably never fully understand why God does what he does, but, if we trust him–we will be blessed beyond our wildest dreams. 

God Bless You

Then he blessed Joseph and said,“May the God before whom my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac, walked—the God who has been my shepherdall my life, to this very day,

the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm—may he bless these boys.May they preserve my nameand the names of Abraham and Isaac.And may their descendants multiply greatlythroughout the earth.”

But Joseph was upset when he saw that his father placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head. So Joseph lifted it to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.

“No, my father,” he said. “This one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.”

But his father refused. “I know, my son; I know,” he replied. “Manasseh will also become a great people, but his younger brother will become even greater. And his descendants will become a multitude of nations.”

So Jacob blessed the boys that day with this blessing: “The people of Israel will use your names when they give a blessing. They will say, ‘May God make you as prosperous as Ephraim and Manasseh.’” In this way, Jacob put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.

This Land is Your Land–Genesis 48 Part 1

As Jacob was dying he wanted the important things taken care of. The most important thing was his covenant with God. God promised the land of Canaan to him and his ancestors as an eternal gift. Jacob knew that he needed a godly son to make sure they people never lost that vision. So, Jacob picked Joseph to carry the message. Ironically, Joseph the 2nd in charge in Egypt was called to remind the family this was not their home. 

In our lives, being ready for heaven is not a checklist exercise. It is simply a matter of preparing your heart to surrender to the Lord’s leadership. Like Israel, we make a covenant with God. When we surrender our selfish will and follow him, he gives us the promise of an eternal life and home. There is no out clause, as with Israel, God is committed to us forever. All we have to do is follow. But, that is the part we struggle with the most. Help me, Lord, to humble myself and follow you. 

God Bless you.

When Joseph arrived, Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to see you.” So Jacob gathered his strength and sat up in his bed.

Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me.

He said to me, ‘I will make you fruitful, and I will multiply your descendants. I will make you a multitude of nations. And I will give this land of Canaan to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’

Its a great Place to visit…Genesis 47 Final Part 2

 

Jacob was able to spend 17 years in Egypt.  He lived in the best of Egypt and was able to renew and restore the relationship with his beloved son Joseph.  While the move was a great thing and saved the nation of Israel, Jacob knew he was not home.  So as he was starting to fade, he called Joseph in and asked him to take him home after he died. For as nice as Goshen was, it was simply borrowed land from a gracious king.

  God had already supplied a nation for Israel. The land of Canaan was to be their home. So Israel asked the son that took him away from home, to ultimately put him back.  He dared not trust the others.  For as reformed as they had become, he knew they were still driven by self-interest.  Joseph had lived selflessly and restored his family and the nation of Egypt–he could be trusted.

In our journey, we also are faced daily with the choice of settling in here and calling this life home–OR–journeying through this life with the knowledge and confidence that our father has our home ready and waiting at the end of this journey. We need to walk as Jacob did–grateful for this life, but focused upon what is to come.  Paul said it best–“Set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above–NOT on earthly things!” (Colossians 3:1-2) Let’s walk as Israel walked–As ambassadors, not citizens.

God Bless You

Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number.

28 Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven. 29 When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.”

“I will do as you say,” he said.

31 “Swear to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

Good Governing–Genesis 47 Final

Now that Joseph had his family back and settled in, it was time to be about the business of Pharaoh.  Joseph used an amazing mixture of savvy and grace to administer his Pharaoh’s Kingdom.  At the end of the famine, Pharaoh owned the land’s, the livestock and the people.  As things tightened, the people gladly let those “things” go to save their lives and families.  But in the end, while they no longer owned their stuff–they had the use and enjoyment of it, because Joseph left them in charge of their stuff for a small fee–20%.  In that move, he not only won the wealth of Egypt for the Pharaoh; he also won the hearts of Egypt as well.

So often, we forget that doing what is technically right–without mercy, can be devastating.  Just because you can take from others doe not mean you have to.  When we treat people with grace and respect, even in their worst periods, we will receive from them a lifetime of loyalty and devotion.  That combination is often exponentially greater than the trinkets and bobbles we could heartlessly tear away. In the end, we find that loyalty and devotion are so much more valuable for us, our family and the generations to come.  Joseph amassed great wealth for Pharaoh…he also amassed a united and devoted kingdom–That is great governing! 

God Bless You

15 When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all Egypt came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? Our money is all gone.”

16 “Then bring your livestock,” said Joseph. “I will sell you food in exchange for your livestock, since your money is gone.” 17 So they brought their livestock.   So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. The Egyptians, one and all, sold their fields, because the famine was too severe for them. The land became Pharaoh’s, 21 and Joseph reduced the people to servitude,[c] from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 However, he did not buy the land of the priests, because they received a regular allotment from Pharaoh and had food enough from the allotment Pharaoh gave them. That is why they did not sell their land.

23 Joseph said to the people, “Now that I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh, here is seed for you so you can plant the ground. 24 But when the crop comes in, give a fifth of it to Pharaoh.

Israel Blessed Pharaoh–Genesis 47 Part 1

Now that Israel and his family were together again, they began the daily life adventure. Joseph settled them in a nice part of Egypt and Israel met his Son’s boss.  Jacob blessed the Pharaoh twice. He realized that this man saved and blessed his son and he saved and blessed his entire family. Pharaoh was God’s tool to build the chosen nation of Israel. 

In our lives, the source of our income and provision is rarely the church. We have jobs and investments that are God’s means of providing for our lives. We sometimes forget that, as God’s means of provision, we should be grateful and prayerful for those that we work for. Remember, Joseph was a slave and a prison trustee before becoming the 2nd in command in Egypt. Each job is important and a part of God’s plan for our lives.

We are therefore called to work as though we are working for God, not men. We give them our best effort each day. We bless them as Jacob blessed Pharaoh. By living and working with that attitude we will never be ashamed of our effort and we will truly honor God with all of our lives. 

God Bless You. 

Then Joseph brought in his father, Jacob, and presented him to Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh.

“How old are you?” Pharaoh asked him.

Jacob replied, “I have traveled this earth for 130 hard years. But my life has been short compared to the lives of my ancestors.”

Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh again before leaving his court.

So Joseph assigned the best land of Egypt—the region of Rameses—to his father and his brothers, and he settled them there, just as Pharaoh had commanded.

And Joseph provided food for his father and his brothers in amounts appropriate to the number of their dependents, including the smallest children.

OK, I Am Ready–Genesis 46 Continued

Most folks around the world feeling as though their lives are incomplete.  They strive each day to be their best and to accomplish all that is in store for them.  Israel was the same.  After Joseph’s disappearance, however, he became was a lost man.  He could see no way to close the loop.  Sure he continued the journey…sort of, but he could not see any way for things to conclude like he planned. 

 Then, out of the blue, the circle closed. God’s plan was revealed and Israel was transported to meet and see the son that he thought he lost. After a long look and a lot of tears, Israel could finally close the loop and go home to God in peace. It had to have been one of the greatest days in Israel’s life.

 When the object of our faith is God and the measure of our faith is complete—then God becomes all we need and his plan becomes the desire of our heart. Abraham lost God as the object of his faith—now he had it back. When we face struggles in our lives, we are tempted to replace God’s plan with our version of life. When the two plans fail to overlap, we lose our faith in God’s plan and journey aimlessly with ours. Once we can return to God’s plan and leadership, then we can be complete in him and ready to finish the race he has set out for us. Solomon said it best—“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, don’t lean on your own understanding–acknowledge him in all your ways and he will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

 God Bless You

As they neared their destination, Jacob sent Judah ahead to meet Joseph and get directions to the region of Goshen. And when they finally arrived there,

Joseph prepared his chariot and traveled to Goshen to meet his father, Jacob. When Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept, holding him for a long time.

Finally, Jacob said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.”

And Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s entire family, “I will go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s entire family have come to me from the land of Canaan.