faith comes by hearingand children are welcome
— Romans 10.17 —
Who are you? How do you know? Can we really know ourselves, our lives, our friends, our community, our world... anything without knowing the Maker of all things? Where do you begin and end? Can you know without knowing God who is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega?
South Church, can we be a rescue mission, a family desperately depending on almighty God, well-equipped to point others to their hope of life, without knowing Him who is eternal life?
"This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." -Jn 17.3
We exist to glorify God by enjoying Him forever! But we cannot enjoy who we do not know.
By His grace, as the light of Genesis is exposed before our eyes and ears, may we learn more of who He is, how He is, and, therefore, who and how we are to glorify and enjoy Him forever.
Many, many are the amazing moments of Jacob's life: wrestled in the womb, cheated his brother out of blessing & birthright, ran off from his home, beheld the angel of God & His heavenly ladder, was cheated by his father-in-law for Leah & Rachel, for little to no livestock, he wrestled with God, reunited with his brother, bereaved of his beloved wife & son only to receive back the later, blessed the world's highest commander... just to name a few. But which would you say was his most faithful experience? According to the author of Hebrews 11.21, Jacob's most faithful moment is attested to in our passage today.
Do you bless your children? Do you even know how or what it means to "bless"?
Have you learned from your walk with the Lord that His ways aren't always our ways... in fact, hardly ever?!
What are you banking on? What keeps you engaged in the fight of faith? Is it the ups & downs, and ebb & flow of your faith? Where do you find power to conquer cancelled sin?
May God grant us the grace to cover all of these and so much more in our passage today.
28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were 147 years.
29 And when the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal kindly and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but let me lie with my fathers. Carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying place.” He answered, “I will do as you have said.” 31 And he said, “Swear to me”; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself upon the head of his bed.
48:1 After this, Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 And it was told to Jacob, “Your son Joseph has come to you.” Then Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed. 3 And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, 4 and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples and will give this land to your offspring after you for an everlasting possession.’ 5 And now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. 6 And the children that you fathered after them shall be yours. They shall be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance. 7 As for me, when I came from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”
8 When Israel saw Joseph's sons, he said, “Who are these?” 9 Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” And he said, “Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.” 10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. So Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them. 11 And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.” 12 Then Joseph removed them from his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near him. 14 And Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands (for Manasseh was the firstborn). 15 And he blessed Joseph and said,
“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day,
16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys;
and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him, and he took his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. 18 And Joseph said to his father, “Not this way, my father; since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.” 20 So he blessed them that day, saying,
“By you Israel will pronounce blessings, saying,
‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.’”
Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. 21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your fathers. 22 Moreover, I have given to you rather than to your brothers one mountain slope that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.”
blue = leaders only
living on mission: Continue planning to Restore Christmas Eve to Our First Responders: Who? What? When? How?
sharing life together: Fathers or mothers if no Father, how are you leading your family?
How do you bless your children?
growing in truth: What do you remember about Sunday's passage? The dying faithful patriarch preparing to die, prepares the next generation to live: gives the gift of identity, blessing. The "cross" proved a stumbling block for Joseph, but Jacob assured him that he had learned that God's ways are not our ways, but He is always faithful & good.
Read Moses' words in Psalm 90.12. Why would Moses pray this? Does knowledge of certain, mortal death cause you to examine yourself spiritually?