Genesis – First, God
As we get older, we begin making arrangements for our final days. Many think of finances first and how the remains of our lives will be divided. We are the most important things that we will want to leave our children and their children? As I read of the last days of Jacob/Israel, his words of blessing to his son and his two sons touch my heart. We are often asking the wrong questions, centering our thoughts on things will fade and diminish in this world. In other words, we live our lives to leave something behind that has no meaning and just doesn’t matter in the bigger picture.
The better question, the most important question of all, is WHO will be echoed from our lives to our children and future generations who come after us?
I know a few stories of our ancestors of how they came to this country in which future generations settled. But I don’t know what they had, what things they passed on, how they lived and how prosperous they were. I only know that they loved God with all their hearts, minds and souls. God was echoed from previous generations to my grandparents to parents to me. God was, is and always will be echoed through the lives of our family. God is echoed with a resounding message of saving love, mercy and grace. I cannot begin to tell you of the gratitude I have for this echoing heritage.
We are not perfect but we are perfectly forgiven. We know the Source of life and Who to run to for assurance and help in troubled times. We trust that God knows what is best and will lead us and transform us continually until we see him face to face. I pray that is my echo to my children and grandchildren and their children. God’s echo cannot be stopped in the lives of those who love Him. That’s a promise.
Genesis 48, The Message
1-2 Some time after this conversation, Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” He took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and went to Jacob. When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come,” he roused himself and sat up in bed.
3-7 Jacob said to Joseph, “The Strong God appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me. He said, ‘I’m going to make you prosperous and numerous, turn you into a congregation of tribes; and I’ll turn this land over to your children coming after you as a permanent inheritance.’ I’m adopting your two sons who were born to you here in Egypt before I joined you; they have equal status with Reuben and Simeon. But any children born after them are yours; they will come after their brothers in matters of inheritance. I want it this way because, as I was returning from Paddan, your mother Rachel, to my deep sorrow, died as we were on our way through Canaan when we were only a short distance from Ephrath, now called Bethlehem.”
8 Just then Jacob noticed Joseph’s sons and said, “Who are these?”
9-11 Joseph told his father, “They are my sons whom God gave to me in this place.”
“Bring them to me,” he said, “so I can bless them.” Israel’s eyesight was poor from old age; he was nearly blind. So Joseph brought them up close. Old Israel kissed and embraced them and then said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has let me see your children as well!”
12-16 Joseph took them from Israel’s knees and bowed respectfully, his face to the ground. Then Joseph took the two boys, Ephraim with his right hand setting him to Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand setting him to Israel’s right, and stood them before him. But Israel crossed his arms and put his right hand on the head of Ephraim who was the younger and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, the firstborn. Then he blessed them:
The God before whom walked
my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
The God who has been my shepherd
all my life long to this very day,
The Angel who delivered me from every evil,
Bless the boys.
May my name be echoed in their lives,
and the names of Abraham and Isaac, my fathers,
And may they grow
covering the Earth with their children.
17-18 When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he thought he had made a mistake, so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s, saying, “That’s the wrong head, Father; the other one is the firstborn; place your right hand on his head.”
19-20 But his father wouldn’t do it. He said, “I know, my son; but I know what I’m doing. He also will develop into a people, and he also will be great. But his younger brother will be even greater and his descendants will enrich nations.” Then he blessed them both:
Israel will use your names to give blessings:
May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.
In that he made it explicit: he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
21-22 Israel then said to Joseph, “I’m about to die. God be with you and give you safe passage back to the land of your fathers. As for me, I’m presenting you, as the first among your brothers, the ridge of land I took from Amorites with my sword and bow.”
THINK ABOUT IT…
Jacob had enjoyed Joseph for seventeen years in Hebron (37:2), and now he would enjoy Joseph and his sons for seventeen years in Egypt (47:28). It was tragic that the sins of his sons had robbed their father of twenty-two years of Joseph’s life, but even in this sacrifice, God had beautifully worked out His plan and cared lovingly for His people.
Jacob was bedfast, his sight was failing (v. 8), and he knew that the end was near. But when Joseph walked into the room, Jacob mustered enough strength to sit up on the side of his bed and talk with his son about matters that were too important to delay. He didn’t talk about the difficulties of his life; he spoke about God Almighty (vv. 3, 11, 15, 20-21) and what He had done for His servant.
“May my name be echoed in their lives,” says Jacob. May Who I followed be echoed to future generations is what he is asking in his blessings. May he be remembered for Who he followed and Who was with him in good times and bad.
Jacob, like his fathers before him transferred this blessing of knowing God and fulfilling His promise on to his sons. Yes, there were properties, but God is the main theme of the blessing.
Who or what will be echoed in your family for generations to come?
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
–Jesus (Matthew 6:21)
Where is your heart?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Wow, who we are and what we do is reflected and echoed in the lives our children forever. Forgive us when the echo bring trouble and strife, confusion and unrest. Fill us with your Holy Spirit who transforms us to be more and more like you. May our children know, without doubt, that you are the most important relationship to have and to hold forever because of your echo in our lives.
In Jesus Name, Amen