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Today is a big reading day! We finish up Genesis! Today in Genesis Chapter 48 we read about Jacob blessing Ephraim and Manasseh! One thing I thought about when reading this chapter and the next chapter was how interesting it is that blessings had so much importance and significance back in the days of the patriarchs. And I wonder - do we have blessings today that are as significant? Do fathers bless kids or grandkids these days? Maybe so... I guess I just haven't noticed it in my family... :) I do think there are still some "blessings" today that hold some incredible significance today. Wedding vows come to mind and the blessings that come from the pastor/priest/minister during this time. Church ceremonies or rituals come to mind - Communion, Baptism, Funerals, etc. And then certainly above all else, there is the amazing and eternal blessing we receive from Jesus himself - the free blessing and free gift of salvation. What else is there today that I'm missing? Have you been "blessed" by others in some way, like we read about in today's 2 chapters? Have you "blessed" others? Please share in the Comments section below. Below is a painting by the American artist Benjamin West from the early 19th century of Jacob blessing Ephraim and Manasseh - and with his arms appropriately crossed as per the text :) -
In Genesis chapter 49 we read about Jacob blessing his sons - and these are some very accurate blessings he gives as we will see as we continue through the Bible this year. Perhaps Predictions or Prophecies might be the better term for Jacob's blessings in this chapter. Verse 10 is awesome: "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will obey." This verse can apply to 2 descendants of Judah - King David and then ultimately and eternally to Jesus. In verse 22 we read this about Joseph: "Joseph is a fruitful tree," And this is certainly true, as his descendants will include Joshua, Deborah & Gideon & Jephthah (3 judges of Israel), and Samuel the prophet. Below is an image of Jacob blessing his 12 sons:
Below is a map that should be helpful to review based on today's blessing from Jacob of his sons. Obviously we still need to get through the Exodus and a few other things before the twelve tribes have this land below :), but this is a nice overview for now of where things are going and correlate with Jacob's blessing in today's readings:
Genesis chapter 50 verses 19 & 20 stood out to me as Joseph spoke to his brothers: ""Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, to judge and punish you? As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people." Again, I am impressed with Joseph's character here. His brothers seemed to think that Joseph hadn't really forgiven them, and that he was waiting to get back at them after their father had passed away. But, I think we see here that Joseph had truly forgiven his brothers! It was water under the bridge. And not only had Joseph forgiven them, but he saw the power of how God turned something bad into something incredibly good. I wonder about this in our lives today - do we truly forgive other people like Joseph forgave his brothers? Or, do we maybe hold some piece of unforgiveness within us? Maybe we keep bringing up the wrong that somebody did to us? Maybe we do this to make them feel a bit guilty from time to time? Will we instead fully forgive and fully move forward?
One interesting side note in chapter 50 was the embalming of Jacob & Joseph. Embalming was an Egyptian custom - not a Hebrew custom. Some commentaries suggest that Jacob & Joseph were likely being respectful of the Egyptian customs of the day. The Egyptians believed in an afterlife - and believed that the embalming allowed the deceased to utilize their body in the afterlife. Below is an illustration from the 13th century "Psalter of St. Louis" of Jacob´s corpse being laid in the tomb by his twelve sons:
Bible.org's commentary on Genesis chapter 48 titled "The View from the Graveyard" is at this link and commentary on chapter 49 titled "The Purpose of Prophecy" is at this link and commentary on Genesis chapter 50 titled "The End of An Era" is at this link.
Worship Video: Today's readings reminded me of Casting Crowns' song "Thrive:"
Are you thriving in your life today? Click here and Thrive!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his." Genesis 49:10 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you are in a saving relationship with the one who holds the scepter of Judah forevermore, Jesus Christ. Pray that you are living in obedience to Jesus today, tomorrow, and forevermore.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our Chronological Bible readings at this link.
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