48 Some time later Joseph was told, “Your father is sick.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. 2 Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you.” So Israel became stronger and sat up in bed. 3 Jacob said to Joseph, “The Mighty God appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan. He blessed me there. 4 He said to me, ‘I am going to give you children. I will make your family very large. I will make you a community of nations. And I will give this land to your children after you. It will belong to them forever.’ 5 “Now then, two sons were born to you in Egypt. It happened before I came to you here. They will be counted as my own sons. Ephraim and Manasseh will belong to me, in the same way that Reuben and Simeon belong to me. 6 Any children born to you after them will belong to you. Any territory they receive will come from the land that will be given to Ephraim and Manasseh. 7 As I was returning from Paddan, Rachel died. It made me very sad. She died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way. We weren’t very far away from Ephrath. So I buried her body there beside the road to Ephrath.” Ephrath was also called Bethlehem. 8 Israel saw Joseph’s sons. He asked, “Who are they?” 9 “They are the sons God has given me here,” Joseph said to his father. Then Israel said, “Bring them to me. I want to give them my blessing.” 10 Israel’s eyes were weak because he was old. He couldn’t see very well. So Joseph brought his sons close to him. His father kissed them and hugged them. 11 Israel said to Joseph, “I never thought I’d see your face again. But now God has let me see your children too.” 12 Then Joseph lifted his sons off Israel’s knees. Joseph bowed down with his face to the ground. 13 He placed Ephraim on his right, toward Israel’s left hand. He placed Manasseh on his left, toward Israel’s right hand. Then he brought them close to Israel. 14 But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head. He did it even though Ephraim was the younger son. He crossed his arms and put his left hand on Manasseh’s head. He did it even though Manasseh was the older son. 15 Then Israel gave Joseph his blessing. He said, “May God bless these boys. He is the God of my grandfather Abraham and my father Isaac. They walked faithfully with him. He is the God who has been my shepherd all my life right up to this day. 16 He is the Angel who has saved me from all harm. May he bless these boys. May they be called by my name. May they also be called by the names of my grandfather Abraham and my father Isaac. And may the number of them greatly increase on the earth.”
In this passage there is such a beautiful picture of Jacob’s relationship with God and his knowledge of God’s character. Jacob speaks of God’s kindness and faithfulness, and it is clear that this knowledge comes from his personal experience of God’s goodness. Jacob says that God has allowed him to see not only his son Joseph, who he thought dead, but even Joseph’s sons. This restoration was not a happy coincidence or luck, Jacob identifies God as the one from whom all blessings flow. In blessing Joseph’s sons he describes his experience of God; the God of his father and grandfather who has remained faithful to his family; the shepherd who has looked after him all his life; and the one who has redeemed or rescued him from all harm. Wow! What a rich picture of Jacob knowing God.
I want to be like Jacob, speaking confidently of God’s character because I know my God and take time to stop and identify His workings in my life. I want to pass on to others a rich picture of God in His goodness. God, please help me to truly seek rich relationship with you day by day, and to see your goodness all around me. Amen.
Written by Beth Waugh