From Genesis to Now: Blessing
The last three chapters of Genesis closes out the life of the last patriarch, Jacob—Israel, the namesake of the nation God chose to especially reveal Himself through.
When Jacob appears before Pharaoh, he summarizes his life in comparison to Abraham and Isaac: “My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.”
Jacob looks back on his life with sorrow, yet his parents Isaac and Rebecca, too, had many years when Jacob’s lived far from them.
So, the last 17 years of Jacob’s life was to be spent in Egypt. I wonder how often he looked into the morning and evening Egyptian sky and longed for the hill country around Hebron. In the darkness of his failing vision, did he ponder the vision of God’s promise that He was there too in the fertile Egyptian soil and that He’d one day accompany a great nation back to his homeland?
Jacob makes Joseph promise he’ll take his body back to be buried in the family cave. He would rest next to Leah, the wife who’d deceived him. I’ve always wondered if they they found a measure of happiness together in the long years following Rachel’s death.
Jacob claims Joseph’s sons as his own, giving Joseph a double portion of blessing in the nation of Israel—and placing the younger above the older, not a surprising gesture on the part of Jacob. It also reveals that God chooses whom He will. It matters not the birth order, or any other cultural traditions we have.
Then, he reassures Joseph, the brother who holds the welfare of his entire family in his hands: “I am about to die, but God will be with you.” Could a father bequeath any greater promise and blessing on a child?
So, as God had always directed Joseph’s life, his father assures him that long after he is gone, God will not leave him but continue to direct his steps. A reassuring word from a person we respect means so much and encourages us in the path before us.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything