Jacob Passes Down the Covenant Blessing

Wendy Blight

Day: 48 | Plan: Genesis

Today's Reading: Genesis 48

Genesis 48:15-16 (NIV) "Then he blessed Joseph and said, ‘May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm—may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly on the earth.’”

Throughout our Genesis journey, we have met each of Jacob’s twelve sons, and spent much time with one particular son, his beloved Joseph. These twelve sons became the 12 patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. During the last hours of Jacob’s life, he called Joseph and his two sons to his bedside to speak his last words of blessing. In that moment, he adopted Joseph’s two sons as his own. This was significant because it meant that Manasseh and Ephraim would share in Jacob’s inheritance equally with Jacob’s own sons.

When the time came for the blessing, Joseph positioned his oldest, Manasseh, on Jacob's right, knowing Hebrew tradition is to bless the older son by placing the right hand upon his head. But Jacob intentionally crossed his hands and placed his right hand on Ephraim instead of Manasseh, giving him the greater blessing. This was not a new tactic for God. He used this reverse pattern in three previous generations: Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, and Joseph over Reuben.

Jacob's blessing established Ephraim and Manasseh as the next beneficiaries of the Abrahamic covenant. Jacob's name and the promises and blessings wrapped in that name would live on through them. He prophesied that they would grow into a multitude of nations, and they did! They grew to be the two most populous tribes in Israel. And Ephraim became the leading tribe in the Northern Kingdom.

Jacob's blessing gives us a glimpse into God's heart. He chose Joseph's younger son to receive the greater blessing. God often chooses the weak, the least and the smallest to do His greatest work. God typically does not elevate and esteem those the world does. He sees beyond what our eyes can see and looks into the heart. This encourages me. I don't have to be the strongest, wisest or best for God to use me. I simply need to have a heart sold out to Him, willing to be used by Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that You see me not as the world sees me. You see me as You created me, in Your image, with great value and purpose. Help me to walk in the truth of who I am in You. Even though I might not be the smartest or most gifted, choose me to do great things through You and for You. I am willing. In Jesus' name, amen. 

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