Our church family is reading through the first five books of the Bible together in ninety days. We invite you to join us as we believe this will be a time that will change our lives.
While the story of Jacob blessing his sons (Genesis 48) receives little attention from most of us today, we should pause to consider that it catches the attention of the New Testament believers. Of all the items to place in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11, we read this: “By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff” (Hebrews 11:21). What is so significant of a father blessing his boys?
Jacob is old, near death, and ill. He sits up in bed to meet his son, Joseph and his two half-Egyptian sons. We must remember more is happening here than meets the eye. For this is the family of God’s promise, the one family from all the families on the earth from whom the Messiah will eventually emerge. At this critical moment near the end of his life, Jacob remembers God’s promise to him (Genesis 48:3-4). Hebrews 11:21 says that by simply remembering this promise, Jacob worshipped. The promise given to Jacob recalls the promise originally given to Abraham, the father of the faithful.
At this moment, Jacob does something unusual – he claims the boys as his own (Genesis 48:5). They will no longer be his grandsons, but his sons. In place of Reuben and Simeon, who had discredited themselves (Genesis 49:7), Joseph’s boys, Ephraim and Manasseh, will now be Jacob’s sons. More importantly, these two boys will serve as two of the twelve tribes of Israel for generations to come.
While the Messiah and the kings of Israel will come from Judah’s line, Joseph’s blessing is to have two of his sons included. Joseph had continually believed God was building a great people even when the future looked bleak (Hebrews 11:22). Joseph, like Abraham before him, built his life on faith in God.