Friday, November 18, 2016
TheLifeOfJoseph : Genesis 48
As said in my last entry, this stage of Joseph's journey is very close to my own. My Dad died January 26, 2013, yet the release of my Pop (Pop was my nickname for my Dad) into the everlasting kingdom is still very fresh in my mind. As many have told me, it will be like this for quite some time, as will the grief.* So reading this passage and seeing the affection that Joseph had for his father as well as how his father had blessed not only him but the generations that came after him, it truly is comforting and difficult to read all at the same time.
I remember sitting at my Pop's bedside, just shortly after he was told that he had terminal brain cancer. As far back as I can remember, my Pop lived a legacy of worship - constantly choosing to trust his Saviour, even when he didn't understand. But to see this beloved father of mine literally crumble in front of me was horrible. And yet, I can still smile. I smile because it was only for a time. My Pop's suffering only lasted a very short time and then he was welcomed into his Saviour's arms for all eternity. And then his legacy of worship began anew - the only difference is that now when he sings and lifts his hands in worship, his eyes behold the One in whom he is worshiping.
Similar to the worship-experience my Pop and I share, we have here in this text Jacob commissioning his son Joseph and blessing Joseph's sons. However, as Wiersbe explains, 'For the fifth time in the book of Genesis, we meet a reversal of the birth order. God had chosen Abel, not Cain; Isaac, not Ishmael; Jacob, not Esau; and Joseph, not Reuben; and now He would choose Ephraim over Manasseh. Joseph was upset with what his father did and tried to change his hands, but Jacob was guided by God and knew what he was doing'. (Wiersbe OT Commentary)
Commissioning is a powerful thing. We see it acted out many, many times in Scripture and I believe, this act should be done far more than what we commonly do it today in our churches. Commissioning services for people moving overseas, commissioning of children, etc. all should be done in the presence of believers but why wait until someone is on their death-bed to say words of commissioning? In a very real way, my Pop was commissioning me through his whole life. By his life and worship-legacy, he has commissioned me out to seek those the LORD would have me speak to about the saving knowledge of Jesus. Yes, it has been difficult, and there are many, many roads still to till, but I tarry on because the LORD does. There certainly have been and will be things I cannot explain, but I know all too well that the LORD is teaching me more about the depth, height and width of His Sovereignty; I truly have not even begun to experience His Sovereignty to its fullest.
Similar to this battle of trying to wrap my arms around God's Sovereignty, Joseph disapproves of his father's choosing and tells his father so. But even in his weakened state, we hear Jacob say these words: I know, my son, I know (vs. 19) as if to give Joseph a very real sense of the LORD's choosing that is often not what we would choose. Jacob knew exactly what he was doing. Wiersbe writes, 'While we have no biblical grounds for doing it, one is tempted to see the cross pictured in the crossing of Jacob’s hands. The sinner’s birth order is reversed when he or she trusts Jesus Christ, for it’s the second born whom God receives, not the firstborn. All of this is made possible because of our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross'. The Sovereignty of the LORD has Jesus written all over it!
This is a power image of what it means to trust the LORD. Yet, just like Joseph, we may not understand, but just like Jacob, we should freely give out blessings. But both characters teach us a very real lesson - Trust in the LORD. Don't lean on our own understanding. (see Proverbs 3:5, 6).
*I have written a booklet on grief that I have found very helpful in my seeking how to honour the LORD in grief. Please go to this website to download for free: