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29. Family Blessings

June 25, 2009

Text:   Genesis 48:1-49:28

Key Verses:   Gen 48:15-16

Outline:                  I. Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Two Sons      Gen. 48:1-22

                                  II. Jacob Blesses All His Sons      Gen. 49:1-28

Context/Discussion/Comments:

     Joseph learns his father, Jacob, is ill and goes to visit him with his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. Upon arriving, Jacob tells of his experience at Bethel where God confirmed His blessing on Jacob by relaying the Promise He had given to Abraham and Isaac. Jacob then claims Joseph’s two sons as his own so that Joseph will inherit a double portion instead of Reuben. He also gives them information regarding Joseph’s mother’s death and burial. Jacob calls for Joseph’s two sons to come near. Joseph arranges them to receive Jacob’s blessing so that Jacob’s right hand is on the oldest, Manasseh. But Jacob crosses his hands, placing his right hand on Ephraim. Jacob proceeds to bless Joseph’s boys, praising God for being his shepherd and for protecting him, and asking that they be a part of God’s Promise to Israel, multiplying greatly. Jacob continues by placing his right hand on Ephraim. Joseph corrects his father but Jacob says he has it right. Once again the older will serve the younger. These two boys are to be a blessing to others and Jacob proceeds to grant Joseph [Ephraim and Manasseh] the land of the Amorites in Canaan.

     Jacob gathers all his sons together and proceeds to bless them.

Rueben: He loses his birthright because he defiled Jacob’s bed.

Simeon and Levi: They will be scattered in the Promised land because of their violence against Shechem.

Judah: He is the appointed leader to which his brothers will eventually bow until the Messiah comes.

Zebulum: He will live near the sea and to the north.

Issachar: He will work the land in forced labor.

Dan: He will be just to his own but engage in treachery toward others.

Gad: He will engage in warfare.

Asher: He will grow the finest of foods.

Naphtali: He is free spirited.

Joseph: He is the steady and stable one of the brothers. God is with him and he is to be their prince [4th Patriarch].

Benjamin: He has a conquering spirit.

     Blessing one’s children doesn’t seem to be the norm in today’s culture. Perhaps it is practiced in some circles but it isn’t popular in western culture that I know of. I’m wondering if we shouldn’t revive such a practice. But wisdom is needed. It could prevent some problems and it could create others. We tend to use Wills to handle everything but how best can we encourage our offspring to carry on our own heritage and our Godly heritage? Consider what is best in your situation and do it.

Lessons/Applications:

     1. God’s blessing can only be given by a Godly person to a Godly person. It is best done before death or when it is time to pass the baton for leadership to the next generation.

     2. God’s promises extend from generation to generation through family heritage. But this heritage is of God and by God, not man. It is God’s to give.

     3. When blessing others, remember to praise God for the blessings you have received. It adds credibility to the blessing from God that you are passing on.

     4. When blessing your children, consider their personality, capability, and gifts. Tailor your blessings according to His Holy Spirit living within you. Those born first are not necessarily born leaders. Bless with wisdom, God’s wisdom.

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