“Then he blessed Joseph and said, ‘May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, 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 he names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly upon the earth.’ When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand o move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. Joseph said to him, ‘No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.’ But his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendant will become a group of nations. He blessed them that day and said, ‘In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’ So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.” (Genesis 48:15-20)
The patriarchal blessing was the family’s way of transmitting religious tradition to a new generation (verses 2-4). Foreign birth did not rob Joseph’s sons of family blessings. They, too, could become heirs of God’s original blessing to Abraham (12:1-7). Control of the blessing did not rest with Joseph or Jacob. Mysteriously, God led to the proper blessings for each son. The blessing tied the new generation to the Promised Land, not to Egypt, and to Yahweh. God of Israel, for fertility, not to Baal. It promised deliverance in the future parallel to deliverance received by Jacob. The prayer of blessing was thus instruction, commitment, confession of faith, and petition.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, today we recognize the gift of patriarchal blessing. This is not giving one family over another a special blessing; rather, it is giving each family the blessing of the patriarch of the next generation, a blessing to carry forward the family religious training and education for the next generation. It is blessing the patriarch of the next generation, to be committed to take on responsibility for religious training within the family. Today we continue to pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know, especially the people in Ukraine, as they are fighting for their very lives and way of life. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“At he heart of sin is the letter ‘I’.”
“Also the royal officials have come to congratulate our Lord King David, saying, ‘May your God make Solomon’s name more famous that yours and his throne greater than yours!’ And the king bowed in worship on his bed and said, ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has allowed my eyes to see a successor on my throne today.’” (1st Kings 1:47-48)
The royal servants congratulated (Hebrew – barak, “bless”) King David by wishing God’s direction on Solomon. Such a blessing recognized David as the earthly source of the happy events and expressed appreciation to him as well as desire for God’s blessing on Solomon.
“John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—-to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 1:4-6)
God loves His people, those who have made the decision to follow Him forever. He has freed us from sin and forgiven us so we will fulfill His purposes of serving as a kingdom of servants and priests. Christian letters normally include an opening blessing and a closing doxology, but then this letter has a difference to is. Jesus the resurrected One rules all earthly rulers. He loves us, has redeemed us by His blood, and formed us to be what God has always intended His people to be—-a kingdom of priests representing God the the nations. From the very outset, God intended to make for Himself a people. In Christ, God has made for Himself a people who serve Him and obey His will. This obedient people is the believing church, God’s kingdom on earth waiting for the day of fulfillment. Every single person has made a decision on their own, to follow and be obedient to God’s will, no matter what.
2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“People were bring little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not received he kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16)
One of my favorite pictures of Jesus was Him sitting on a rock and several children holding hands and were running in a circle around Him. What I loved the most, was that He had a great big smile on His face and they played “ring around the Rosie” It represented the “child like” qualities that Jesus told His disciples was necessary to enter the kingdom of God. Remember the encounter at night with Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin or learned priests of the Jews? He asked Jesus, “Am I to reenter my mother’s womb to be born again?” Jesus’s response was, “You are a teacher of the Word and do not understand?” Of course not, but you must have childlike trust and acceptance for the minimal requirements for membership in Christ’s kingdom!
Do you have this childlike belief? You are not being interviewed about joining a country club, you are being asked if you believe in God as the Creator of the universe and His Son, our Lord and Savior who was without sins, yet was crucified on the cross our the sins of the world; past, present, and even future? Beloved, God loves you more that you can even fathom, and He celebrates the day you were born into this world, but no where as much as He will celebrate your making the decision to believe in Him and will be joining Him in the kingdom of heaven. It is not too late, to make your decision and I’m praying I will see you all in the kingdom, may we will even play “ring around the Rosie” with Jesus!