A few things Learned through study, lecture and discussion during the study of the last several chapters of Genesis:
A couple of things I learned from Jacob:
1. Even if your past includes deception, lies, and running… if you belong to God you will come to the end of yourself and you will end your days leaning on a staff and worshipping. God’s sovereign will is inescapable.
2. You may wrestle with God concerning His will, but He will always win. Even if He touches your hip and causes a limp, it’s the faithful wound of a friend and it will be used for your good and for His glory. Remember that God disciplines His children… it’s one of the ways we know we are His.
3. Even if your whole family is at times scattered and you are in a season of upheaval, factions, and estrangements, God can and will, in His time and in His way, bring you back together for His glory!
4. You should do for your kids what you wish had been done for you. I love how Jacob’s blessing of younger over the older of Joseph’s sons was deliberate because he understood the will of God. He did not show favoritism and cause anyone to stumble.
5. Young Jacob is an easy man for us to judge. Sometimes you want to do a face-palm as you wonder if he is ever going to get it when he’s younger. He does get it though. When you look at Jacob’s life at the end you forget who he was and you love him for all that God made him into. I loved the end to his life too… doing the work of God until the second he breathed his last breath.
A couple of thoughts on Joseph:
After Jacob’s death, Joseph’s brothers begin to fret that maybe Joseph had not really forgiven them, and he would now perhaps repay their evil since there father was no longer among them. When messengers bring this message to Joseph, he responds by weeping. This past Sunday’s sermon made mention of Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus. It was pointed out that the weeping had to do with the unbelief of those surrounding the Lord. This begged me to ask myself “How does my unbelief grieve the Lord? How does it grieve those around me?”
It really was not what I was expecting to pick up on for this lesson, but it stuck. I have always seen any struggle with unbelief as an inward and personal struggle… not an outward struggle that causes others to weep. I don’t mean unbelief as in not believing in Jesus as my personal Savior, but I mean unbelief in not truly and consistently trusting God in ALL matters, trusting in His promises, and resting in ALL of His providence (the providence that is good and easy, and the providence that is sometimes very hard).
Joseph did trust God and all of His providence. He knew beyond any doubt that God had taken the evil meant toward him and used it to save many. Bitterness, anger, resentment, entitlement, and fear — the fear like Joseph’s brothers had — are all rooted in unbelief. Makes my daily cry of “Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief!” more concrete and more urgent.