Today we have come to the conclusion of our study in Genesis. From the beginning It all started with the jaw dropping act of creation and concludes with the inspirational and tear jerking reunion story of Jacob/Israel and Joseph. Throughout this book we have seen God’s sovereign hand at work through creation, humanity, the nation of Israel and the plan of redemption. We have witnessed accounts of God working through the lives ordinary individuals (Noah, Abraham, Jacob and Joseph) to accomplish the extraordinary. What I find most appealing about Genesis is seeing sinful and flawed humanity being used by the Almighty and infallible God in accomplishing his will. What is most clear is that He and his ways are perfect and His promises are true.
When we look at the whole of Genesis we can see the big picture; the care, love and passion God has for his people. Many of his attributes are displayed throughout and we are given a glimpse at how great, mighty and awesome our God truly is.
The remaining three chapters of Genesis not only bring us to the conclusion of this book of beginnings but also to the story of Jacob and Joseph. In these chapters Jacob pronounces blessing upon his sons and grandsons, give directions to where he should be buried and speaks prophecy of what is yet to come.
Jacob blesses his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh. In this emotional chapter Jacob adopts them as his own sons. A beautiful moment happens in verse 11 where Jacob says to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.” God’s grace is evident in this reunion because not only does Jacob live to see his son whom he thought dead alive but he also sees and blesses his own grandchildren.
Jacob blesses his grandsons and in the vain of what goes around comes around he blesses the younger over the older. Joseph tries to correct his father but his father continues to bless the younger. He declares that Ephraim will become a greater nation than his brother. Incidentally Ephraim does become a great tribe and they are one of the leading tribes with Joshua in bringing the people to the Promised Land.
Jacob gathers all 12 of his sons so he may speak final words to them.
He speaks blessings to 9 of his sons (Judah, Zebulon, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin). Most notable he speaks a prophecy concerning the future human king of Israel and the eternal King (Jesus the Lion of the Tribe of Judah) was given to Judah. He chastises three sons… Reuben who’s lust burned so hot that he committed the sinful act of having sex with his dad’s wife. Simeon and Levi were chastised for their violent reaction to the men of Shechem. They would still prosper but their tribes would be scattered among the other tribes.
At the conclusion of Chapter 49 Jacob dies and his sons return him to Canaan where he is buried in a cave with his wives.
When his father dies Joseph weeps and kisses him. He tells the servants to embalm his father so his body can be preserved for the long journey ahead. There is a time of great mourning for their father as the brothers return him to the land of promise.
Joseph’s brothers fear for their lives again. They fear Joseph was still harboring bitterness and revenge in his heart. Now that their dad wasn’t around Joseph could easily take his vengeance. However Joseph assures his brothers all is well and that God’s plan is perfect. At the conclusion of this chapter the death of Joseph is detailed. His body was not returned to the Promised Land until the Exodus of Moses,
Genesis is the story of beginnings. It is the story of blessings. As a whole it is ultimately the story of God. When I think about all we have learned together I ask the question, “What can we take away from the story of Genesis?” I believe there are three truths or more specifically blessings we can hold onto that interwoven throughout the Genesis account.
- We are blessed because God is faithful – Genesis is the story of God. In this story we see the many blessings God has bestowed on his people throughout history. One constant truth from beginning to end is God’s faithfulness. Never once does God go back on his Word. Never once does He fail to fulfill a promise. Certainly there were times where individuals as us for that matter grow impatient in waiting for his promises to be fulfilled (and disaster usually follows when we interfere) but God continually fulfills his promises. In Genesis we know that God is a promise maker and a promise keeper. His faithfulness displayed means that we, his children are blessed as well. Why? Because his promise of forgiveness, grace, and redemption will be fulfilled in our lives. We are truly blessed because God has given to us promises and they will be fulfilled.
- We are blessed because of Jesus – The greatest promise God made was in sending the redeemer of humanity through his Son Jesus Christ. Since the Garden God has continually promised that a Savior was coming. With the introduction of sin to the world comes the need for one to save humanity for their sins. It is through Jesus Christ we receive that forgiveness AND redemption. Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus humanity can be blessed with eternal life. We are followers of Jesus Christ; we are blessed because we have life and we have it abundantly.
- We are blessed so we should be a blessing to others – In the promise God made to Abraham was that he would be a blessing to all nations. Thus we as Christians are to be a blessing to those around us. We have the Great News of the Gospel. We have been entrusted with the message of hope, salvation and eternal life. We need to share this message. In fact we are commanded to share it in the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. We are blessed because of Jesus, so we should be a blessing to others by sharing his love, grace and life.