To: 9 readers
From: Su Min (Lim Su Min)
Subject: Gen 48
Grace (God's favour) and peace which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts, be multiplied to you in the full personal, precise and correct knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2 AMP).
Today we look at Genesis 48 and see how Jacob begins to wind up his affairs, rallying his strength to sit up in bed (Gen 48:2) to greet his son Joseph and his two grand sons Manasseh and Ephraim.
Jacob relates how God had appeared to him at Luz to bless him, and promise him a great nation and a great land (Gen 48:3-4, Gen 28:19)
Jacob declares his intent to elevate the status his two grandsons as his own sons (Gen 48:5). Grandpa Jacob is getting on in years and can barely see. He embraces his two grandsons, and thanks God for the occasion (Gen 48:10-11).
Joseph respectfully bows to his father, (Gen 48:12) and Jacob proceeds to bless his son and his grandsons.
Jacob crosses his arms as he reaches out to bless his grandsons, in the process of doing so, gives Ephraim, the younger, greater prominence over Manasseh the firstborn son of Joseph (Gen 48:14)
In calling upon the Lord God Almighty to bless the boys, Jacob uses a threefold address (Gen 48:15-16)
- The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked
- The God who has been my Shepherd
- The Angel who has delivered me from harm
I can see within Jacob's three-fold address an outline of Triune God,The biblical basis for belief in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit the three in one is difficult to delineate. This triplicate addressing by Jacob is a good glimpse, I believe, of our Triune God.
the Eternal God, God of his fathers Abraham and Isaac,
the Shepherd and Saviour God, surely God the Son,
the Angelic God, delivering, protecting from harm wherever Jacob has gone, much as I perceive, like God the holy spirit, the counsellor, the paraclete...
Joseph was displeased to see Ephraim being elevated above his first son Manasseh, perhaps thinking that blind Jacob can not see properly, and tries to make correction (Gen 48:17-18).
But Jacob knows what he is doing, and reiterates that the younger will be the greater (Gen 48:19).
Jacob continues by blessing Joseph, declaring that God will be with Joseph and God will bring Joseph back to Canaan (Gen 48:21).
The younger will be the greater. The first will be the last. Who ever exalts himself will be humbles. The Bible is full of these paradoxes that are seemingly self contradictory: I like collecting them: here are some of my favourites:
The first and the lastWhy all the interest in paradoxes?
The alpha and the omega
The beginning and the end Rev 22:12
- The Lion who was a Lamb - Rev 5:6
- The Lamb who will be the Shepherd - Rev 7:12
- Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven Matt 5:3
- Blessed are those that mourn for they will be comforted Matt 5:4
- Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth Matt 5:5
- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled Matt 5:6
- Blessed are those who are persecuted because of their righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven Matt 5:10
- Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matt 5:11-12
- Do not think I have come to abolish the law of the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them Matt 5:18
- For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven Matt 5:20
- Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you Matt 5:44
- Follow me and let the dead bury their own dead. Matt 8:22
- Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. Matt 10:34
- Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matt 10:39
- My yoke is easy and my burden light. Matt 11:30
- Though seeing they do not see, though hearing they do not hear or understand Matt 13:13
- What goes into a man's mouth does not make him unclean but what comes out of his mouth that is what makes him unclean Matt 15:11
- Whoever wants to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for me will find it. Matt 16:25
- Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matt 18:4
- Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first Matt 19:30
- So the last will be first and the first will be last. Matt 20:16
- Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, whoever wants to be first must be your slave Matt 20:26-27 .
- Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, whoever wants to be first must be slave to all Mk 10:43-44.
- The greatest among you will be your servant. Matt 23:11
- Whosoever exalts himself will be humbled and whosoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matt 23:12
- For everyone who has will be given more and he will have an abundance.
- Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him Matt 25:29
- But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Mk 10:31
- I come to bring fire on earth. Do you think I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. Luke 12:51
- He who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 14:11
- For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 18:14
- For judgement I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind. John 9:39
- The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:25
- The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation Isaiah 60:22
Jesus says "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt 11:29)"
- I believe God is saying something important to us.
- Amongst other things, God turns our earthly values upside down.
- Amongst other things, God is saying to us "Learn to be less self centred"
Let us close in prayer.
Father, thank you for your lesson today.Love Dad
Thank you for teaching us, within the way that Jacob addressed you, something about your Triune nature.
Thank you for showing us that Man's ways are not Your ways.
Thank you for showing us through various paradoxes what you value, how you would want us to live.
In Jesus name: Amen.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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