Last week, in our look at the life of Jacob (through the book "Escaping with Jacob" by David Ramos), Jacob found himself in Egypt meeting the Pharaoh. Can you imagine? Here is this father of a large, but poor, sheep-herding family from nowhere who, through his son Joseph, is introduced to one of the most powerful men in the world at that time. Jacob's days on earth are about to end, but God is still guiding and protecting Jacob and his family.
Week 27: Read Genesis 48:1-22 (Love and Understanding)
"After 17 more years of life in the land of Egypt, Jacob is coming to his last days. Before he passes on, he proceeds to give a number of blessings to his descendants. This chapter records the blessing of Joseph's two sons: Ephraim and Manasseh.
Joseph brings his sons before his father and arranges them according to their age: the oldest, Manasseh, before Jacob's right hand and his younger brother Ephraim at Jacob's left. Part of the reason Joseph does this is to help his father since his eyesight has greatly diminished (this might remind you of Jacob's father Isaac). In an odd turn of events, Jacob crosses his arms, placing his right hand upon the younger and his left upon the older. He pronounces a great blessing, incorporating the promises God gave to Abraham and has passed down through the generations.
Joseph sees what is happening and tries to interfere by uncrossing his father's arms, but Jacob stops him. He replies, "I know ... the younger brother will be greater." And, so, Joseph submits and the strange pattern of the younger child being blessed carries on.
There are so many parallels to the beginning of Jacob's story in this scene: a blind father, opportunity for blessing, two brothers, and the younger coming out ahead. Yet the differences are clear as well: no deception, fear, or fleeing.
From one end of Jacob's life to the other, God has acted against common sense. He prompted Jacob to bless his grandchildren this way, for God's own purposes and possibly to demonstrate to Joseph that for all he knows of God there is still so much that he will never understand. God has a habit of doing things contrary to the way we think they should be done. He answers our prayers in elaborate ways, acting along his own timeline, and remaining silent when we need to hear from him the most.
Jacob spent his whole life getting to know the God he could never understand. As incredibly frustrating as that may sound, it's also such a beautiful gift. We serve a God who deeply wants to be close to us and is willing to reveal himself to those who seek after him. It is those who seek the hardest who will discover how infinite their Savior truly is."
We can know people around us for years, even a spouse or a child, and still they have the ability to surprise us. God reveals himself to us in many ways and wants us to learn all we can, but I suspect that even with a lifetime of learning and listening we barely scratch the surface. God is so much more, so much greater, than we have the capability to imagine. We just get glimpses. But I find, the more I study and pray and look around me, that the glimpses I get of an infinitely greater God make God's love for me more real. What do you think?
Takeaway from today's lesson: We can still know and love a God we do not understand.
Prayer: God, your ways are not my ways, and your thoughts are not my thoughts. Even so, give me peace and confidence to trust you even when I don't understand what you are doing. Amen.