Thought for the Week - 21st February

Pastor Gareth Watkins
Genesis 48: 8-19

When Israel saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, “Who are these?”

“They are the sons God has given me here,” Joseph said to his father.

Then Israel said, “Bring them to me so I may bless them.”

Now Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them.

Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.”

Then Joseph removed them from Israel’s knees and bowed down with his face to the ground.  And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.

Then he blessed Joseph and said,

“May the God before whom my fathers
Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
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 the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they increase greatly
on 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 to 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 descendants will become a group of nations.”

There are people who are reading this who are parents, grandparents, one-day parents and even spiritual parents.  Every single person, according to the Word, has a fruitfulness and a consequence to their life on this earth.

Not one of us is meant to be on this earth without some sort of multiplying and fruitfulness under God.  Every single one of us walks in the blessing and the ongoing move of God.  God created human beings, who were meant to be fruitful.  God made a covenant with us, going back to Noah, saying that he would be fruitful and that would go on to his descendants; a covenant covering from the time of Noah, to the time of Christ, to the time when Christ returns!  God had in mind all the generations that came after Noah… which included me, you and all the generations that will follow us.

The verses above are about the blessings of Joseph by his father, and the blessing on these two boys, who were his grandchildren.  In those days, the right hand represented the greater blessing, compared to the one on the left.  In Joseph’s mind, when Israel (otherwise known as Jacob) blessed the boys, he had them the wrong way around… the elder should have been on the right.  But Jacob corrected Joseph and placed the blessing of his right hand on the younger boy.

We currently live in a fast food world, where things don’t matter and are disposable.  But in the things of God, things do matter.  With these two boys and who had the blessing of the right hand mattered.  One was to have the greater blessing – the one who He chose.  In the same way, God chooses us for certain roles, certain tasks and certain situations.  And He blesses us accordingly.

By praying on these two boys, Jacob was transmitting something of God.  It was an important event.  God used Jacob to transmit something of Himself onto and into these boys as a result of his prayers.  It shows the responsibility on Jacob and the importance of what this type of praying is about.  These boys would become men.  Jacob was praying wisdom, authority, blessing of God, and the Holy Spirit into their lives.  They needed to know ministry and the gifts of God.  It would have made these boys into certain people, because God’s appointment was on them… God was to fashion them in a certain way.

These blessings were there for these boys.  Jacob needed to see that these blessings were there for these boys, he had to know his responsibility before God, and then he had to get it right.  Why did he switch them around?  Because he knew that God had switched them around, and the older was to serve the younger.

The responsibility was always with Jacob for this conversation, and not with the child or grandchildren.  Joseph might have been one of the most powerful men in Egypt, but he brought his two children to his father for a blessing.  His father took spiritual control of the situation and made things different, because that was the way God meant it to be.  Jacob not only had to recognise that, but he had to go along with it.  He also had to confront his son, who thought the boys were the wrong way around.  It was the right thing to do under God.

And there enters the sovereignty of God.  There was an appointment for one son, and there was an appointment for the other son.  Jacob when he was praying over these boys would have been praying for the wisdom, the anointing, the Holy Spirit of God to come into their lives.

Do we take responsibility for our children in these ways?  Do we pray for their establishment as God’s people?  Do we pray to bless their homes and their marriages?  Or do we let things drift?

We’re in a culture that likes to dismiss responsibility.  Jacob blesses not only his own son, but Joseph’s sons, part of the future generations.  That’s what God wants – those blessings are not only for you, but also for your children in Christ.  Who are your children?  God may have given you children, but if you haven’t got natural children, surely there’ll be spiritual children.  You can pray to support other youngsters.  We’ve seen a physical change in some children being prayed for in our church.  Don’t just leave it to chance; that someone else will do it.

This covenant is to do with being fruitful and multiplying.  This is a powerful thing!  The God of heaven and earth, wanted His name upon their heads!  Yet parents these days take a lack of responsibility over certain matters… defaulting to teachers for such things as discipline and education… and spiritual matters are so much more important.

There is no middle ground in these things… this is all about our connecting with God, and seeing our responsibility for those who are spiritually involved with us, and we are responsible for.  This is a covenant and these promises are for you and for me.

In Genesis 9:9 God makes a covenant with Noah, saying: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you”.  In Genesis 9: 7 He says: “As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it”.  That is the nature of the covenant!  It starts after the flood with Noah, extends to Jacob and his sons, and further on to us today!

Jacob’s sons became the twelve tribes of Israel.  From his son Judah, all of the nations of the earth are blessed because Christ came from that lineage.  And that blessing remains with us to this very day!  If you read on in that passage, you’ll see that Jacob is so spiritually in tune that he can see the natures of each tribe – he can tell the nature of all his descendants.  He starts to describe them… this is a man who might be old and partially sighted, but isn’t spiritually blunted.

How does this apply to us today?  Ask God: “what does this mean to me in my situation?”  We are all different, but God’s Word is standard and is applicable to all of us.  It’s not meant to be ignored… don’t think it doesn’t apply to you!  When we meet God Himself, we will be judged on what we have done with our fruitfulness.  If we are not fruitful, then we aren’t following in God’s plan for us in this life.  We’re meant to be fruitful!  We’re meant to be taking our children and spiritual children’s situation seriously.

God is a God of order, fruitfulness, and blessing.  It’s structured and purposeful, and carries on in a strong and purposeful way.  Chaos brings forth the fruit of chaos.  So ask yourself, are you bringing chaos into your family through your prayer life and behaviour.  Or are you taking responsibility and bringing blessing, purpose and order to those who are around you?  Ask God whether you are being faithful to the purposes for Him in this time.

If you’re not doing these things as you should, then make a start… and bring that blessing to your house.

What about God’s appointment over you and me, and the blessing, wisdom and covering of God?  Consider yourself a part of the covenant of God… what is your action as a result of that call of God over your life?

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