48 Joseph took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. 2 When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel rallied his strength and sat up on the bed.
3 Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me 4 and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’
5 “Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. 6 Any children born to you after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers. 7 As I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).
Jacob was coming towards the end of a long life. It was one lived under the blessing of God, in response to the call of God. But it was not a trouble-free life. For example, he was not immune from the heart-searing pain of loss (7), and he had not been inoculated against illness and death (1). His life had been ‘chequered’; his walk with God had been somewhat ‘up and down’. But at the end, he was able to give testimony to his family, and speak about the goodness of God. In all things, the Lord had been working for his good.
‘Jacob recounted to Joseph the promises God had given to him at Luz (Bethel), when Jacob was fleeing from Esau (Genesis 28:13-14). These promises had only just begun to be fulfilled: Jacob’s numbers had increased to seventy; and he owned two tiny parts of the “promised land”: the burial plot near Mamre and a ridge of land taken from the Amorites (verse 22).
Jacob spoke of the gift of the land as being an everlasting possession (verse 4); once before, God had spoken of the land this way (Genesis 17:8).’ ‘Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.198.
May those of us blessed with children so live that we leave them a rich spiritual legacy.
“Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power.” Psalm 145:4.
‘Surrounded by so great
A cloud of witnesses,
Let us run the race
Not only for the prize,
But as those who’ve gone before us.
Let us leave to those behind us,
The heritage of faithfulness
Passed on thru godly lives.
After all our hopes and dreams
Have come and gone,
And our children sift thru all
We’ve left behind,
May the clues that they discover,
And the mem’ries they uncover,
Become the light that leads them,
To the road we each must find.’ (From ‘Find us faithful’ by John Mohr).