Verse for Today: Sunday, August 04, 2013
Genesis 48:14 – 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 first born.
Patriarchal blessings starting with Abraham had great spiritual significance. Among other things, these blessings signify God’s emphasis on the second birth. Jesus explained this truth as He spoke to Nicodemus and underscored the need for a person to have second birth. From the beginning, God showed clearly the hopelessness of the first birth without a second birth. He chose the second person in the families of Adam (choosing Abel’s worship), Abraham (choosing Isaac instead of Ishmael), Isaac (Jacob instead of Esau), Jacob (rejecting Reuben and his two brothers and choosing Judah) and Joseph (Ephraim instead of Manasseh). Jacob knew the spiritual significance of the order of birth as he was a recipient of such a blessing from God. Even when Jacob had very poor natural vision, he had not lost his spiritual vision to give the higher order Patriarchal blessing to Ephraim, the second son of Joseph. He crossed his arms to make sure that God’s perfect will regarding blessings will go in the divine order. Today God’s spiritual blessings go only to those who are born again. Jacob demonstrated great spiritual insight and spoke to each of his sons about God’s plan for their lives. Jacob rose to such spiritual heights at Peniel where he became a new person through spiritual brokenness. His old inclinations were broken by the hand of God. His old name signifying success through human tactics was replaced with a life reigned by faith. So his heart became a stream of spiritual insights and revelations. Jacob started his life in conflicts, alienation, rejection and frustrations, but he ended his life well in faith. His life challenges us to live by faith and become fountains of the richness of God’s grace.
Dear reader, are you tossed around with changes, ups and downs, long waiting and the accompanying uncertainties? But as long as you tread with the Lord on His pathways, these uncertainties do not matter at all. What is important is to keep dwelling with the Lord in His sanctuary imbibing in His worship and doing His will. The people around will probably find you an unsettled person in life, but they do not realize that you are on the move with your Lord. We do not have a resting place here on earth, and we are only passersby. Our duty is to dwell and walk with the Lord and do His perfect will. We are instruments in His hands to touch the lives of people around for His sake. With all the sufferings that Jacob endured, he was instrumental in carrying his faith in God to a heathen country so that the people of that country could taste godliness. But sadly they rejected Jacob’s God, but it was in Jacob’s credit that he was able to extend God’s blessings to the people and the rulers of Egypt. Jacob had the tenacity to bless Pharaoh in the name of his Lord and to keep his faith till his last breath. His burial was also a testimony of the living faith he had in God. Jacob was materially poor, but he was spiritually rich and he passed his spiritual wealth and faith to his children. Jacob lived to enjoy the spiritual blessings till the end and passed it on to posterity. The life of Jacob today challenges us to hold on to the Lord throughout our sojourn and exercise our ardent faith in all circumstances. Our Lord will surely hold our hands each day as we touch the lives of people by faith.
Hebrews 11:21 – By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshipped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
Thought for Today
God desires that we begin and end our lives by faith and become a blessing in other lives.
Prayer for Today
Lord: Help me to trust You each day to live by faith and keep touching the lives of others around me. Amen!