My Shepherd God
Heavenly Father, I marvel at Your massive love and abiding patience. I am lost in wonder, love, and praise.
Read GENESIS 48:1-22
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“God must love ordinary people; he made so many of them” (Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865). The amazing thing is that he can use all of them (us)!
Even after 17 years of privileged life under the protection of his powerful son, Jacob’s spiritual compass points him away from Egypt, back to the land of his family’s story (47:28-30). Goshen is only a staging post in his pilgrimage. God’s promise rings in his ears that the “everlasting possession” of his people is elsewhere (4). As his life comes to a close, he urges Joseph also to look beyond the present reality (21). God’s promises would be fulfilled beyond the security and comfort of his adopted country, and even more astonishingly, through an inexplicable blessing that gave precedence to Joseph’s younger son Ephraim (13,14).
One of Scripture’s consistent themes is God’s preference for working out his purposes through “unqualified” people: outsiders like Rahab and Ruth, people too young like David, Timothy and Jeremiah, too old like Sarah, Abraham’s wife, mere women like Esther and Mary the mother of Jesus, inarticulate like Moses, unreliable like Peter. Jacob refuses to change his mind, because, as Walter Bruggemann observes, this action “is not an arbitrariness to be solved like a problem. It is a reality which redefines life. … That same freedom on God’s part runs throughout this narrative. … we are faced with the hidden power of God, who reshapes history.”
We might have expected Joseph, who had himself experienced the reversals of God’s sovereign ways (45:4-8), to have been more open to his father’s choice of the younger grandson to receive the preferential blessing (17-19). As we watch and feel Joseph’s resistance (18) and his father’s assured response (19, 20), we surely witness the improvisation of the life of faith in action. Maybe we are left with a sense that Jacob, despite the failures of his complex life, is somehow more intimate with the God he knows as Shepherd and Redeemer (15,16) than his brilliant son.
What great blessing have you received from someone that inspires you to live a courageous, God-glorifying life? Be very thankful!
Shepherd God, keep me alert and receptive to Your wise and surprising ways. To You be all the glory forever!
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