The Virtues and Value of Spiritual Legacy.


After we breathe our last, we will all leave a legacy. It’s said that every person will deeply influence 10 other people in their lifetime. What would those people say about your legacy if you passed today?

Jacob made some mistakes, but he lived most of his life faithfully, and that is his spiritual legacy. The Church is the family of God in the New Testament, and we should desire a spiritual legacy just as the Israelites did. We have no legacy unless we have a legacy first in our homes. Jacob especially influenced Joseph and Ephraim in this chapter. Each had times of struggle but showed spiritual virtues we can learn from.

Jacob – Committed Experience

Jacob waited a long time for his sons to show the blessed change that God works in a redeemed person. His last years left him weak and blind, but resolved to do the right things. His words to Joseph and Ephraim started with God. The name El Shaddai means “provider and protector.” the Lord provides every bit of provision so we can pursue eternal purposes. This was Jacob’s testimony to his heirs.

Jacob shared God’s promises, his spiritual experience, and spiritual blessings with his sons. He summarized his relationship with God in these three phrases:

  • “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked” showed God’s grace and the holy privilege and purpose of being one of His people.
  • “The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day” reminded them of how God had fed and provided for Israel’s family.
  • “The angel who has redeemed me from all evil” refers to the Angel of the Lord, our Savior Jesus.
Joseph – Balanced Progress

Joseph had a lot of pressure on him as the second most powerful leader in the world and a leader in his family who would become a nation of their own. He had to balance caring for a dying father with Jacob’s apparent contradictions, and seeing one son specially blessed above another while maintaining a submissive heart. Jacob reminded Joseph to trust God’s sovereignty.

Everyone carries their own load of varying degree. How do we cope with the weight? Joseph ran to the aged maturity of his father for advice – a challenge to younger saints today. This attitude will definitely stand out in our culture. He learned from his dad’s experience never to let the pressures of life continually distract him from serving God’s purposes.

Ephraim – Informed Potential

Ephraim learned of God from his elders just like Timothy in the New Testament (2 Timothy 3:15). At a young age, he heard his grandfather’s testimony and learned of God’s faithfulness. He saw his father’s example of balanced priorities. How could he avoid the emotional mistakes of youthful enthusiasm? By keeping his eyes on his spiritual ancestors. The older saints, in turn, needed to continue to be examples of spiritual sanity.

Application Points

  • Like Jacob, are you a conduit of blessing to your biological family? How about your spiritual family? Prayerfully consider how you can plan to be a blessing to one saint a week this year.
  • What pressures are you under currently? Are you letting them distract you from serving God’s purposes in the local church? Learn from the example of older saints how to balance life’s demands.
  • Consider who is coming behind you in the next generation. What will you leave them? What will be your legacy in your family, and what will be your legacy as a member of the local church?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • Psalm 23, 1 Peter 5:1-4 – Pastors are called to shepherd the flock in imitation of God’s care for us.
  • Hebrews 10:24-25 – The necessity of blessing other believers.
  • 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 – Ephraim became a leader among the tribes of Israel.
A Hymn to Encourage: “Higher Ground”

I'm pressing on the upward way,
New heights I'm gaining every day;
Still praying as I'm onward bound,
"Lord, plant my feet on higher ground."

Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith on heaven's table-land,
A higher plane than I have found:
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim is higher ground.

I want to live above the world,
Though Satan's darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I'll pray, 'til heaven I've found
"Lord, lead me on to higher ground."