Genesis 50 is the conclusion to chapters 47-49. It’s a chapter of two funerals for two men of faith. A life lived with simple integrity most influences the lives of those who follow. Jacob and Joseph left a legacy of faith for their family in three simple ways:
The book of Genesis begins and ends with family. The failure of the first family, Adam and Eve, brought sin into the world. But God’s grace can reverse the effects of sin in the family.
In Genesis 48, Jacob legally adopted Joseph’s sons and gave them a blessing. In this chapter, he tells his sons what will happen in their futures. His words do come true. Some of Jacob’s sons’ families were permanently troubled or blessed; some were temporarily, individually troubled but later restored. All had the opportunity to respond to the grace of God.
This passage shows the spiritual change of three individuals – Jacob, Judah, and Joseph. Two of them had made significant mistakes in their younger years, yet God showed patience with them. By His grace, they progressed in their maturity and now show virtues of obedience. This can encourage us not to measure spiritual growth by hours, a day, or even a month of a person’s life. Instead, look at big-picture growth. Do you know God more than you did a year ago? Are you more Christ-like?
Psalm 63 describes a saint who needs refreshment. Jacob receives spiritual refreshment from the Lord in Genesis 35 as he gets right with God and continues to make progress.
Genesis 33 ended with Jacob’s family worshipping together. They were in God’s will living at Shechem on their way to Bethel where God had called them. The next chapter shows how quickly things can change. Jacob’s family got comfortable and settled down in the culture around them. Their hearts were no longer inclined toward Bethel. They became under-whelmed with God’s will, and the results were tragic.
Along the path of Christian growth, sometimes we can feel like we’re stuck in a traffic jam on a one-lane highway. The pace slows sometimes with trials and afflictions, and other times it speeds up. The Lord determines the pace.
As Genesis 32 begins, Jacob’s pace is picking up. He’s reminded that divine help always goes with him along the way. Likewise, Christians have angelic forces that minister to us, always working to help us be more like Christ.
All Scripture is God’s Word, and is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). It’s our natural tendency to apply principles that we know from the New Testament to Old Testament stories. But remember, a text taken out of context leaves just a con. So don’t judge Jacob too harshly. His family did not have the written Bible, but they did have the oral Word of God which they were responsible for.
You’ve probably of someone “cramming 4 years of college into 10.” In Genesis 29, Jacob spends 20 years in the school of spiritual hard knocks. The first events are glorious, but they are soon followed by tragedy and consequences.
God can still use saints that have failed and help them make right choices again, even in their last years. Isaac and Rebekah are an example that it’s never too late to do right. True saints experience guilt and conviction that leads to repentance, forsaking sin, and prospering again. Now governed by the Spirit, Isaac comes to his senses and sends Jacob on a journey to continue in God’s will.
Our study of the Regeneration section of Genesis continues with the second and third of the patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob. Isaac demonstrated his faith throughout his life by being a submissive perpetuator of the faith. He made mistakes, but he won more spiritual battles than he lost. Lest we read this account from the end of his life and assume he was a failure, remember that Isaac is included in the Great Hall of Faith (see Hebrews 11:20).
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