Sermon and Bible Study Database
Author: Kent Berghuis
"Faith That Has Learned the Ways of God" (Genesis 47:28-48:22) Hebrews 11:21: "By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff." Many things in Scripture teach us how to live well; but Jacob teaches us we can die well. --Jacob's death has been anticipated throughout the story (37:35; 42:38; 43:27-28; 44:22, 29-31; 45:9, 13, 28; 46:30); this makes us wonder, "How will he die?" Mature faith knows how God will act because it has experienced God in action. I. Mature faith does not lose sight of the promise (47:28-31) --Jacob knows that Canaan, not Egypt, is the land promised to his people. --The oath shows the solemn nature of the event. --Jacob worships God (31), even though he himself would not see the fulfillment of the promise Application: We can believe God is at work even when we don't see it. II. Mature faith gains confidence for the future from seeing God in the past (48:1-7) A. Confidence is gained by rehearsing the promises of God (1-4) --Jacob recalls that God appeared to him --Jacob recalls the blessing of God --Jacob knows this is the promise passed from Abraham and Isaac to him B. Confidence in God's ways lets you participate personally in His plan (5-7) --Jacob adopts Joseph's sons as tribal leaders --This requires faith that there will be a tribal inheritance --This reverts back to Jacob's original choice of Joseph as heir --Jacob recalls Rachel's death --Her special relationship to Jacob would be rewarded --Her small number of sons (2) would be increased --Joseph would be reminded of his special status in the family Applications: 1. When facing the future, remember how God has blessed you in the past. 2. If you are walking with God, bless those you feel compelled to bless. III. Mature faith recognizes that God's ways are not man's ways (48:8-22) A. God can surprise us with his blessings (8-11) --Jacob's eyes were failing, and he could hardly see at this time of blessing. This recalls his father Isaac, who blessed Jacob when he was blind, but Jacob had tricked him into blessing the younger instead of the older. Now, though Jacob's eyes barely see, his heart has learned what God wants to do, and there is no deception. --Jacob did not expect to ever see Joseph again, but he saw his children, too B. God may want to work outside of our human conventions (12-20) --Jacob knowingly blessed the younger Ephraim with his right hand, implying his priority --History proved the blessing true; Ephraim became the most powerful tribe next to Judah C. God can restore what seemed lost (21-22) --Joseph once again was made leader of the clan Conclusion: Are you willing to accept the crossed hands of God's blessing?