Posted By Nan

Genesis 25-50

Jacob (Israel) and Joseph

If you have time, it would be great to read these chapters of Genesis. There is much to read in the story of Jacob and his sons. These sons were to become the 12 tribes of Israel. Although Levi was not included in the 12, as his line were the priests, and Joseph was represented by two tribes, his sons Ephraim and Manasseh. 

Jacob was the son of Isaac, who was chosen by God to be the one through whom Abraham’s blessing would pass down. 

In Biblical times, the first son was the one who inherited the family lineage. If the father was a hereditary leader, it would be the first born son who became leader in his stead. Vestiges of that tradition still remain today.

Man may have his traditions, but God’s rules override them. God chose the younger son, Jacob, as the one who would be the heir of God’s promise to Abraham. 

And God chose Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, to be the one whose line Jesus would be born into. 

Years ago, when I was studying the first of the Old Testaments units I studied, we look at the story of Jacob. My tutor described Jacob and the 70 members of his family going to Egypt as part of God’s plan to turn Jacob into a nation.

This promise was made to Jacob in Genesis 28. Whereas Esau displeased his parents by marrying a Canaanite woman, Jacob returned to the land of his mother’s family, as instructed to by his father Isaac.

As Jacob headed to the land of his mother’s people, He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth and the angels ascending and descending on it. Then he saw God who identified himself as the God of his father Abraham and the God of Isaac. He promised Jacob the land on which he was lying and also that his descendants would be like the dust of the earth and all the people of earth would be blessed by Jacob and his offspring.

So Abraham’s blessing was passed down through Isaac to Jacob. 

Many years later, when Jacob returned to Canaan with his wives and sons he had another heavenly encounter. The next day he was to meet his brother Esau and was nervous about the reception he would receive. During the night he wrestled with a man. In the morning the man told Jacob his name would be Israel because he had struggled with God and with humans and had overcome. (Chapter 32)

Jacob had the name Israel for the mighty nation. He had the wives his parents wanted him to marry. He had the blessing from his father. He had been given the promise of Abraham to inherit. Now he needed to become a mighty nation.

When Jacob went to Egypt he was 70 in his family. When his descendants returned 430 years later there were around 600,000 men. This is not counting women and children. Jacob had indeed become a mighty nation.

God’s plan was a long one. The number of years from the Garden of Eden to the people of Israel returning to Canaan was an incredibly long time. The time from the infant nation to the birth of Jesus was an incredibly long time. It has been two thousand years since Jesus was on this earth. How much longer will it be before the end of God’s plan? 

Just as with everything else in our lives, we need to stop imposing human time limits on events and resolutions to our problems. God’s plans are long and slow and perfectly timed.

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