Genesis 48:1-7 The future of any nation hinges on the rectitude and vision of its sons
Now it came about after these things that Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is sick.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him. 2 When it was told to Jacob, “Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel collected his strength and sat up in the bed. 3 Then Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, 4 and He said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your descendants after you for an everlasting possession.’ 5 Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. 6 But your offspring that have been born after them shall be yours; they shall be called by the names of their brothers in their inheritance. 7 Now as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, in the land of Canaan on the journey, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”
As Jacob’s death nears, Joseph is summoned to his death-bed with his two sons. Jacob adopts Joseph’s sons as his own making them founders of the tribes of Israel. Joseph has since trained up his sons with rectitude and vision to help Israel face an uncertain future. And God, by His sovereign hand raised up the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh to help the other tribes conquer the land of Canaan. Today’s devotion teaches us that the future of any nation hinges on the rectitude and vision of its sons.
Now it came about after these things that Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is sick.”
When Joseph was told of his father’s imminent passing (your father is sick) he did what was of paramount importance to Israel; he brought his sons to Jacob for the patriarchal blessing. It is not clear if Jacob expected the presence of Joseph’s two sons. As it appeared, that was no ordinary meeting as Jacob set the stage for the adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh.
Jacob first establishes his patriarchal authority by recounting God’s bestowment upon him the Abrahamic blessing at Luz. As possessor of the covenant, he becomes the conduit through which the Abrahamic blessing flow.
Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine.
Having validated his patriarchal authority, Jacob proceeded to adopt Joseph’s sons as his own: Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine. In so doing, he promoted them to the same level as his eldest sons, Reuben and Simeon. By putting them on par with their uncles, he made them founders of their respective tribes. Here, Joseph becomes heir of a double portion of the land. Because Levi received no share of the land, the total number of tribal allotments remains twelve. Nevertheless, Joseph’s subsequent offspring will fold under the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh: they shall be called by the names of their brothers in their inheritance. Jacob’s recounting of Rachel’s untimely death inferred that Ephraim and Manasseh have effectively become legitimate sons of Rachel. By this time, Ephraim and Manasseh were about twenty years of age.
The future of any nation hinges on the rectitude and vision of its sons
By virtue of Joseph’s political stature, wisdom and spiritual maturity, the house of Joseph is well positioned to play a major role in the future of Israel. Indeed, the prosperity of any nation hinges on the rectitude and vision of its leaders. Being sons of Joseph, the boys were personally coached by their father who was accorded with divine status; the saviour of Egypt.
Many today spend their time building their earthly empire while neglecting their own spiritual condition. Hence, apart from the earthly, they really have nothing to offer their children and protégés. Their spirits, starved for power and material wealth could hardly make a stand for the truth, let alone the task of raising up successors with rectitude and vision. They merely replicate their spirit in their sons who will be no better. After they pass on, their successors cannot quite rise up to the level required of them. Subsequently, their organisations dry up for lack of vision and implode because of infighting.
Joseph trained up his children with rectitude and vision to help Israel face an uncertain future. And God, by His sovereign hand raised up the the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh to help Israel conquer the land of Canaan. Subsequently, Ephraim became the most dominant tribe that embodied the northern kingdom of Israel. And Manasseh at its height occupied territories spanning both sides of the Jordan from the east to the west (see the map below).
Therefore, children in their quest for academic excellence must not neglect their character development that will singularly bring enduring prosperity. Academic results may reveal an expertise in a certain field, but only men and women of rectitude and vision can receive divine favour to change the world.
Are you accustomed to putting your children’s academic pursuits above their spiritual development? If you are a church leader, are you accustomed to running church programmes while neglecting your own spiritual growth? Do all to build up your spirit man and train up your children and disciples according to the truth. Put wisdom above intelligence, virtues above abilities and mercy above justice.
Dear Lord, I understand the importance of raising up future leaders that possess rectitude and vision. Cause me to grow in wisdom, mercy and courage so that I may be an example for the young. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.