Serving Again for His Gain, APR/MAY – #1144

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Again and Again …because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel…

Again and again we biblically see service as valued over situation, and we see GRACE enter as the saving force. In Genesis, we see the younger being served by the elder, a turn of the tables in 3 generations: Jacob and Esau; Joseph and the 11 other brothers; and with Joseph’s two sons. We see the theme of service by force and servitude by choice.

Again and again we also can make the choice to follow our Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. He is our Savior whose Servitude IS by choice.

Jacob, was to be called Israel, with his descendants in the 12 tribes of his 12 sons forever to be called Israelites. Jacob was the younger son who went ahead of Esau. This was also through trickery to Issac the father. Esau, not blameless in his destiny, sold out to his younger brother and Jacob was too eager to take it.  Jacob wrestled with God, and so often God spoke to Jacob and Jacob spoke to God. Jacob was blessed many fold by God’s Grace and guidance. Both Jacob and Esau went on to have trials in life yet they re-connected in forgiveness and grace…

Joseph (with the fancy coat), the youngest son of Jacob, went on to lead the 11 other brothers, many years after they sold him, betrayed him, purposefully lost him. Fast forward many years, Joseph was the one with higher material blessings in Egypt but from his father too, not just in a fancy coat or an extra ridge of land, but with a father’s favorite love. Joseph also sought God’s heart and deepened in his understanding of God’s revealed plan for his service. All the brothers were eventually blessed in the world. Joseph however served like a servant in understanding his blessings and Joseph’s remarkable success was only because God allowed it and caused it… Jacob reminded Joseph that it was God Almighty who made him a prince above his brothers.

We too must remember, again and again, God is the One who causes our successes and prevents our failures. Jesus shepherds us into safety again and again – for His gain. 

We see late in the story that Joseph’s sons’ blessings were switched by their grandfather Jacob who knowingly switched his hands laid on their heads. Ephraim, the second born, was blessed ahead of Manasseh, the first. Both were blessed, Jacob clearly said he knew from the Lord that thru Abraham their line was guaranteed Godly offspring whom would continue into many nations.

Jacob, called Israel by God, said:  “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.  With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,  because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above,  blessings of the deep springs below,  blessings of the breast and womb. Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.” Genesis 49:22-24

There are more stories and understandings in the writings of Genesis – including a new level I just understood from reading about Judah , who originally was awful to Joseph but then later swore to protect Benjamin, the new favorite of father Jacob. (I found some last minute insight into this at this website: https://www.citieschurch.com/sermons/why-is-jesus-the-lion-of-judah).

This pledge and change of heart from self-serving to serving others, protecting others, is a change of heart of Judah and now the bloodline that continues from Judah to Jesus is established in serving. So forgiveness from Joseph the younger to grace from God the creator, we know all are forgiven in the blood of the Savior.

So no matter who is older, it is always Jesus modelling servanthood – obedience by death on the cross to save the world – ALL His brothers and sisters.

Amen

—–

Genesis Chapter 48

Some time later Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. 2 When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel rallied his strength and sat up on the bed.3 Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me 4 and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’5 “Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. 6 Any children born to you after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers. 7 As I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).8 When Israel saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, “Who are these?”9 “They are the sons God has given me here,” Joseph said to his father. Then Israel said, “Bring them to me so I may bless them.”10 Now Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them.11 Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.”12 Then Joseph removed them from Israel’s knees and bowed down with his face to the ground. 13 And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. 14 But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.15 Then he blessed Joseph and said, “May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm—may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly on the earth.”17 When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.” 20 He blessed them that day and said, “In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’”So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers. 22 And to you I give one more ridge of land than to your brothers, the ridge I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.”

Chapter 49 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come. 2 “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel. 3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power.4 Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it. 5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers—    their swords are weapons of violence.6 Let me not enter their council,    let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger    and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. 7 Cursed be their anger, so fierce,    and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob    and disperse them in Israel.

8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. 9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. 11 He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.

13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships;  his border will extend toward Sidon.14 “Issachar is a rawboned donkey lying down among the sheep pens. 15 When he sees how good is his resting place  and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor.16 “Dan will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel.17 Dan will be a snake by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward.18 “I look for your deliverance, Lord. 19 “Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders, but he will attack them at their heels.20 “Asher’s food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king.21 “Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns.

22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. 23 With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. 24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above,  blessings of the deep springs below,  blessings of the breast and womb. 26 Your father’s blessings are greater  than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers. 27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.”28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.


… and yet another story back in Genesis 38 is of offspring switching positions is those of Judah by Tamar disguising herself to become pregnant. Her 2 sons started out of the womb and the first hand that came out had a ribbon tied on it but it went back in and the 2nd son was born first.

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