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Genesis 48:1-22

Jacob is quite old and nearing death. The time has come for him to give his final blessings to his sons.

Jacob’s Blessings


Joseph moved the boys, who were at their grandfather’s knees, and he bowed with his face to the ground. Then he positioned the boys in front of Jacob. With his right hand he directed Ephraim toward Jacob’s left hand, and with his left hand he put Manasseh at Jacob’s right hand. But Jacob crossed his arms as he reached out to lay his hands on the boys’ heads. He put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, though he was the younger boy, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, though he was the firstborn.
(Genesis 48:12-14)


When Joseph became a slave, Jacob thought he was dead and wept in despair (Genesis 37:34). But eventually God’s plan allowed Jacob to regain not only his son but his grandchildren as well. This dramatic turn of events shows that circumstances are never beyond God’s reach. Jacob regained his son. Job got a new family (Job 42:10-17). Mary and Martha regained their brother Lazarus (John 11:1-44). We need never despair because we belong to a loving God. We don’t yet know what good he may bring out of a seemingly hopeless situation.

Jacob included Joseph’s sons in his blessings. These verbal blessings were very important, carrying the weight of a “last will and testament.” Jacob surprised Joseph by giving Ephraim the greater blessing, even though he was younger. When Joseph tried to correct his father, Jacob refused to listen because God had told him that Ephraim would become greater. Then Jacob blessed Joseph, the son he thought he would never see again.

God often works in unexpected ways. He certainly did when he restored Joseph to his family. And when God chooses people to be part of his plans, he always goes deeper than appearance, tradition, or position. He sometimes surprises us by choosing the person that human reasoning sets aside.


God can use you to carry out his plans, even if you don’t think you have all the qualifications or face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Look for how God can work through you and for you in every situation, even those that seem hopeless.

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