Monday, February 5, 2007

Jacob (Israel), Patriarch

By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. [Hebrews 11:21]

Of all the things Jacob did, this is an interesting one to point out in the great faith chapter of Hebrews 11. Jacob was the son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham. Abraham and Isaac were great patriarchs but it was actually from Jacob that the Israelites, the Old Testament people of God, got their name. That’s because God changed Jacob’s name to Israel.

It was by faith that Jacob was being used by God to the very end of his life. In this case blessing his grandchildren of Joseph that he thought he would never see [Genesis 48:4-11]. Blessings aren’t limited to the line through which the Savior would come (Jacob’s son Judah). God always has more blessings to give. Even though Jacob was on his way out of this world, there was enough strength left in him to bless Manasseh and Ephraim.

What a great picture of how God loves us to the end. Even on the cross Jesus was speaking blessings upon us. “Father, forgive them.” “It is finished.” We are in the line of Israel now because of Jesus’ blessing to us in His dying for us. We are the New Israel, the Holy Christian Church.

[Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

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