Here are some interesting things I’ve noted, but don’t necessarily understand, in the last few chapters of my study in Genesis. I will never understand everything on this earth, but it will be fun to learn all about EVERYTHING in heaven. We will be able to learn from the eyewitnesses, and from the very Author and Creator of our history.
First of all, when Joseph introduced his brothers to Pharaoh, he asked them to downplay their role as shepherds, “‘for every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians.'” ~ Genesis 46:34b. Yet when “Pharaoh said to his brothers, ‘What is your occupation?’ So they said to Pharaoh, ‘Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.'” ~ Genesis 47:3. They spoke the truth anyway, loathsome or not! Then in Genesis 48:15, while blessing Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob referred to God as “‘The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day'”. This is the first reference in the Bible to God as a shepherd. Being a shepherd is a very good thing indeed. Jesus tells us, “‘I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.'” ~ John 10:11
Next, Jacob gave Ephraim the first-born’s blessing, though Manasseh was the older son of Joseph. God chose repeatedly to bypass the oldest and give the younger son the blessings and power of the first-born’s position: Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Joseph and Judah over Reuben. We cannot tell which man will be a better leader, or the right one for God’s job. “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7. God is a good judge of men. In fact, He is the best, most perfectly fair, Judge. “But the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment, and He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.” ~ Psalm 9:7-8
Finally, I do not understand how God, through Jacob, chose the blessings, and “unblessings”, for the twelve sons of Israel in Genesis 49, except that again, He sees the hearts and the big picture, and we cannot. Why did Judah end up with the leadership role amongst the tribes instead of Reuben? Both brothers had committed sexual sins against their families, yet both had spoken up on behalf of Benjamin later and had shown remorse for their sin against Joseph. Perhaps Judah’s willingness to lay his life down for Benjamin may have shown his heart most clearly. And God sees the heart. Even King David messed up “royally”, yet God called David “‘a man after His own heart'” ~ 1 Samuel 13:14. God is the best judge of character, and He knows how His perfect plan will come together, in His perfect timing. Jesus was descended through the line of Judah and of David. God uses men with willing hearts that seek after Him, imperfect though they may be. That is a very good thing for us, for “there is none righteous, not even one.” ~ Romans 3:10
We may not understand how God works, but He is all-knowing and trustworthy, always.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” ~ Ephesians 3:20-21