Monday, June 22, 2015

Hebrews 11:20-22 By Faith, the patriarchs blessed


20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

It is so easy to curse and not bless. Instead of cursing our sick bodies, perhaps we should try blessing our bodies?

These three verses show the patriarchs and their blessings and instructions for their descendants.
Before we examine the aspects of human prophecy showed by these patriarchs, I just have to say one thing.
Paul writes that "by faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future." I don't really know what to make of this so I'll have to ponder this a bit more. Isaac was deceived when he blessed Jacob so he himself wasn't aware of his prophecy. This could be a bit like Noah's prophecy over Ham and like the High Priest's prophecy that "one man should die for the people." The prophecy is there, regardless of the state of the prophet. Sometimes prophecy is about seeing the future God has planned, sometimes prophecy is simply creating the future by one's faithful words. This is when the prophecy is a blessing or a curse. So, it seems as if Isaac believed his blessings for his would come true. So it is the power of belief at work that Paul is praising in this instance.

Jacob's blessing of his grandsons mirrors blind Isaac's blessing. I'm not too sure about this blessing either. The descendants of Joseph didn't exactly live up to this blessing from what I could see. This is also something I will have to ponder more. But I want you to look at the imagery here: Jacob worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. Now staffs are pretty important in the Bible. And Jacob's staff not only would have had the typical markings and notations that Middle Eastern shepherds had to record events in their lives, but it might also have been the staff he also leaned on when he was given the name Israel instead of Jacob, after the angel touched his inner thigh and created a permanent disability for him. Having such a memory of God's greatness, Jacob could easily foresee blessings for his grandsons, once again, letting the younger rule over the older.  
Joseph's prophecy seems to be straight-up prophecy. Having suffered in prison, he seems to have understood that the Israelites would also suffer in prison and rise up out of it. Maybe he had been told that his life would be symbolic of the nation. Whatever the reason, he did not want to have his bones remain in a land that symbolized slavery. Also, by asking his descendants to take his body with them when they left Egypt, he planted the hope in their hearts that one day they would also leave their slavery. They woud have cherished this promise in their hearts as they cherished all the words Abram, Isaac, and Jacob, had said.
All these blessings were spoken as preparation for death.
Consider, how powerful words are. Negative words said by parents curse children and echo in the children's brains forever. Words such as "You idiot!" or "you'll never amount to any good!" Or even well-meant words such as "You're sickly like your grandmother." As children of God, we must understand how powerful faithfilled words are, whether they are words spoken as blessings or curse.  

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