Just finished reading through the book of Genesis, the book of Beginnings (Have you started a reading plan yet? If not, check out this site for some good ones). So many familiar stories, so many things I’m prone to blow right past as I read. Each time I read it, just like the rest of the Word, it’s new again.
As I finished up the book today with chapters 48-50, I was given pause by Jacob’s blessing of his son Joseph before his death. In reading through the book, even in 50 chapters, you forget just how much time passes. We read the words, broken by verse and chapter numbers, and forget that years are going by as we read. And in this beautiful picture of a father blessing his son and his grandsons, I was really struck by how life moves on, how things change, people age, and before we know it, we go from receiving blessings to giving them.
I thought of how important the blessing of a father was to Jacob. After all, he bought his brother’s and then disguised himself to receive the blessing of his father. His life was marked for years by that day, as he ran from his brother in fear for years before being reunited with him later in life.
Once, he was the young man yearning for his father’s blessing, his approval, his love. Once, he was the one falling in love. Once, he was the one raising young kids.
And now, in Genesis 48, he’s an old man at the end of his days. Jacob calls his son Joseph to his side to bless him, to pass on his love, to pass on the approval of a father, so dear to a son. This son that he had long given up as dead was before him, having become salvation for Jacob’s entire family (there is a whole sermon in there, but that’s another post for another day!). I think Jacob’s words describe it well:
“And Israel (Jacob) said to Joseph, “I had not though to see your face; but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring!” (Gen. 48:11)
A lifetime lived, hope blooming and hope lost, abundance and famine, young love, war, loss, deceit, reconciliation. All of it in the past. A father looking back at it all, and realizing a day he never thought would come was given to him, after all. This opportunity to place his hands on his son (and his grandsons) and give them his blessing.
Time moves so fast…
We just celebrated Christmas and a New Year with family. As I sat in the living room at my parents house watching my kids play with my brother and sister’s kids, I was struck by just how quickly we’ve all gone from the kids to the parents. My older sisters will probably be going from the parents to the grandparents in the next few years.
And I look at my dad, smiling (in spite of the noise and craziness). I see him, tired, yet full of joy. I hear him telling me how proud he is of me; me, the son who rebelled and acted the fool for many years! I hope he knows that it was his steady walk with God that contributed so much to that. I receive that blessing because he was faithful. I’ll take it.
And I pray that, if the Lord doesn’t return before then, that one day, I’ll be able to look at my kids’ kids playing. I pray I’ll be able to pass my blessing to them, to rejoice in these little ones that I thought I’d never see, all grown up. I pray I’ll be full of days and full of joy.
I pray that I’ll see the Lord’s hand and faithfulness in their lives, as I see already in my father’s life and my life. Like Jacob, I hope I’ll look back and realize just how far He brought me.