Genesis: Day 29

Jacob Blesses Joseph’s Sons

by

Today's Text: Genesis 47:1-31, Genesis 48:1-22, Genesis 49:1-28

Text: Genesis 47:1-31, Genesis 48:1-22, Genesis 49:1-28

Don’t bother buying me presents. All I need is a big ol’ box of compliments. To say words are my love language would be like saying ice cream is good—a massive understatement. I guess we writer types are like that.

Writer or not, we all know the power of words. We’ve all been buoyed by a blessing spoken at just the right time, and devastated by a curse better left unsaid.

Jacob’s story illustrates the power of words at both extremes. Here, in Genesis 47-49, we find Jacob (a.k.a. Israel) at the end of his life. As often seems to be the case, age has worn the barbs off of Jacob’s tongue, and he hands out blessings left and right.

He blessed Pharaoh (Genesis 47:7).
He blessed Joseph (Genesis 48:15).
He blessed his grandsons while bouncing them on his knee (Genesis 48:12-20).

But having studied Jacob’s story, we know he didn’t always use his words for good. His life was a roadmap of twists and turns, all pivoting on the power of words.

He talked his brother, Esau, into selling his birthright for a pot of stew (Genesis 25:27-34). Then he lied to his father and stole his brother’s blessing with a dirty trick and a furry shirt (Genesis 27:1-41). When Jacob finally had to face his estranged brother again, he expected curses but got undeserved blessings instead (Genesis 32:1-33:11).

The tables were turned when his father-in-law Laban used his own words to trick Jacob into marrying both his daughters in exchange for fourteen years of hard labor (Genesis 29:13-30). Jacob’s wives knew the power of words, too, as they were embroiled in a heated fight for most of Genesis 30.

This pattern continued throughout Jacob’s life. His words split and created families, stole and restored fortunes, blessed and cursed sons. Jacob is a poster child for this truth:

“Life and death are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
-Proverbs 18:21

It’s easy to read the story of this deceiver and point the finger at his smooth talking, trickery, and outright lies—but that would be the pot calling the kettle black. I have Jacob tendencies too. I’m often careless with my words, forgetful that death and life are in the power of my tongue. Still, I find great hope for the transformation of my words in the inspired Word of God.

Let’s circle back to Jacob’s deathbed. As he held his grandsons on his lap and whispered blessings, we see it wasn’t Jacob’s words that held his life together (or tore it apart).

“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all of my life to this day,
the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm—
may He bless these boys.”
-Genesis 48:16

God spoke the universe into existence. He spoke forgiveness of sins from the cross. Right now, at the right hand of the Father, He speaks words of intercession for you and me (Hebrews 7:25). The same God who blessed the deceiver, brought home the outlaw, and shepherded the wayward Jacob, speaks life-giving words to us through His Word. And the more I study His Word, the more I see Him transforming my own.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
-Psalm 19:14

Erin Davis is a popular author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

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  • Kasey Summers

    Love this. Lord, guard my mouth. “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” -Proverbs 18:21

  • Maria Baer

    Oh, this is something I have improved and continue to do so. I’ll always remember when I was a teenager and said something to my mom. I cannot remember what but I do remember my tone and attitude were cold. But what I remember most is mom’s answer: “your tongue is like a viper’s. Your words chosen to hurt in the deepest way, like the fangs of a viper.” That stuck with me since then and it sat in my stomach like a rock. I’ve been told that I am a much kinder and gentler version of my old self– the one who would put up walls when hurt was close by and would use her words as weapon. But all of it is because of God. His love and mercy even in the hardest moments of my life have made me realize that I cannot use the same mouth I use to worship him, for throwing verbal attacks at people who hurt me. Thank you Lord for opening my heart to that truth.

  • Ann Marie

    Words…When we take the time to think before we speak, it can be amazing how our words may change. I feel that sometimes people do not give words enough credit. They can be extremely powerful in positive and negative ways. I have found as I have been increasing my time in the Word of God, my words have begun to take a different flavor and it is quite amazing. My conversations have changed to a different level of depth and I can feel my relationships changing…it is quite amazing. I loved how she said she finds hope as she sees how her words get transformed by God’s inspired words. That is how I’m feeling now and I love how I am able to take the time to notice the transformation as that just seems to fuel God’s fire!

  • I remember meeting two Christian Asian ladies while I was on a mission trip in East Asia. While I was so concerned about finding the right explanations and visuals to explain these unheard of concepts , these women pointed out, “it’s not really our words that are important — it’s God’s Word that has the power, we can talk all day and get no where, but His Words have His power to reach the heart.” Reminded me not to elevate my words and “wisdom” above the power of the Word of God!

  • Ashley Teague

    I recently wrote an outline for a discussion at work based around women supporting each other. I had mentioned how growing up I witnessed the women and girls in my life hurting themselves and other girls/women with unkind words and how this had an impact on me. Words are powerful. As mentioned they can tear people down or be uplifting. I think words can also be contagious. When you speak unkindly to someone it can influence the way they speak to others and vise versa. I’m personally praying that God guides me on a daily basis to be cautious, careful and mindful with my words. I want to be a positive influence. So thankful to have found SRT! What beautiful, positive and thought provoking discussions are brought up. Love it!

  • Manasseh and Ephraim must have been at least nineteen years of age at the time Jacob blessed them. They weren’t toddler’s being bounced on Jacob’s knees. They were born before the famine, two years of famine had passed before Jacob came and he had lived there seventeen years. I believe the interpretation is to mean that Joseph removed his sons from in front of his knees so he could have room to bow down. I’m new to She Reads Truth, but I absolutely love it! Each day I feel like I get fed and it’s wonderful!

  • Caroline @ In Due Time

    Prov 18:21 is one of my favorite! We have the authority to speak life or death and I am choosing to speak LIFE! http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Rochelle

    Amazing! When God wants to put something on our hearts, he really knows how to reiterate it! I was in a meeting last night and this was the topic – the power of the spoken word, and how careful we ought be with the words we choose. This drives it home for me once again, to use my words for life and not death. Have a great weekend, ladies!

  • There is power in our words! We can build up or we can tear down. We can wound or we can heal. We can use words to have our own way. Or we can use words to share God’s way. As today’s devotion points out, words were significant in Jacob’s story. Words were used to deceive. Words were used to bless.
    Yes, our words can impact and even change the course of our lives. I think to understand our words and to use them for good, we have to get to the root of our words. And I believe the root is our heart. As Luke 6 says, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (v. 45)
    Oh, that my heart and words may be FULL of God’s truth and Christ’s light. Praying for a heart continually renewed and refreshed by His Word each morning. For words overflowing with His love and grace. Praying to seek His favor – above all – in my heart, and through my words and life.

    • She Reads Truth

      Love this so much, Beverly! Thanks for joining us today!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • I cant believe we only have one day left in our study of Genesis.

    Deep anxiety drew me to SRT on “accident” via Instagram. 30 days later I now know, this was no accident at all, it was God’s hand drawing me to something that would bring me closer to him, and in turn bring me great comfort and the reminder that even when I can’t see through the dark times, He can.

    Genesis started off difficult for me to comprehend- I saw glimpses of an angry jealous God that didn’t align with my visions of our God who sent us our Savior, I saw so much bad behavior: deceit, lies, rape, it was astounding and to make it more confusing- we saw God extend favor to Jacob, a thief & liar.

    But then some clicked inside me on day 22 with the SRT devotion about Joseph being sold into slavery. The reading said “The bible isn’t a book about moral people who lead perfect lives, its about Jesus our savior who came to live the perfect life for us.”

    This struck a cord for me and has made all the difference since. Our Lord Jesus didn’t come to us in a palace and through Genesis we know the lineage leading to him was far from perfect. How amazing it is that God used such imperfect people to teach us? Maybe God blessed Jacob so that we might know that as long as we seek Him, there is nothing we can do to stop his love for us. Because of this, these stories and lessons are more accessible and approachable to someone as imperfect as I and for me that is the biggest relief.

    Genesis has really come full circle for me and I’m grateful to SRT for encouraging me and offering me a tool to spend more time in His word.

    Thank you

    REPLY

    • Beverly

      “as long as we seek Him, there is nothing we can do to stop his love for us.” Grateful to read these words this morning. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Kelly!

  • In our family, right now, we are experiencing the “curse” of devastating, harsh words that had been better left unsaid! We see the result of the poisonous power of words uttered in anger!: a family of broken relationships!
    Lord, bring Your Salvation and restoration to our family, in Jesus Name…AMEN
    In YOUR time
    In YOUR time
    YOU make all things beautiful
    In YOUR time
    Shalom Dear Sisters…have a blessed weekend<

  • Churchmouse

    Erin, thank you for this reminder today! I especially appreciate the additional Scriptures you cited. The power of my words pales in comparison with the power of THE WORD. So grateful to be challenged to choose my words carefully and thoughtfully. That’s hard to do in the moment sometimes but I know when I have hidden His Word in my heart, my words are more likely to be God – honoring. Praying my words today will be a blessing to those I encounter.

  • I cant believe we only have one day life in our study of Genesis.

    Deep anxiety drew me to SRT on “accident” via Instagram. 30 days later I now know, this was no accident at all, it was God’s hand drawing me to something that would bring me closer to him, and in turn bring me great comfort and the reminder that even when I can’t see through the dark times, He can.

    Genesis started off difficult for me to comprehend- I saw glimpses of an angry jealous God that didn’t align with my visions of our God who sent us our Savior, I saw so much bad behavior: deceit, lies, murder, rape, incest it was astounding and to make it more confusing- we saw God extend favor to Jacob, a thief & liar.

    But then some clicked inside me on day 22 with the SRT devotion about Joseph being sold into slavery. The reading said “The bible isn’t a book about moral people who lead perfect lives, its about Jesus our savior who came to live the perfect life for us.”

    This struck a cord for me and has made all the difference since. Our Lord Jesus didn’t come to us in a palace and through Genesis we know the lineage leading to him was far from perfect. How amazing it is that God used such imperfect people to teach us? Maybe God blessed Jacob so that we might know that as long as we seek Him, there is nothing we can do to stop his love for us. Because of this, these stories and lessons are more accessible and approachable to someone as imperfect as I and for me that is the biggest relief.

    Genesis has really come full circle for me and I’m grateful to SRT for encouraging me and offering me a tool to spend more time in His word.

    Thank you

    • She Reads Truth

      Kelly, what an absolute JOY it has been to read Genesis with you. Thanks for sharing your heart today, friend!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • I am particularly puzzled by Gen 48:14-19- why would Jacob raise the younger(Ephraim) over the eldest (Manasseh) while blessing them? Is it a generational that the youngest be above the eldest? (Jacob deceitfully takes Esau’s birthright and then his blessing, Joseph’s brothers eventually ‘bow’ to him). I wonder…

    Also i understood also that one should be careful the things we do and say as its goes a long way to either make us or mar our future (as Jacob blessed his children according to their past actions and deeds – Gen 49) Nature somehow brings it to play.
    Thank God Christ came to bear it all on the cross!
    Help me Lord to become closer to you with each passing day and teach me to guard my tongue.

    • Beverly

      Praying with you, oyinade. That the Lord would draw me closer to His heart each day, fill me with His goodness, and teach me to share it through sweet words.

  • God has been reminding me of the power of words lately and I find it exciting to see the impact that even a small compliment or word of encouragement can have. It has challenged me not just to think good things and stay quiet, but actually to speak them out as they can be such an encouragement to others.
    Thank you for all your words here, the writers and everyone who comments. I love studying God’s Word with you and I gain so much from your insights and reflections. God bless you all today.

    • SusieT

      Yes, Carly, my thoughts exactly! We never know, as you said, “the impact that even a small compliment or word of encouragement can have.” May I give an example? Years ago, I’d had a number of eye surgeries, complications of Grave’s disease. Suffice it to say, I was very, very self-conscious of how my eyes appeared…even after the surgeries had restored my good vision, as well as the appearance of my [previously bulging] eyes. One day, just a few months after my last surgery, I was in the check-out line at a store and during my purchase transaction, the cashier paused and said: “I gotta tell you: you have the most beautiful eyes! I love their color.” Needless to say, I was surprised…shocked, really. My eyes are brown, as are the eyes of all my siblings…not breath-takingly blue, or green, or something more unusual. Yet, this cashier had taken a moment to pay me a compliment…and about my eyes, no less! It could hardly have been better timed, and meant so very much to me. I still vividly recall it, and undoubtedly will the rest of my life.
      It also generated in me a determination to be intentional about being encouraging…and giving compliments. Since then, when I find myself thinking how nice someone has been…or how attractive a garment they’re wearing, I try to make a point to tell them so. We truly never know how much they might even *need* such an encouraging word at that particular time!
      Blessings, dear SRT Sisters!! Happy Friday!

    • Beverly

      To think good things and SHARE them. Grateful for your thoughts and encouragement, Carly!

  • A couple of years ago , I was involved in an incident to do with my dog and another dog that had me boiling, reeling, mad…and in those moments and in that place, and angry mind set, the words that left my mouth, were words the old me would have felt they had done justice in that situation…but this me, this me that the Lord is changing, I have to say was shocked that those words were still my vocabulary…let alone use them..!
    Anyway, I was telling the story to family members, within earshot of my son at a gathering, when he piped in…”Don’t act as if you have never used words like that…I remember when you did…”
    I have so long prayed most days, for a guard at my mouth and a sentry at my lips, I had forgotten my old self and what words I used to use…but God, God, although I had let Him down in my dealing of the situation, had used it for good, I had been reminded of the person I was….yes.. and quite rightly, because I realised also, in my son’s words how far I have come as I have studied the Word of God, and His transforming of me…

    All praise and glory to the Lord God Almighty….Total, total praise…

    As James 4 says a tongue cannot be tamed.., as the same tongue that praises God, also curses ..that same tongue that gives thanks, also curses…untamable,( a lot of paraphrasing), yet, by God’s grace and by and in His Word, we can be careful what we say….

    Sorry I know this was about Jacob blessing Joseph’s children, but I felt I should share this, I hope you don’t mind….

    Sisters, praying God turn His face to shine on you today with grace, peace and love…and I pray your blessing s be doubled…xxx

    • Kylee

      Oh, how our children call our conduct into question! Lately my daughter has had a few raised eyebrows when she overhears some things I’ve said…must remedy this. Thank you for sharing — I too will begin to pray for a guard at my mouth and a sentry by my lips!

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