JACOB EXPRESSED GREAT FAITH
The blessing JACOB gave his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh is significant as a demostration of FAITH. The content of that blessing is also important. For one thing, it defied all normal expectation.
"Then Israel stretched out his rgiht hand and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the first born ... Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. And Joseph said to his father, 'Not so, my father. for this one is the firstborn; out your right hand on his head.' " (Genesis 48:14-18)
When Joseph pointed out the irregularity in the blessings, "his father refused" (Genesis 48:19) to stop. What was going on here? JACOB was himself a younger son who maneuvered to take the birthright of his brother Esau. Look what had resulted becuase of his action! Had JACOB not learned his lesson?
Now, the two reversals were different, however. Rather than reversing the usual custm through trickery, JACOB did so through his TRUST in God. Earlier in the conversation he had expressed his acceptance of both grandsons by proclaiming, "[They] are mine" (Genesis 48:5). When he gave the right hand of blessing the younger child, JACOB answered Joseph's reproach by saying he was certain of God's plan.
"I know, my son, I know: [Manasseh] also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multiude of nations." (Genesis 48:19).
JACOB knew this blessing was God's will, and he stood squarely upon that knowledge - even though, given his past, he may have thus laid himself open for criticism. Nevertheless, JACOB "blessed them that day ... and he set Ephraim before Manasseh" (Genesis 48:14-20).
Centuries later, this prophecy of God through JACOB was proven true. The descendants of Ephraim became the leaders of Israel's ten northern tribes, while the tribe of Manasseh divided.
The writer to the Hebrews records, finally, that JACOB blessed Joseph's grandsons "and WORSHIPED." (JACOB's act of WORSHIP actually preceded the blessing. Nevertheless, the two events occurred close together during the pariarch's final days.)
"When the time drew near that ISRAEL must die, he called his son Jospeh and said to him, ' Now if I have found favor in yoursight, please put your hand under my thigh'. So ISRAEL bowed himself on the head of the bed." (Genesis 47:29, 31).
His physical strength had waned. He needed help to sit up. He was so weak, apparently, that he had to lean on his staff (Hebrews 11:21) even to sit on the edge of his bed. He could no longer imagine it possible to do any mighty deeds to impress God and gain His favor. In fact, his life was nearly over. Yet as JACOB leaned on his staff, he did the best thing any man could ever do. In his heart, as in his body, he was prostrate before God. This is the attitude of TRUE WORSHIP, that of a heart that is humbled in complete submission before God
The New Testament's HALL of FAITH records this scene because, even for us today, it is a powerful lesson and a great encouragement. At one time this man had acted and schemed as if all success depended on him. But in the end, JACOB humbled himself before God. He had learned to TRUST God instead of himself. Lovingly, the LORD had allowed JACOB to experience many trials and blessings in order to bring His child into a vibrant relationship with Him. God does the same for us TODAY! If we TRUST Him fully, as JACOB did, we will naturally WORSHIP the Object of our TRUST until the end of our days.
(an extract from True Worship by David Whitcomb and Mark Ward, Sr.)