Blessing is powerful—it can impart identity, purpose, and affirmation. It can be a life-giving provision. We desperately want to be blessed, to be called out and favored. The struggle for blessing was central in the life of Jacob. In Old Testament times, the blessing of the firstborn was so coveted that Jacob deceived his father and, literally, wrestled with God to get it. He deeply wanted the life-altering affirmation and opportunity it offered. God did, indeed, bless Jacob. Today’s passage gives us a snapshot of what Jacob did with that blessing.
- In what ways have you been blessed by someone? How did you respond?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 46:31-47:12 (ESV)
46:31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 And the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ in order that you may dwell in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”
47:1 So Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan. They are now in the land of Goshen.” 2 And from among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. 3 Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were.” 4 They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.” 5 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6 The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”
7 Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the days of the years of your life?” 9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.” 10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. 11 Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12 And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their dependents.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- For what was Joseph prepping and rehearsing with his brothers (vss. 46:31-34)? What did they hope to gain?
- Jacob’s family came to Egypt in a time of crisis, thus, the meeting with Pharaoh was very critical. Did the chosen five brothers keep to Joseph’s script before the Egyptian king (vss. 47:1-4)?
- Where do you see Joseph’s wisdom in this whole interchange? What part do you think it played in Pharaoh’s response? What did Pharaoh grant the family (vss. 47:5-6)?
- Who was presented next to Pharaoh and what did he do (vss. 47:7-10)? How might his words have been more than a polite patriarchal gesture? Why was he able to extend God’s blessing?
- As you have received blessing and provision from God, in what ways can you then extend God’s blessing to those in your city, your workplace, your neighborhood, your school, your family?
RESPOND TO GOD
As God blessed Jacob and his family through Joseph’s wisdom and Pharaoh’s kindness, the family’s survival was ensured. They were offered the best of the land. Jacob, in turn, extended the blessing of God to Pharaoh, the fruit of which would be seen in the near future. The greater redemptive storyline in this passage echoes a recurring theme in Scripture: blessed to be a blessing. In Christ, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing for our good and God’s glory; we, in turn, are to be a blessing to others. What an immense charge and privilege we have to extend the blessing of God.
- Pray for a heart that seeks to bless and extend grace to others.
- Thank God for the blessing of grace and faith in your life.