Today's Manna

February 6, 2017
Weak Eyes, Strong Faith
by Scotty McCurdy
Scripture Reading: Genesis 48

Israel (Jacob) in Genesis 48 has seen better days physically, but spiritually, he may have never been better. His blessing of Joseph’s sons is truly profound. Though old and blind, Israel is running this race of life with endurance, with his eyes fixed on the Author and Finisher of his faith. This faithful endurance is on full display in verses 15-16, in which Israel prays a prayer that we would do well to emulate.

The prayer is first a recognition of the faithfulness of past generations. God had been faithful to Israel’s fathers, and his fathers had been faithful to God. That type of spiritual lineage should be a constant source of thanksgiving for those who have it. Should you not have the blessing of a faithful lineage, don’t fret – allow God to establish generations of faithful believers who follow your example. Abraham didn’t come from a God-fearing family, and look at how God used him!

Next, the prayer is personal. Israel reflected on God’s life-long protection and guidance. Who needs a shepherd but a sheep? Israel’s life had been turbulent, but instead of seeing himself as deserving better, he sees God as his loving Shepherd, graciously feeding him, or meeting his needs, all the days of his life (cf. Psalm 23). We would do well to reflect on God's care in such a way.

Verse 16 is where sparks start to fly and we can see the depth of Israel’s understanding. Though living almost 2000 years before Christ, Israel saw the Angel (of the Lord) as his Redeemer, his Deliver, his Savior. The Angel had redeemed him “from all evil.” Not only had Israel been redeemed from the evil of his enemies and of the world, but more importantly, from the evil he had committed, the evil of which he was guilty. He had been redeemed from it all, and what a blessed thing to speak of on one’s death bed!

It is that redemption that believers ought to teach “diligently to [our] children,” and that we ought to speak of “when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut 6:7). Israel understood this, as shown by his request of his Lord to “bless the lads,” showing (among other covenant-related things) his intention to pass his love for his Lord and Savior to future generations.

Though not always a good example in his youth, here an old Israel teaches us a great lesson on God-honoring prayer.

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