Having a sense of belonging somewhere is a real human need. If you are with people who know you and love you as you are it is easy to just be you. I know that parents often have comments about their charming and polite children when they visit friends but have a hard time with them when they are at home. It is because at home and they are family, they are free to be themselves and still be loved.
For Joseph it was important to have his half Egyptian children be part of family. He intentionally brought his two children to his father Israel to receive a blessing and he gets more than he expected when Israel pronounces a double blessing over his sons. This is the portion reserved for the firstborn child.
These two boys had began life away from family and were known as Joseph’s or more accurately Zaphenath-Paneah’s sons. They were part of one of the most powerful families of the world at the time yet Joseph considered his father’s blessing more important. To be connected with the name of Israel meant being connected with Isaac and Abraham. These names were the historical treasure of a small nation who had been called out of insignificance by the creator of the universe. The power and might of Egypt could not compare to the significance of belonging to GOD. Joseph’s sons would become part of the great promise of GOD and they would not be lost in the time when other nations disappear.
I wonder if there are others of you out there in blog-world that wonder if you will ever amount to anything, if anything you do or say will ever really make a difference … I know I have and do. But studying this page reminds me that being called by His Name, being part of His family is what matters. Other things rise up and fade away but being called by His name is eternal. He has changed my name and adopted me making me a permanent part of His family.
After Joseph brings his sons to Israel all the other brothers are called to go to their father for a blessing. Joseph was different. He approached his father boldly, asking for the next generation to be blessed. He saw beyond the present time and into the future. We can follow his example. We can approach our Father and ask for the next generation, for the things to yet come.
So why the lion on my Bible page?? Why not?! Who doesn’t like an image of a lion right???
Seriously though, the lion comes up in imagery all over the Bible. Sometimes it is linked with evil and danger and other times to power and rule. Israel refers to his son Judah as being like a lion as part of his blessing for his son. He declares that ‘The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the rulers staff from between his feet. The one to whom it belongs shall come and obedience of the nations shall be his.’ WOW! Israel prophesies the coming of Jesus and what it will be like. The all time ruler will be part of this family line. And who was Judah? He wasn’t the firstborn son neither was he the favourite of his father, so what was different about him? Judah was willing to give up his freedom for his little brother Benjamin and to save his family from grief (Fear is the Enemy … And Love Wins (Part 2)). Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Jesus’ freedom exchanged for us. Perhaps the things we do and say do have family repercussions that we will never see. Perhaps you will never know what kind of a difference you make to the generations to come.
Being part of a family means that we carry a DNA that is similar. Did you know that you are 99.9% similar to the person next to you even if you are ‘not related’… or that you are 60% similar to a banana? Interesting if not obscure facts! But being called by His name means that you are 100% similar to GOD. Before you all tell me I am pushing it too far … I am not saying you are GOD but that you are image bearers and carriers of His name because of being part of His family. You carry His authority and His reign, you stand in His victory and have His favour. There really is power in the name of Jesus.
Lastly, I cannot leave this page without referencing the fact that Israel blessed the younger over the older. GOD has different ‘blessings’ for each of us. Joseph’s response was that his father had got it wrong and then a bit of anger when Israel chose the younger over the older. There is a lesson there for some of us …