There are some pages that are easier to do than others when Bible Journaling. I have set out to not just pick my favourite or familiar verses but really seeking to draw closer to GOD and allowing him to speak. This section of the page jumped out at me because it is already a description of a picture.
Before Jacob dies he ‘blesses’ each of his sons … I’m not sure I would want to hear some of the things he declares over his boys and some of them don’t really feel like a blessing at all! But for Joseph, Israel seems to have a lot to say. His love for his lost son and the gratitude for his family’s salvation are poured over Joseph as he speaks.
22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine near a spring,
whose branches climb over a wall.
23 With bitterness archers attacked him;
they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed supple,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father’s God, who helps you,
because of the Almighty, who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
blessings of the deep springs below,
blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father’s blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the prince among his brothers. Genesis 49:22-26
I want to take elements of this image and pull out some truths …
Joseph is a fruitful vine climbing over a wall. Hmmm, being fruitful can feel like that sometimes. It doesn’t always come with ease and can require perseverance, patience and effort. But the key here is that the vine is planted near a spring. We need to question where we are planted. Even having this ready supply of water it has to reach out and climbs over the wall. This is encouraging … if I am not seeing fruit but know that I am planted like this vine, in GOD receiving from Him day and night, I know that there will be fruit. There might be some stretching and overcoming that GOD has for me first.
Next there is talk of arrows. Life can feel like a vicious attack even in the safety of a tolerant nation. It can feel like the arrows fly against us. Joseph knew what it was like to have bitterness and hostility attack him both in the past and after the blessing, but his bow was steady and he was able defeat the enemy. Why was he able to be strong and stay supple? Because …
… of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob – I wonder if Israel uses his old name to remind Joseph of the wrestling moment (Changed Forever). It is what comes to my mind … the GOD who changes you as you cling to Him.
… of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel – Joseph knew the guidance of GOD through his life, the gentle leading and well as the harder pushes. He also understood that in the tough times, there was a rock that will not be moved. Joseph had become the shepherd of Israel by rescuing his people. GOD wants to guide us, we have a choice to let Him. He is also the unchangeable and immovable foundation.
… of your fathers’ GOD, who helps you – there is an inheritance for Joseph and for us to have a GOD who doesn’t stand idly by, but is actually an ever present help.
… of the Almighty who blesses you … with blessings from the sky, deep springs, breast and womb, blessings that were Israel’s (ancient mountains and bounty of the hills). These are blessings from natural provision, deep found truths and faith, growth and fruitfulness and finally inheritance.
Basically he was able to stay strong and supple because his reliance was on GOD and His incredible gift of grace. That is something that we can take from this blessing too – strength comes from being weak and putting our reliance in GOD.
Joseph is a prince among brothers. Not just that he is like a prince, not even that he has the job of a prince in Egypt, but is the prince among brothers. He stayed faithful to GOD even when life appeared to shout at him to abandon hope. Israel sees this and blesses it. A royal authority is created over a circumstance when faith keeps you from turning to an easier path.
The only real bit of prophetic blessing for Joseph was of being a fruitful vine. All the rest of his words seemed to put the responsibility on GOD for being the manager and supplier of the right conditions. Our fruitfulness is reliant on being planted in the right place.
Written whilst looking at the fruitful vine in my garden!