A final sermon in our study of Genesis by Tim Rees.
Jacob departs the Promised Land to be reunited — at last— with his beloved Joseph! But before he departs the land of promise, he sacrifices to God in faithfulness. God responds by reaffirming Jacob's role in His Mission, a Mission from God!
In Hebrews 11:21, Jacob's entry into the "Hall of Faith" describes a mountaintop moment of faith for him. It's not his wrestling with God. It's not his wonder at the stairway to heaven. It's not even his sacrifice to God before departing the Promised Land. Instead, it's the event of this chapter, Genesis 48, where Jacob worships on his staff as he blesses Joseph's sons.
To affect a wonderful reuniting of Jacob's sons, God orchestrates true repentance. Joseph will have a grand reveal before his brothers, and his brothers will have a grander repentance before him.
When we are in the midst of discipline and training from the Lord, we are often left wondering, "What in the world is God doing to us?" He skillfully applies the events of a fallen, broken world to our darkened broken soul to produce holiness, righteousness, and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:10-11). God continues His reclamation project of Israel through the famine that extends to Canaan as His people get ready to head down to Egypt.
God refines His people, usually by suffering that produces perseverance that produces character that produces hope (Romans 5:3-4) or by testing through fires (1Peter 1:6-7). Here He refines Israel through famine and Joseph through slavery, imprisonment, and later — interestingly— through fame.