Genesis 48:1-22; Matthew 15:29-39; Psalms 20:7-9; Proverbs 10:1-2
OT: “Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me. He said to me, ‘I will make you fruitful and numerous; I will make many nations come from you, and I will give this land as a permanent possession to your future descendants.’ Your two sons born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt are now mine. Ephraim and Manasseh belong to me just as Reuben and Simeon do… Then he blessed Joseph and said: The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all harm — may he bless these boys. And may they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they grow to be numerous within the land.” (Genesis 48:3-5, 15-16 CSB)
As Jacob’s life was coming to an end, he wanted to make sure that he passed on the blessing that he had received. Jacob always recognized Joseph as the son to receive the blessing of the first born, for he was the firstborn son of his favored wife Rachael. Reuben and Simeon (Jacobs 2 oldest) had betrayed his trust, so Jacob added Joseph’s 2 sons as his own and blessed them with his blessing. It is interesting that now, at the end of his life, Jacob can see clearly in hindsight… all along, it was God’s blessing, not his own efforts, that prospered and protected him along the way – and that realization of blessing produced a gratefulness in his heart and an enlarged sense of purpose in his mind. So he passed on the blessing of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on to Ephraim and Manasseh.
NT: “Moving on from there, Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee. He went up on a mountain and sat there, and large crowds came to him, including the lame, the blind, the crippled, those unable to speak, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he healed them. So the crowd was amazed when they saw those unable to speak talking, the crippled restored, the lame walking, and the blind seeing, and they gave glory to the God of Israel. Jesus called his disciples and said, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they’ve already stayed with me three days and have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, otherwise they might collapse on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where could we get enough bread in this desolate place to feed such a crowd?” “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked them. “Seven,” they said, “and a few small fish.” After commanding the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. They collected the leftover pieces — seven large baskets full.” (Matthew 15:29-37 CSB)
First of all – the ministry endurance that Jesus walked in was astounding. For three days, He ministered to the crowds of people, and after 3 long days of ministry, He still had compassion for them. I’m not sure I would have any compassion for a crowd after dealing with their issues for three days straight. Nevertheless, He knew that they needed food. Instead of seeing the limitations of 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish – He thanked the Father for the provision that He did have. And through Jesus’ sincere gratitude, what He had was blessed and multiplied. The gospel of John says that Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing – so Jesus knew that the Father was going to feed the 4,000 plus people… and He was thankful that He wasn’t completely empty handed. The Father had something to work with. How often do I limit what God can do by the meager amount that I have instead of being thankful for the fact that I have something that God can bless and multiply.
Psalms: “Some take pride in chariots, and others in horses, but we take pride in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalms 20:7 CSB)
Horses and chariots are nice to have – but are not necessary in God’s economy of blessing and thanksgiving. Instead of placing our trust in things, we place our trust in the character of the Lord God.