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October 16 – Jacob’s blessing

“By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.” – Hebrews 11:21 

Scripture reading: Genesis 48:1-21

Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were Jacob’s grandsons. Nevertheless, Jacob blessed them as his own, thereby adopting them so that they would be as “Reuben and Simeon”. Jacob gave the greater blessing to Ephraim even though he was younger. This was because he would be greater than his brother.

This is just another example of the sovereign God carrying out the glorious plan of redemption. In Genesis 48, Jacob tells Joseph that he thought he would never see him again and now, lo and behold, he sees Joseph’s sons. By faith, Jacob spoke of things to come and this is the theme we see repeated in Hebrews 11. It is a looking back in order to look ahead.

The Christian concept of hope is foreign to the world around us. But to the child of God, it makes him able to live and die in the comfort of belonging to Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ, that great enemy of death has been defeated. By faith, Jacob could lean on the top of his staff at the very end of his life, as he was about to breathe his last and speak about what was to come. By faith, we can do the same when we look to the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a beautiful joy and peace when a believer dies. Though the pain is real and the tears may flow, Jesus has risen from the dead and so will we.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord for the privilege to live and die with peace and comfort. Ask God to give you strength to look back in order to hope for what is to come.

Rev. Steve Swets was born and raised in NW Indiana. He graduated from Mid America Reformed Seminary in 2007, and he is currently the minister at Redeemer United Reformed Church in St. John, Indiana. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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