Funerals cause you to stop and consider. Your own life, the life of the one who has passed, and those who knew the deceased as mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, grandma, grandpa, etc.
Many people have some indication when their end is drawing near and they have an opportunity to offer some words of wisdom that can inspire, or label, those they are leaving behind.
Jacob had a lot to say about his offspring, and though speaking a blessing over the next generations has waned in popularity, his words give insight into the personality of his sons as well as offering words of hope to some of them, and warnings to others.
“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,Genesis 48:15-16 ESV
the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day,
16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys;
and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
Ephraim and Manasseh were grouped together in a positive blessing, while their uncles often carried the brunt of Jacob’s judgment:
- Unstable as water
- Weapons of violence
- Cursed be their anger
And then Jacob died and left his kids to again sort out their relationship with one another. After all these years, Joseph’s brothers still feared the grudge that they assumed he kept in check merely for the sake of their dad.
They did not realize that Joseph had long ago forgiven them and even thanked God for using him to save a whole people group!
People love to say, “Life is too short to (or not to) . . .” and fill that in with a variety of meme-worthy phrases. As this transition from Genesis to Exodus wraps up the lives of Jacob and his sons and sets the stage for the birth of Moses, we can consider a few endings to that phrase that mesh with scripture, but the one that my thoughts linger on is, “Life is too short not to forgive.”
What legacy am I leaving behind? Have I set my kids up to fight for themselves well, or to forgive and bring peace? Is there a relationship that needs mending? Generations from now, will my descendants still fear God, as the midwives did in Egypt? What more can I do today to follow God and encourage my kids to do the same?
Father God, you have loved and made the expectation clear that we should love also. Let me not be content to simply bury an issue, but flood my relationships with peace and forgiveness that will pave the way for generational obedience to you. Thank you for Joseph’s example of seeing your bigger plan and being able to fully forgive his brothers for the unspeakable evil they had done against him. Help me to be consumed with your glory and never my own advancement or comfort. In Jesus name, amen.