Misplaced desires result from a lack of direction: "Where there is no vision, the people perish" Proverbs says. We must have goals, we must be guided by something (or Someone) greater than ourselves. As genuine descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob our destiny is secured by the promises of God. In the Spirit we are fully capable of embracing and benefiting from these promises, but only by faith. Be inspired by the example of our faithful ancestors and seek a similiar vision. May we strive to live up to our Father's expectations as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people."
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
One of our main challenges as Israelites is overcoming a lack of vision. We've been programmed to be selfish and have personal agendas. Yet we must align our hearts with the promises of God if we intend on making a greater impact. In the unseen realm of faith, God's promises control our fate. The Spirit within can provide the vision which will carry us to the very end. Again:
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
Here's what the Apostle Paul is referring to, first with Jacob:
28 Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: 29 Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.
Everything about this blessing was related God's promises. During this time, wealth and prosperity were measured in laborers, lands, and livestock. Yet it wasn't just about Isaac handing down his wealth for his son to carry on some rich, elaborate lifestyle. It was about handing down the resources for him and his family to most effectively carry out a faithful lifestyle centered on the promises of God. Then to Esau:
39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; 40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.
Though Isaac wanted to bless Esau, everything Isaac referred to concerned "things to come" in the unseen realm of faith. Though he heard a voice, felt the goat skins, smelled the clothing, and tasted the meat, Isaac's "eyes were dim, so that he could not see." To magnify the power that faith plays in God's promises, God had Isaac bless Jacob (not Esau) with dominion, blessings, and wealth- against his own will.
Little did Isaac know but he was exhibiting how even indirect, spiritual vision can supercede our physical senses as he blessed Jacob, though none of it was intended for Jacob at all. God's Spirit within Isaac knew better than Isaac. Though it did not go the way Isaac wanted, it went exactly the way God intended.
This resulted from Yahweh directing Rebekah into playing a significant role as she orchestrated the whole scenario, based on the promise God gave to her that "the elder shall serve the younger." Rebekah was just as much Esau's mother as she was Jacob's. Yet Rebekah acted upon her deep desire for Jacob to receive the blessing since she recognized it as a significant part of God's promise coming to pass.
Proverbs 13:12 says, "...when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." We recognize that good "things" come to those who wait in the unseen realm. Spiritual vision directs your faith and fuels your desire for those "things to come." This is the same as the "things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" which we saw at the very beginning of Hebrews chapter 11. Spiritual vision (based on God's promises) leads us to such "things." How does it work? We are always ready to act on our faith. Jacob at the behest of his mother acted even upon her faith.
God had nothing for unfaithful Esau. Of course we know the story of Esau selling his birthright and here Jacob providentally ended up with the blessing as well. Later on, Jacob's faith would be proven to be quite strong as he clung to the Angel of God until he was blessed.
For far too long whites have based our lives on the world economy, while the Spirit is only about THE WORD economy! In the unseen realm God sets our minds on His promises and what He has in store for us. If we remain loyal to Him, we may find the decision has already been made for the better. SPIRITUAL VISION IS GREATER THAN ALL OUR SENSES WITH THE POWER TO OVERRIDE OUR FLESH. All we must do is wait for those "things to come" to pass.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
What's on most people's minds when they know they're close to death? Their family, being close to them, handing down what God has blessed them with. God had always taken care of Jacob. All he wanted was for them to continue to have what they needed to live faithful lives under God. Spiritual vision never produces selfishness or greed, it's all about your family in relation to God, even in the final hours.
Jacob felt it was time to give his blessing. Like his father Isaac, Jacob's "eyes...were dim for age, so that he could not see." Yet Jacob had the spiritual vision of what to keep and let go of, when it came to following his father's example in this. Rather than sticking with tradition, Jacob "worshipped" God in the unseen realm. "By faith" Jacob recognized it was more pleasing to God to bless Joseph's sons, while still giving the younger of the two the greater blessing. Jacob skipped an entire generation of twelve sons, to bless his grandsons. Jacob was extending his faith as far out into the future as it could go. As a result, Joseph came to see God was in every aspect of the way his father conducted himself in this blessing (Genesis 48:8-22).
Jacob's spiritual vision guided him to pass over even Joseph whom he loved so much, knowing exactly who God wanted him to bless. Jacob had spent many years with a broken heart over Joseph's disappearance. Yet now in his final days, God brought Jacob's life full circle as Joseph and his sons stood before him. The hope he had in Joseph would be more fully realized thru blessing his sons.
Now, what is so significant about Jacob "leaning upon the top of his staff"? When the Angel could not prevail against him, Genesis chapter 32 says the Angel "touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint." Yet Jacob still hung on until God blessed him. This time however, God had ahold of Jacob and Jacob would be the one providing the blessing.
When Jacob was "leaning upon the top of his staff" due to the weakness of his hip, it reminded him of the strength of his faith. Standing before him now were the children of the son he had long felt was gone. Jacob's desire now was for God's blessing he'd received while hanging onto the Angel, to extend as far as it could go as he blessed his grandsons.
28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
JACOB'S ABILITY TO SUSTAIN HIS GRIP ON THE ANGEL, IDENTIFIES THE POWER WE HAVE WITH GOD- OUR FAITH We must never let go of God when it comes to fulfilling our spiritual vision. If God has given you the faith to trust him, don't let go! Faith is the guiding intuition of the Spirit, pointing us to good things to come, though we have no idea how the actual outcome will come about. But Someone inside just tells us of the moment which our whole life has led to, for God's ultimate glory.
27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
If you're an Israelite who loves God this absolutely applies to you! Here's a key to spiritual vision: in every situation, always know that God wants what's best for your life. Jacob now realized that behind the scenes, God was always directing everything that was best for him. Through everything he'd experienced with Esau and his father in law Laban, God had now brought Jacob face to face with his greatest desire- to be able to bless Joseph's sons. Jacob would not be denied the blessing he wanted from God; he had prevailed by faith with God and was now reaping the fruits of it.
At the time he wrestled the Angel, Jacob thought his greatest desire was for deliverance from his jealous, vengeful brother. Yet as we see here, his faith prevailed with God far beyond his immediate need and circumstances. To have the vision our father Jacob had, is something for all sons and daughters of Israel to strive for. It all came down to him not letting go of something he wanted from God.
As he leaned upon his staff, Jacob must've recalled the dream Joseph told them of, so long before:
9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? 11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
God gave Joseph spiritual vision which would guide his family into the future. Joseph's dream was actually a prophecy relating to God's promises. God didn't reveal the whole picture, only that which suited His purpose. For the dream contained just enough information to provide the direction they needed. By giving them this one detail, that they all would one day bow before Joseph, God was shifting everything into motion.
Though he did not initially appreciate Joseph's dream, it was etched within Jacob's mind, placing even more hope in his already favorite son. Yet Joseph's brethren despised him even more, fueling their desire to get him out of the way. All of this was necessary to put God's perfect plan into action. God in his wisdom masterfully directed their conflicting desires triggered by this simple dream, which resulted in their own preservation. The sole purpose being to keep His promises.
Little did they know what they'd have to go thru to see this dream come true. Yet now, Jacob's once thought-to-be-dead son Joseph now stood before him with two sons. Jacob realized even more how much God blessed his loyalty to the unseen realm. God loved him far more than he ever imagined. The outcome of Jacob's faith was much greater than what he could have ever asked or hoped for.
Recognize how much God is working behind the scenes in your life. The only way we can reach His perfect destination is to take hold of God by faith, and never let go.
22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
Let's trace everything back as much as we can on Joseph's "bones". Here are the actual accounts:
23 And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph's knees. 24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. 26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
Joseph had a challenging yet fulfilling life, and a great family. It is clear all Joseph wanted was for his bones to be a testimony and memorial of how God would keep his promise. Which promise was that? To take Israel thru Egypt to the Promised Land, just as God promised Abram, the night He swore the oath to him:
12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
This is what Joseph's bones represented and brought continuity to. Centuries later, we see Moses carrying the bones of Joseph out of Egypt:
17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: 18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. 19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash. 31 And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel. 32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.
It appears the intent of his bones had the desired effect of Joseph in encouraging faith and vision to future generations of Israelites. Joseph knew Israel would depart from Egypt one day because he believed the promise God gave Abraham to that effect.
Only Israelites can possess the spiritual vision to hold their faith in the promises of God because the promises only pertain to them. The foundation of the unseen realm of faith is the promises of God made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all his descendants, which Christ and the Apostles reiterated in the New Testament as well. Joseph's faith was greatly rewarded both in this life and even after his death by his bones. In addition, his sons were given an even greater blessing from their grandfather than what Joseph himself could have ever given them, though he was second in command in Egypt.
We must seek clearer spiritual vision for the sake of our people's future deliverance. Joseph gave his whole life to the preservation of his people as well as his bones. We must look beyond this life, beyond our present circumstances, and believe God's promises. We must do everything we can to inspire and encourage our brethren. Joseph wanted even his bones to give his people hope, and they did.
Investing your all in the unseen realm of faith gives you spiritual vision as to how your life fits in the plan and fulfillment of the promises of God. Yet Israelites today have something far greater than the bones of Joseph for inspiration- THE EMPTY TOMB OF OUR PROMISED- RESURRECTED MESSIAH! Like our ancestors carried the bones of Joseph to the end, as shall we carry the Gospel of Christ's resurrection!
We are eternal, spiritual beings touched and guided by destiny. Here we are reminded how God controls every circumstance beforehand even by giving us the desires of our heart. Faith is powerful, overriding our thoughts and even our will. As Israelites, let us assume our responsibility as stewards of God's promises. A good steward knows it all belongs to God and that God will give you as much as you will use for His glory. For those who live by faith, there is always something good just over the horizon.