Scripture: Genesis 48 and 49, selected verses
We find ourselves at the conclusion of our series on Joseph: When Dreams Come True. Genesis is about beginnings, but on Sunday we’ll be looking at endings—the twilight of Jacob’s life. I love how Rabbi Hertz summed it up nearly a century ago, “We behold this storm-tossed soul on his death-bed, blessing his children. He is not afraid to die: ‘I will sleep with my fathers,’ he says. He is at peace with God, ‘I wait for Thy salvation O Lord,’ are among the last words he utters. He knows that he can never travel beyond God’s care. He is at peace with man.” Jacob shows us how to live well and how to die well, and his parting words are filled with blessing, gratitude, and hope. Jacob was by no means perfect, but he “possesses the rare art of extracting good from every buffeting of Destiny. He errs and he stumbles, but he ever rises again, and on the anvil of affliction his soul is forged.” We have much to learn from this unforgettable Bible hero and his family.
October 1, 2023 — World Communion Sunday
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Bible Study Questions —
Genesis 48 and 49, selected verses (NRSVue)
- When people have been asked near the end of their lives what they wish they did more of, the most common response is “spend more time with family and friends.” Why is this the most important thing?
- Jacob tells his story to his son Joseph on his deathbed in 48:3-4. Even though he has seen much struggle and heartache over his life, he remains hopeful. Where do you see hope in these verses?
- Blessings were extremely important to Jacob throughout his life. Why do you think that is? What do you think a blessing is?
- Jacob adopts his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh as his sons, making them two of the twelve tribes of Israel. Why do you think Jacob crossed his hands and blessed the younger over the older? Why is this a major theme in Genesis?
- How does Jacob show us how to live well? How does he show us how to die well?
- The early Christians and also Stoics spent time reflecting on their death while they were living (called momento mori). How might this practice help us die well when our time comes?
Other Sermons In This Series
October 01, 2022
August 20, 2023
September 24, 2023