Many individuals and families experience dysfunctionality from time to time, but few households can compare with the family of Jacob. With two wives, two concubines, a daughter, and an oversized quiver full of twelve sons, one who was singled out as his obvious favorite, there was bound be plenty of drama in the patriarch’s tent. Joseph, the son of Jacob’s beloved Rachel, was the apple of his father’s eye…much to the chagrin of his intensely jealous siblings who sought his demise.
Through the sacrificial ministry of the persecuted Joseph, a type of Yeshua, the world’s most dysfunctional family (in this author’s opinion) was eventually restored and consecrated for God’s glory (Gen 39-50). God pruned Joseph in order to produce abundant fruit in his life and in the lives of his separated brethren. In fact, Joseph’s prophetic name means “increase” or “addition.” Every adverse circumstance in his life was used by God to bring redemption to the descendants of Jacob, who eventually made it to Egypt through Joseph’s compassion, love, and generosity. What an amazing example of agape love!
Agape: ἀγάπη = “the unconditional love of God, the love between the Father and Son”
The lessons of repentance and forgiveness in the biblical narrative are both monumental and inspirational. Jacob’s renegade sons became as olive shoots around his table (Ps 128:3), bursting with fruitful potential through the mercy of God and their humble brother, Joseph. After a prolonged season of overwhelming grief and despair, God took the heartbroken Jacob from suffering to joy!
Amazingly, the lying, cheating, conniving sons of Jacob became the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Lord made them into a great nation just as He had promised Abraham and Isaac. God always keeps His word. He chose to honor the undeserving sons of Jacob because Grandfather Abraham exalted God when he willingly surrendered his son, Isaac, on an altar of sacrifice many years earlier (Gen 22). The Almighty even named the twelve gates of heaven after the sons of Jacob, and their names appeared on the breastplate of the high priest of Israel, who was also a prophetic type of Yeshua. What honor! What love! What mercy! What grace!
10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. Rev 21:10-12
Aaron [the high priest of Israel] shall carry the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment over his heart when he enters the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. Ex 28:29
High Priest (Hebrew): כהן גדול = kohen gadol
Now, take a look at the grievous sins on Jacob’s family tree, sins that hang like crude ornaments begging to be removed. According to the biblical account, Jacob and his family members were guilty of such grave offenses as: deception, fornication, adultery, manipulation, broken covenants, witchcraft, hatred, jealousy, prostitution, rape, lying, superstition, looting, plundering, favoritism, mixed marriage, and the list goes on and on. Removal of sin is exactly what God accomplished for this wayward family. Just imagine what He can do for your family if you give Him the opportunity!
*If you would like to learn more about Joseph’s trials and triumphs from the Hebraic perspective, check out my “Hot off the Press” Bible study/workbook, “Joseph and the Coat of Destiny – The Coveted Garment that Saved the Nations,” available from noreenjacks.com (156 pgs).
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