STUDY Hebrews 11:20-22
(click here for notes)
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. (NIV)
1. What do Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph have in common at the point they pronounced these blessings and instructions? (see Genesis 27:1, 7; Genesis 47:29; Genesis 50:25)
2. What can we deduce about these men's lives from the above fact?
God's Sovereign Choice
3. What circumstances between two brothers, Jacob and Esau, is reminiscent of those between Ishmael and Isaac and also between Cain and Abel? (see Genesis 25:21-24; Genesis 17:17-22; 21:11-13)
4. What qualified Abel, Isaac and Jacob to supercede Cain, Ishmael and Esau? (see Genesis 4:4; Genesis 25:23a, 24b; Genesis 17:18-19)
5. Which of Joseph's sons did Jacob bless as "he leaned on the top of his staff"? (see Genesis 48:5)
6. How did Jacob's blessing set these two brothers apart from the rest of their siblings? (Genesis 48:5-6)
7. What were the implications and the result of their receiving Jacob's special blessing? (see Numbers 13:8, 11; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2)
8. How did Jacob's blessing of Manneseh and Ephraim echo the circumstances of the pairs of brothers named above? (see Genesis 48: 8-20; Hosea 13:1)
9. What fact of Ephraim's and Manneseh's birth set them apart for Jacob's blessing? (see Genesis 48:5)
10. Why was their birth in Egypt prophetically significant? (see Exodus 14:16; Hosea 11:1, 3; Matthew 2:13-15)
11. What spiritual significance do these stories of younger brothers being chosen over older brothers have? (see 1 Corinthians 15:45-49; 21-22)
12. Who are God's two spiritual "children"? (see Matthew 10:6; 15:24; Ephesians 3:10-11)
13. How do these stories shed light on the mystery of salvation as it has worked out between these two "children"? (Romans 10:21-11:2a; 25, 28-32; 16:25-26; Ephesians 1:9-10; 3:6, 10-11; Colossians 1;18; 2:11-12)
14. What is the "birthright" that God's chosen "second child" receives? (see Colossians 1:19-23; 2:9-15; John 14:16-17; 15:26; 17:20-26; Galatians 5:1, 16; Ephesians 1:13)
15. After Jacob died, how did Joseph react to his brothers' fear of his revenge for their early treachery to him? (Genesis 50:15-21)
16. Joseph lived a long and respected life as an Egyptian official and was given an official Egyptian burial. (see Gen. 50:26).Why do you think Joseph made a point to prophecy Israel's eventual deliverance from Egypt and to specifically request they take his bones with them when the nation would eventually leave?
17. How have you experienced God's sovereign choice in your life?
18. What unfairness have you experienced that God has turned into an eventual blessing?
19. What is the "Egypt" in your life, the otherwise hostile place or circumstances in which Satan intended to harm you (see Gen. 50:20), but God "intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done"?
20. What suffering or intractable situation are you experiencing in your life which you need to release to God, asking him to protect you and to reveal his saving purpose for you?
21. What is the issue(s) in your life right now in which you struggle with faith?
22. What part of your natural self-your ego, your being "in charge", your restlessness, your lack of contentment, or criticalness, etc.-is God asking you to submit to him?
23. Ask God to teach you to rest in his will. Ask him to show you what he wants you to do, and ask him to be present in the drudgery and disappointment and monotony of your daily life. Ask God to transform your heart with his love and with his vision and to give you faith when life seems to bring you harm. Ask God to teach you to surrender to his will and to live in the transformation brought by his love and peace.
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