“Grandpa Liked You Best!”

This week’s Scripture: Genesis 48

A youthful memory I have is of the groundbreaking television variety show hosted by the Smothers Brothers. PBS has done an interesting biopic on the method with which Tom and Dick Smothers used their variety show to infuse social commentary into the evening programming. During the turbulent 60’s and 70’s, they offered many cutting edge messages to their skits. The genius of the method was from Dick Smothers, the one normally known as the goofball of the duo. Since Dick lives here nearby, I often see him at local grocery stores, the car wash or just out playing golf. Whenever I see him I always remember him throwing out the famous punchline; “Mom always loved you best!”

In our story of Joseph, chapter 48 summarizes the last few days of his father, Jacob’s, life. It recounts the moments when grandpa Israel (Jacob) meets his grandkids, Ephraim and Manasseh. During the blessing of the two boys, Jacob gets the boys mixed up and affords the firstborn blessing to the wrong boy. Joseph tries to correct him but Jacob won’t hear of it. He continues to steadfastly use his patriarchal authority to bless the one he wishes.

Stuart Briscoe’s commentary is insightful as he suggests that even Joseph, the grand Vizier of the might nation of Egypt, must bow down to the cantankerous moodiness of his own elderly father. Perhaps, too, there’s a bit of irony to be found in the way in which Joseph must now handle the prospect of the younger being blessed ahead of the older. Something which Joseph was a bit naive about in his youth (remember the coat of many colors?)

In any event, there’s plenty of blessing to go around and the lives of Ephraim and Manasseh have been properly prepared by their righteous and wise father to carry on their role in the world. It’s also one of the privileges of infusing our stewardship into a younger generation. When we make the effort to pass on not only our material legacy but also the fiber of our convictions for good, we see a rich blessing added to the cloth of our own coats.

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