Both Jacob and Joseph die in these chapters. Both men lived lives packed with adventure, hardship, mistakes, and victories. Both ended life demonstrating faith in God. I think they are one of the most famous father/son duos in Scripture. In fact, a fourth of the book of Genesis is dedicated to their story.
But one day Jacob breathed his last. Years later Joseph also. And their families remained blessed because of the them. I read what Jacob said to his sons before he died, and it got me wondering…
What is it I want my loved ones to know, what is it I pray for them as they live this life, as they grow, and as they continue to navigate this world when I am gone? I’ve thought about this, and this is what I want to say to the dear ones in my life:
“May you first and foremost invite Jesus to save you, to forgive your sins and become your Savior. He died to do that very thing. Please humble yourselves and accept His grace if you haven’t done that already.
“May you go with God. Notice I didn’t say “May God go with you,” because if you are His child, that is a given. My prayer is that you will choose God every day. May you love His Word, read it every day, memorize it, and use it as a plumb line for all that is True. May you include God in every detail of your life, knowing He is interested in every one of those details and wants what is best for you. And may you know the blessed peace that comes from that intentional relationship with the One who loves you and gave Himself for you.
“May you enjoy health, and financial independence, have a roof over your head and food on your table, so that you can serve God as a fit soldier in His army. You will have battles to fight. There are wars that will need to be won. The fight for Truth is heating up even now. Remember God is a loving God, AND a fierce judge. Please do not allow the lines to blurr. Face the enemy with confidence as one who understands the seriousness of the fight, and knows he is on the winning side.
“May your children follow in your footsteps. May they come to know Jesus as their Savior as soon as they understand what sin is, and their need for forgiveness. Teach them while they are young to recognize sin, to apologize for wrong-doing, to understand discipline, to fear consequences, and then to experience what it means to be forgiven. Please raise those precious ones to go to heaven, not hell.
“May God grant you wisdom, discernment, courage. May your heart be broken in the face of your own pride, selfishness, apathy, or sin of any kind, and may you be quick to go to your Savior, confess and repent. Protect your relationship with God, guard your heart, stand for the Truth that Jesus is the only way to the Father.
“May God bless you with a long life to serve Him. May you enjoy health so that you are able to do the things He asks. May your children call you blessed, and want for themselves what they see in you. And may all those with whom you have contact, see Jesus in all you do and say.
“Love God. Love His Word. Lead hurting people to His saving grace. Then when this life is over, let’s stand shoulder to shoulder before our Lord and praise Him forever. I’ll be waiting for you.”
Now in case you’re wondering. I don’t think I’m dying. I had my annual checkup last week and the only thing my doctor had to say was, “Eat less.” (Funny guy) But none of us are guaranteed tomorrow, are we? What is it you want your loved ones to know when you’re gone? Maybe it’s time they knew.