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The Pastor's Blog

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As he concluded the Book of Genesis, Moses recorded the deathbed blessings bestowed by Jacob upon his twelve sons. According to the customs of that day, the dying old patriarch called the names of his sons, and one-by-one, he bequeathed them with prophetic words.


Jacob’s blessing to Joseph, the reigning prime minister of Egypt, was the most lengthy.

Rather poetically, the father blessed his favored son with “blessings of the heavens above,

blessings of the deep that lies below, and blessings of the breasts and the womb” (Genesis 49:25).


Most interestingly, Jacob blessed Joseph using five different names of God; “the Mighty One of Jacob … the Shepherd … the Rock of Israel … the God of your father … the Almighty” (Genesis 49:24-25).


Let’s consider the first of those dynamic names: “the Mighty One of Jacob.”


The Hebrew word translated “Mighty” appears only six times in the Old Testament Scriptures, and always in reference to Jacob’s God. It is used twice in the Psalms: “the Mighty One of Jacob” (Psalm 132:2) and again, “the Mighty One of Jacob” (Psalm 132:5). The same word is employed by Isaiah. The Prophet writes of “The Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel” (Isaiah 1:24), the “Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 49:26), and the “Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 60:16).


Another word also translated “mighty” appears in the Old Testament more than one-hundred fifty times. For example: “unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, NKJV). In this familiar passage, the Hebrew word for “mighty” is different than “mighty” in Genesis 49.


So, what is the significance of the “Mighty God of Jacob”?


Jacob’s God was mighty in mercy!


Abraham is best known for his faith. Isaac is remembered for his sacrifice on Moriah. And Jacob was the younger brother who connived and conspired to steal his older brother’s blessing and birthright. His name meant supplanter or cheater. As a father, he loved his eleventh son to the detriment of the older ten. When his ten sons sold Joseph into slavery and reported that he’d been killed, Jacob became bitter and brooding.


Frankly, Jacob clearly prefigures and foreshadows each of us. He was sinful and selfish. Like us, he’s the last in line to deserve God’s favor. If I’d been God, I would’ve zapped him. But the “Mighty God of Jacob” didn’t. No.


Even in the face of Jacob’s consistent faults and failures, Jehovah was merciful and gracious. He even gave Jacob a new name: Israel. This new name replaced “cheater” with “God prevails!” He prevails as “the Mighty God of Jacob”, mighty in mercy.




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