And he blessed Joseph, and said: “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” (Genesis 48:15-16)
As far as the Biblical record goes, this is the first of laying hands on someone in act of blessing. In Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh, he acknowledged that God had been his shepherd for “all my life” — that would suggest even from the womb. While he was still in the womb, Esau’s heel was poised to strike Jacob on the head, but he was protected. God appeared to him and promised to protect him when he had laid his head down to rest at Bethel. God was with him while Laban schemed against him and then delivered him from Esau when he returned to the land. Most recently, He had sustained him in a time of famine and restored him to his lost son. God had indeed been His shepherd.
Having the benefit of being able to look at Jacob’s life from our perspective, it is obvious that God guided the man from womb to tomb. It is comforting, then, to know that not only did He shepherd the man, Israel, but will guide all of His people in the same manner. In other words, He is our Shepherd, too.
“Know that the LORD, he is God! It is He who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3)
“Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:4)
Being the Good Shepherd that He is, our Father knows what we need and when we need it. He know how to deliver us from our enemies and protect us from all harm. We may have to journey through dangerous times and territory but nothing touches us that our Father doesn’t already know about. Equally important to remember is the fact that, as His sheep, we are to recognize His Voice. In these difficult and trying days, it is imperative that we are able to filter out all the other voices that wish to clog our mind with all the chatter. Let us listen for the still, calm voice of our Shepherd as He leads us to where He wants us to be.
Blessings and Shalom,