(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
The next hero listed in the Hall of Heroes is in Hebrews 11:21: “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.” This is an incident that has a twist! The full account is in Genesis chapter 48. Here is the shortened version of it in verses 9, 10, 13, 14, and 17 through 19:
Then Israel [Jacob – see Genesis 32:24-28] saw Joseph's sons, and said...“Please bring them to me, and I will bless them.” Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age ....And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near him. Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowing- ly, for Manasseh was the firstborn....Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim...he took hold of his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.” But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”
Yes, Jacob was inducted into the Hall of Heroes! And he stands tall in the hero lineage that brought forth our Lord Jesus Christ!
- Genesis 28:1, 3 and 4 – Jacob was the recipient of the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant!
Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him...“May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may be an assembly of peoples; and give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and your descendants with you; that you may inherit the land in which you are a stranger, which God gave to Abraham.”(See also Genesis 5: 10-12).
- He was genuinely converted! Fleeing from his twin brother Esau, he spent the night in the wilderness of Luz. He had a dream in which he saw “…a ladder…set up on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and…the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:12). After hearing the LORD telling him he was the recipient of the Abrahamic covenant (see above), he awoke…
Genesis 28:17 and 19:
And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” ...And he called the name of that place Bethel....
Genesis 35:1, 6 and 7:
Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there....” So Jacob came to...Bethel ..., he and all the people who were with him. And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel.... ✡ Bethel means “the house of God.” ✡ El Bethel means “The God of the house of God”!
It is one thing to recognize “the house of God.” That’s like joining a church and thinking that makes you a Christian! But knowing the God of “the house of God” is another matter entirely! Today, we only know the Father by opening our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ. And that is what makes one a Christian! And that is true conversion!
- Genesis 32:24 through 28 – Jacob’s conversion also involved a very significant name change, from Jacob to Israel !
...a Man [thought to be the preincarnate Christ] wrestled with him until the breaking of day....and [the Man]...said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he [Jacob] said, I will not let you go unless You bless me.” So [the Man]...said... “What is your name?” And he said “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
✡ Jacob means “heal catcher (that is, supplanter)
...” (Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary). “Supplanter,”
according to Dictionary.com means, “...someone
or something taking the place of another, as
through force, scheming, strategy, or the like
....” Jacob was a – deceiver, a liar, and a ma-
✡ Israel means “...he will rule as God...” (Ibid.)
A change surely had to take place in his life be-
fore God could so use him to rule!
- Genesis 35:22 through 26 – He fathered the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel: “Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: …Reuben…Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar… Zebulun…Joseph…Benjamin…Dan…Naphtali…Gad and Asher.”
Today his descendants number in the millions!
But talk about feet of clay (his shortcomings and failings)! Jacob had extra-large sized feet!
- Genesis 25:29-34 – Jacob connived to get Esau’s firstborn birthright!
Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field...weary. And Esau said...“Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright...” And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” ...So he...sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
- Genesis 27:1 through 41 – It is much too long of a Scripture to place here, but it is a familiar Old Testament story of how Jacob deceived his father Isaac into giving him the blessing usually reserved for the firstborn. Thus he stole Esau’s blessing!
Verses 35 and 36 – “...[Isaac] said, ‘Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing.’ And Esau said, ‘Is he not rightly called Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing.’”
- Genesis 30:25 through 43 – This is also too long of a passage to replicate here. But, again, Jacob connived to cheat his uncle Laban out of his flocks of sheep over which Jacob had care. The result of such manipulation is highlighted in verses 42 and 43: “…so the feeble [of the flocks] were Laban’s and the stronger Jacob’s. Thus the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels, and donkeys.”
- Genesis 37:3 and 4 – Jacob showed great partiality to one son of his twelve! Thus he fostered jealousy and division among his family!
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peace- ably to him.
The brothers’ hatred of Joseph led to kidnaping, human trafficking, almost murder, and coverup!
Wow! God had a lot to overcome in the life of this hero of the faith! But doesn’t He have a lot of work to do in us also? Remember that the LORD has a goal for you and me, His children; He wants us to become more and more like Jesus!
- Romans 8:29 – “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
- I Corinthians 15:49 – “…as we have born the image of the man of dust [our sinful adamic nature], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man [Jesus Christ].”
- II Corinthians 3:18 – “But we all…beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into that same image [of Jesus Christ] from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
- Ephesians 4:15 (English Standard Version) – “…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ….”
- Colossians 3:10 – “…put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”
- I John 3:2 and 3 – “Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
- I John 4:17 – “…as He is, so are we in this world.”
But if God can work His miraculous transformation in the likes of Jacob, and make him into Israel…
…surely He can transform and use you and me
for His glory!