1Peter 1:3-9; 2:11-17
He Lived? He Sure Did.
The Torah portion begins with the words “He lived in the land of Egypt.” I see these words revealing to us that in Egypt the life of Jacob finally made sense to Jacob. During his seventeen years he could look back over the trials and tribulations he had experienced and see that with every step he took the Elohim of his father and his grandfather had been right there with him. Though Psalm 121 had not been written yet, Jacob had lived it’s words.
The final task of Jacob’s life is to speak into his son’s lives. Some have said he was blessing his sons, but some of these words are not blessings. It would be better said that Jacob was speaking prophecy into each of them. We see this in 49:1 when he tells them the words he speaks will come upon them in the Last Days. That being said, it should make us desire to take a long hard look at his words.
What I would like to key into this week is in 49:2. Jacob, now Israel, uses both his names here. He calls his sons ‘sons of Jacob,’ but refers to himself as ‘Israel.’ Why? Simply put, they are not living like Israel yet. Though by all outward appearance they are united as a family they are far from the true meaning of being echad (one.)
To understand this thought fully, lets look at an idea concerning the word Israel. The name Israel means ‘Elohim prevails.’ We could look at it as Elohim has become the center of Israel’s life. Lets go a step further. The first three letters of the word Israel are, in Hebrew, yod, shin, and resh. In ancient Hebrew, the letter yod was a picture of a hand. Now if we take the yod from the front of the word and place it in the center of the word, we now have shin, yod, and resh, which makes the word shiyr (pronounced ‘sheer’) and means ‘song.’ So when the hand of Elohim is in the center of the life of Israel, he becomes the song of Elohim.
What did it take to make a Jacob into an Israel who could become the song of Elohim? Trials and tribulation. In the life of Jacob these trials and tribulations had names like Esau and Laban, not to mention what he went through with his own family. Now he was in Egypt, but the last days of his life would be his song unto the One who had become the center of his life.
As a new Gregorian year is upon us, I make no predictions of what this year may bring. It does however appear that a few trials and tribulations may be in store. No matter what happens, the principles of the life that turned a Jacob into an Israel can once again be played out. This time it will not be for a single man, but rather for a people called The House of Jacob, The House of Israel. So as we begin this year may we always be conscious of where the ‘Yod’ is in our lives. For the same yod which leads Israel is the yod which desires to be in the center of Israel. Maybe this is the idea David was bringing forth when in Psalm 22:3 he said, “Elohim is enthroned on the praises of Israel.” When Israel makes Elohim the center of its life, He makes Israel the center of His life. And it is only when that happens that the House of Jacob is transformed into the House of Israel. (Click to Article)