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Let Your Eyes Look Straight Ahead, Fix Your Gaze Directly Before You

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GENESIS 48:1-49:33 | MATTHEW 15:29-16:12 | PSALM 20:1-9 | PROVERBS 4:20-27

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An afterword on Jacob’s death:  When it is time for Jacob to breathe his last, he summons all his sons (I wonder where Dinah went to…) and gives each of them an individual blessing.  He also takes care to especially bless Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and yet Jacob’s choicest blessing goes to the younger one, Ephraim.  It seems that history and destiny favors the younger one for the third generation straight!

Jacob and his older brother Esau got their father Isaac’s blessing in reverse order, where Jacob received the choicest blessing despite being the second-born of the twins.  In the next generation, Joseph, being the youngest of his ten brothers was favored by his father Israel from the very beginning, and at this last moment, Jacob gives his choicest blessing to Joseph.  And we now see a pattern where this upside-down-order repeats itself yet one more time with Joseph’s two sons.  Jacob gives the younger one Ephraim the bigger blessing than his brother Manasseh.

All this might very well go down as yet another mystery in the greater scheme of things, and yet, one can’t help but be reminded of Jesus’ words about the first being last, and the last being first.

Turning next to Matthew, the account of Jesus’ ministry continues. 

The healing, teaching, and preaching continues, as does the miraculous feeding of the multitudes.  Out of the smallest portions of food, there is enough for all to eat.  And yet the learned men and priestly folk of the day continue to ask for a heavenly sign.  But Jesus seems tired of this constant cry when he is actually providing signs every day– in healing the sick and the blind and lame, and even the dead! 

And so, he says to them: “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”

Next, we turn to the Psalms, and find David the Psalmist, offers up a beautiful psalm of blessing and praise:  a blessing to those it is read to; a praise always to God.  He says:

7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

Finally, the verses in Proverbs are worthy of being repeated here in their entirety:

My son, pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
24 Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead,
   fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.
27 Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.  Amen.

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