A Gathering of Fathers

Jacob went over it again and again.  His grandparents, Abraham and Sara, were there.  His parents, Isaac and Rebekah, were there.  His wife, Leah, was there.  When he died, that is where he was to be taken and buried.

Genesis 35: 27 And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned.28 And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years.29 And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Genesis 49: 33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.

Genesis 50: 13 For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a burying place of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.14 And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.

Every passage is divinely inspired to direct us in our ways of life.  Jacob was along. Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin.  Leah died later near Hebron and was put to rest where his parents and grandparents were.  Now Jacob is directing his children what to do at his death.  Joseph was second in command in Egypt but still followed his father’s directions in this matter.

It was through the union with Leah and Jacob that Judah was born.  Through his line would come King David and eventually Jesus Christ.  Leah was also the mother of Levi.  Through his line would come a man named Moses who would deliver the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage.  Moses’ brother Aaron would head up the priesthood that would be fulfilled with Jesus Christ.  It was all coming together.

Jacob gave instructions to take his body where his grandfather Abraham and father Isaac were buried.  Each generation could look back and say they had a wonderful father who had an impact on their lives.  How we die is determined by how we live.  We’ll all die; will we be able to say “I’ve fought a good fight and kept the faith?”  Will we be able to say “I did right by my family?”  Will we say “I know I’m going to heaven?”  If you can’t leave that hope behind, you need to do something.  Our heavenly Father loved us enough to send his Son Jesus so we could be gathered to our family in heaven and to his side.

These men all had their trials.  They weren’t perfect.  None of us are, but through Jesus Christ we are forgiven.  Jacob had a time with his kids.  When it came down to the end they knew they had had a good daddy.  When the tomb was closed up on his body, their dad lived on in them.  Pharaoh granted Jacob’s family leave to go to Hebron and bury their father.  The family still had living to do.  We owe it to the God of our forefathers to carry on.  We owe it to them to carry the same Bible they did and keep on going to church as they did.  Years later Joseph would die and made them give him a promise.  Genesis 50:24-25 states Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.  Many years later, after the people of Israel were freed from the bondage of Egypt, Joshua 24:32 states and the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

God had given them all the land in Canaan.  Joseph wasn’t buried in Hebron with his father.  His mother Rachel was buried south of Jerusalem near Bethlehem.  That set a border.  Joseph was buried north of Jerusalem near Shechem.  Years later Jesus would meet a woman at the well there.  Why here?  These points were set and drove a stake in the ground; this land belongs to God’s people!  We can plant our stakes and follow God.  Our forefathers did.

One day there will be a gathering.  For now, let’s be what we should so that when the gathering takes place there will be no loss of any.  Be the kind of father, the kind of mother we should be.  Be the kind of Christian—all of us—so that when we pull our feet onto the bed the final time, the gathering will find us all home with the Lord.

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