Used by permission
In my opinion one of the most important books in scripture generally, and in the Torah in particular, is Genesis. This book constitutes the foundations of everything that Elohim will build upon throughout the history of humanity, which is His-story.
The Torah portions for the last number of weeks have been about the everlasting/eternal covenant that YHVH made with the forefathers. Included within the context of YHVH’s covenant are a nation (goy), a people (am), a land, and a plan. What makes this covenant eternal? Obviously, it is the Word of Elohim, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has bonded Himself to the life of these three men and to their seed/descendants. YHVH is committed and has sworn by His own name to fulfill every aspect of His covenants and promises to His family, His inheritance Jacob/Israel.
The target of this story, is the “people”. The general word in Hebrew is “am”, like in Am Yisrael – the people of Israel. Today when we think of YHVH’s covenanted people, the Jews come to mind. But those of us who have had our eyes open to the history of the house of Jacob and their prophetic calling of becoming a multitude of nations, know that it is not only the Jews who have been covenanted. Already when looking back at the inception of this people, there are noticeable hints of their future fulfillment. Take for example the blessings that Israel bestowed upon Joseph’s two sons. In Genesis 48 Israel lays his right hand on Ephraim’s head and his left on Menashe’s. Joseph complains about the positioning and reminds his father that Menashe is the first born. Israel then says to Joseph: “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people (am), and he also shall be great” (verse 19). Please note (again) the Hebrew word for “people” is “am”. After Israel places his hands on the lads’ heads he imparts his name “Israel” to Joseph and to the boys, so that this name would live on in them (verse 16). Does this mean that they are the only ones that would carry this name in the family? No, Jacob was called a nation – “goy” – in the womb of his mother. Thus, the entire people of Jacob inherited the name “Israel”, as seen in many places but none more blatantly as in Isaiah 8:14, where reference is made to the “two houses of Israel” (according to the Hebrew). As we know, the house was partitioned, splitting into two, with different prophetic aspects attached to each of their respective destinies.
The blessing given to Menashe, which means “forgetfulness”, signals that the future of all the people of the house of Joseph/Israel (lost tribes) would be great, albeit deprived of the knowledge of their identity as “am” Israel. Immediately after he blessed Menashe, Jacob/Israel tells Ephraim that he “will become the fullness of the nations (goyim)”. As with the case of Menashe (regarding a ‘forgetful great people’), this word too would become applicable to the rest of the tribes who will be attached to Ephraim.
Later on in the history of the house of Joseph/Israel, the people defiled themselves and their land, and hence YHVH declared that they would become “not my people (lo-ami)”. Yet this prophesied condition of rejection on YHVH’s part was to last only until YHVH would complete sowing their seed into all nations, with a pre-determined “fullness”.
When we view the thousands of years of YHVH’s faithfulness in scattering/sowing and overseeing the seed of Israel, we must confess that these years were (and still are) full of sorrow, just as it is expressed in Psalm 126:5-6 about: “Those who sow in tears…” but who “shall reap with joyful shouting”. The psalm continues and reiterates: “He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him”. Here we see that it is at the time of harvest that the sorrow will turn to joy.
Most of the history of YHVH’s people can testify to the truth of these words, as generation after generation, along with the rest of humanity, have suffered under the tyranny of sin. Even though sin had the upper hand, man continued to reproduce, especially the people of Israel to the point of nearing the quota of the “fullness of the nations”. The question that always arises is, when will this cycle of sorrow end and the joy of reaping begin? Obviously when the field (earth) will be full of ripe grain… according to YHVH’s seasons.