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An Attitude of Worship

Hebrews 11:21 KJV

[21] By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

This did not take place in immediate connection with the foregoing, but before it, when Jacob made Joseph swear that he would bury him with his fathers in Canaan, not in Egypt. The assurance that Joseph would do so filled him with pious gratitude to God, which he expressed by raising himself on his bed to an attitude of worship. His faith, as Joseph's (Heb 11:22), consisted in his so confidentially anticipating the fulfilment of God's promise of Canaan to his descendants, as to desire to be buried there as his proper possession.


In Gen. 47:31, Hebrew and English Version, "upon the bed's head." The Septuagint translates as Paul here. Jerome justly reprobates the notion of modern Rome, that Jacob worshipped the top of Joseph's staff, having on it an image of Joseph's power, to which Jacob bowed in recognition of the future sovereignty of his son's tribe, the father bowing to the son!

The Hebrew, as translated in English Version, sets it aside: the bed is alluded to afterwards (Ge 48:2; 49:33), and it is likely that Jacob turned himself in his bed so as to have his face toward the pillow, Isa 38:2 (there were no bedsteads in the East). Paul by adopting the Septuagint version, brings out, under the Spirit, an additional fact, namely, that the aged patriarch used his own (not Joseph's) staff to lean on in worshipping on his bed. The staff, too, was the emblem of his pilgrim state here on his way to his heavenly city (Heb 11:13, 14), wherein God had so wonderfully supported him. Ge 32:10, "With my staff I passed over Jordan, and now I am become," &c. (compare Ex 12:11; Mr 6:8). In 1Ki 1:47, the same thing is said of David's "bowing on his bed," an act of adoring thanksgiving to God for God's favor to his son before death. He omits the more leading blessing of the twelve sons of Jacob; because "he plucks only the flowers which stand by his way, and leaves the whole meadow full to his readers" [Delitzsch in Alford].

-Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary (Public Domain)


“The worship to which we are called in our renewed state is far too important to be left to personal preferences, to whims, or to marketing strategies. It is the pleasing of God that is at the heart of worship. Therefore, our worship must be informed at every point by the Word of God as we seek God’s own instructions for worship that is pleasing to Him.”R.C. Sproul

Only one life to offer Jesus my Lord and King Only one tongue to praise Thee And of Thy mercy sing (forever) Only one heart's devotion Savior O may it be consecrated Alone to Thy matchless glory Yielded fully to Thee

Only this hour is mine Lord May it be used for Thee May ev'ry passing moment Count for eternity (my Savior) Souls all about are dying Dying in sin and shame Help me bring them the message Of Calv'ry's redemption In Thy glorious name


Only one life to offer Take it dear Lord I pray Nothing from Thee withholding Thy will I now obey (my Jesus) Thou who hast freely given Thine all in all for me Claim this life for Thine own to be used My Savior ev'ry moment for Thee

Authors: Avis B. Christiansen, Merrill Dunlop

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