Genesis 49:24 (New International Version)
But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.
The place was Camp Kaskitowa and it was a week before the campers would show up. As we got camp ready for the summer one of the jobs was to get the archery range ready. I had never shot a bow before but I figured it couldn't be that hard. As I look back what I remember, it wasn't as easy as I thought. Drawing back the bow took a lot of strength and hitting the target was almost impossible. In fact, if there was an award for ‘missing targets’, I would have been awarded it many times.
As I kept missing the target, my friend told me I was aiming too low. My arrow was lined up for the center of the bulls-eye but each time I let go the arrow, gravity pulled it down, so I missed the mark. As soon as I started to do what my friend told me, I hit the target.
The blessing that Jacob gives to Joseph is one of strength, focus and determination. Joseph has triumphed over adversity and evil. Jacob wants him to continue to be a leader among his brothers, so he blesses him with the strength of an archer, a hunter, and a warrior. Jacob’s God has preserved his son; now the old man wants Joseph to bestow the gifts of perseverance, grit and determination to the rest of the family.
In our own lives, we often miss the marks of faith that God gives us, simply because we aim too low. We worry about budgets and buildings, programs and projects, ministries and missions, which cause us to look down from where God is, and focus on where we are. Only when we begin to look up, to see what God is doing, and start to aim high, will we be able to reach the marks and achievements, the mountaintops and accomplishments that God wants us to fulfill.
Dear Lord we pray that we would turn our eyes upward, so that we may see what You are doing in our church, community, and country. We pray that You will help us to raise our focus and meet the marks that You would have us achieve for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.