Jacob’s life is coming to an end. He calls his 12 sons around him and makes predictions about their future and the future of their descendants. These predictions are called blessings. Some could be called curses. Jacob submitted to the Holy Spirit so these blessings were impowered by God. These would become the 12 tribes of Israel. Some would be strong and some would be weak. Some would be large and some would be small. They all would make up 1 nation called Israel and they would enter the Promised Land of Caanan.
Some Christians today are strong and some are weak, but we all are 1 in Christ Jesus. We all have a Promised Land, heaven as our eternal home. We all have been blessed with different gifts and we all have the same heavenly Father. Like the 12 sons we all have faults and shortcomings, but God made them 1 nation and us 1 body in Christ and uses us for His glory.
Reuben is described as “my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power. Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it.” – Gen. 49:3-4. If you remember Reuben slept with his father’s concubine in Gen. 35:22. Jacob is telling Reuben that he is just like water, unstable. He had no self-control. Matt. 6:22 say if your eyes are bad then your whole body is full of darkness. 1 bad deed corrupts the whole body. James 1:6-8 says, “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” Jacob considered Rueben as unstable and double-minded. It takes only 1 sin to mess up your life. Example: driving drunk and hitting someone and killing them.
Jacob described Simeon and Levi as having swords of violence. In Gen. 34 they took revenge on the men of Shechem when his sister Dinah was raped by killing all the men. Jacob said this was cruel and that they would be scattered throughout Israel. They would get no inheritance.
Despite their sins, God is full of grace. God sets apart Levi and his descendants to carry the Ark of the Covenant. They would have no inheritance because they had the Lord as their inheritance. They would be a tribe of priests between God and Israel.
How do you suffer from a former sin?Do you receive comfort from what God did for Levi?
Do you let your anger lead you to sin?
Judah received the key promises. He received praised, power and prosperity. Jacob described Judah as powerful and predicted a royal line coming from him. “Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness -- who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs” – Gen. 49:8-10. This is the prophecy about the Messiah. Rev. 5:5 – “See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.” God chose Judah showing that we do not deserve grace. God put us where He wants us to fulfill His plan.
The praising and courageous Christian will always possess the scepter of power - God’s power. The scepter of spiritual power has left some Christians today, because of their cowardliness and unfaithfulness to God.
Christ will triumph over all. This encourages us to trust Him in our circumstances today. He is in control over all. Nothing can separate us from Him. Praise God!
Jacob prophesied about Zebulun. He would live by the sea. Matt. 4:13-16 shows this prophecy was fulfilled.
Issacar would be a farmer and settle in the valley of Esdraelon which was subject to raids. He would become lazy and satisfied not defending his land and would become a servant to his enemies. He is like a lot of Christians today. They have all the strength of Christ, but remain timid and weak. They become lazy and want to be comfortable in their Christianity.
Dan’s descendants would provide justice for the people. These are seen in the book of Judges. One of the great judges was Samson. Today a spiritual Dan can discern and judge people. They know how to apply the truth.
Jacob described and blesses Joseph in Gen 49:22-26 -”Joseph is a fruitful vine” (He prospered in Potiphar’s house and when he was in jail. He was second in command in Egypt). “With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility.” (His brothers sold him into slavery and Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him.) “But his bow remained steady his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob”. (He remained faithful to God. God was always with him and helped him through all his hardships.) Joseph is the example of an ideal Christian today. Through all his hardships he remained strong.
Joseph’s blessings were transferred to his 2 sons, Ephraim and Manasseh as seen in Deu. 33:13-17. Their land was blessed, they had the best gifts of earth and they had God’s favor.
The blessings of Benjamin are not seen in Gen. 49, but are seen in Deu. 33:12. “About Benjamin he said: Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”
What type of Christian are you?Are you praising and courageous or unstable?
Are you comforting and consoling or self-willed?
Are you joyful and fruitful?
Genesis 49:29-33 – Jacob Dies
Jacob gave final instructions to his sons which showed his faith in God’s promise He made in Gen. 28:4. God said He would bring them back to the land God gave to him and his descendants. So Jacob wanted to be buried there with the rest of his family.
These scriptures prophecy the blessings for Christians and say what a person must do to receive the blessing:Acts 20:35 – We are to work hard and help the weak and we will be blessed.
Romans 4:7-8 – If we believe in Jesus, our sins are covered and not counted against us.
Ephesians 1:3 – If we believe in Jesus, we will be blessed with every spiritual blessing.
Titus 2:13 – Jesus is our blessing and we must wait for Him to return.
James 1:12 – The crown of life is our blessing. We must persevere and stand the test.
1 Peter 3:9 – We will inherit a blessing, if we bless others.
Revelation 1:3 – We are blessed if we read the Word of prophecy and take it to heart.
Eph. 2:4-8 – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Jacob’s sons were not the cream of the crop and neither were the 12 disciples. It was God’s grace. Grace means unmerited favor like that in Rom. 4:1-8. Jacob’s sons illustrate that truth. We can learn from their mistakes. When we are weak, He is strong.
Will you learn from Reuben’s mistakes, before it’s too late? Are you double-minded?
Are you like Judah so that your life can give praise to God?
Are you like Issahar so happy and comfortable that you are not prepared when faced with danger from the enemy?
Are you like Joseph with roots in God’s Word that you live by?
Do you still make excused why you cannot turn from your sin and receive God's gift of grace? Ask God right now for His grace and repent and believe in Him.