FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 49
If you have a Bible that has headings above the chapter breaks, the heading above this chapter probably reads something like “Jacob blesses his sons”. Before I say anything else about this it is critically important to remember that just like the chapter and verse breaks in our Bibles, the chapter headings are not inspired. They are not there by divine revelation or commandment. Chapter and verse breaks enhance our corporate study of the Bible. Chapter headings give us some notion of what we are about to encounter. All of that is really good. But none of that was ordained by God.
So when we read the chapter heading “Jacob blesses his sons” and then we read the chapter, we encounter what feels like a pretty significant disconnect. As we read it, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of blessing going on. So, what is going on?
This chapter is as much prophecy as it is blessing. Jacob walks through each of his twelve sons and speaks into them about their future, sometimes their near future and sometimes their distant future.
As he does that, Jacob gives us insight into not only God’s purposes for these boys but also insight into the boys’ character. At least three of the boys learned that their past conduct had would cost them dearly in the future. The Biblical principle of reaping what we sow has always been and will always be in place. The only exception to that comes from the fact Jesus reaped what we sowed when he died on the cross for our sins and provided for us a way to escape hell.
Even with that, Jacob seems to promise each of the boys/tribes a place in the Promised Land of Canaan. I suspect that that promise was an encouragement to the people of Israel as they stayed in captivity in Egypt for the next four centuries. Surely, some of them talked about these promises that were made to embolden the folks to stay the course.
There is a most interesting thing that I want to call to your attention in verse 18. Jacob says he will wait for your “salvation” or “deliverance”. In the Hebrew language the word used here is actually Yeshua. Yehsua is the Hebrew word for Joshua and it actually means God saves. More importantly than that Yeshua is how Jewish people would have said and still say the name of Jesus. So, in effect, Jacob spoke about waiting for Jesus. Jesus actually shows back up in verse 24 where the Scripture speaks of the “Shepherd” and the “Stone of Israel”. Jesus is literally found throughout the entire Bible.
I am quite convinced that if we slow down a bit in this chapter, there is a wealth of stuff for us here. For example, I haven’t even mentioned the fact that many Bible commentators believe that the blessing/prophecy about Dan in verses 16-17 point to the distinct possibility that the anti-christ will come from that tribe.
And with that little tidbit, I leave you until next time when we finally get to the end of this amazing Book of Beginnings, the Book of Genesis.