Saturday, November 19, 2016

TheLifeOfJoseph : Genesis 49

All has been spoken by the end of this chapter...Nothing has been left out. 

Jacob (Israel) after saying all these things, 'drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people' (vs .33). It almost sounds overly un-dramatic...but Jacob's words carried with them a prophetic theme. His sons would remember their father's words and they would carry them deep within their souls and, literally, live and die with them on their lips; their futures were set out before them and we can see clearly that these words of Jacob's were not from a dying man wishing his sons would be comforted, but they are words of prophecy as to who his sons would be and the tribes would be after them.

The Old Testament books following Jacob's words work out these prophecies in great detail. I am not an Old Testament theologian so cannot speak with much intelligence into these future happenings of these people-groups, but what we see here is the LORD using a man to speak into the lives of his sons and what they, and their descendants after them, would be. I have relied heavily on Wiersbe's Old Testament Commentary to understand more fully Jacob's words to his sons - please see Wiersbe's synopses of these tribes below.

Please notice half-way through Jacob's commissioning of his sons, though, we read this statement: For your salvation I wait, I LORD (vs. 18). These are more than just words to his sons. Jacob knows that these, literally, were his last words, and he, more than ever, is depending on the LORD for them. Again, we read that after these words, '[he] breathed his last, and was gathered to his people'.  

What would our last words be to our sons and daughters below us before we are 'gathered to our people'? What words of prophecy can we say to the people around us in order for His will to be spoken into the lives of His people? As mentioned in a previous entry, commissioning is something that I believe we definitely could do more of in our Christian culture. Frankly, I wonder if we are too afraid to speak into people's lives 'by the Word of the LORD' for fear we might be wrong. I know, personally, that I have been shocked by people who have said they had been speaking the very words of the LORD and, by living my life later, found they were wrong. So, discernment is very much a discipline that we need to have very firmly on our hearts as we hear these words of people, as is just as important are the people to have discernment when speaking them to us. 

But conversely, may there never be the road-block by which we choose not to speak (or listen) when the LORD chooses to use us or speak to us so we can speak to others of His Sovereignty. I know, on the other hand, I have benefited greatly from people desiring to be used of the LORD. When the words of the LORD are flowing off of someone's lips directly into my soul, I know it. I have been both heavily convicted as well as admonished and encouraged when these times have been sweet with the LORD's Presence.

May we freely desire to be used of the LORD in any and all circumstances, both to listen and to speak. May we, as a conduit, desire the LORD to use us, and as the receiver, receive the words of the LORD freely.

Please see below a synopsis by Wiersbe of each of the Sons of Jacob (taken from Wiersbe's Old Testament Commentary):

The Sons of Leah
Of Leah’s six sons, three lost God’s best blessings because of their sins: Reuben, Simeon, and Levi. They remind us that purity and self-control are essential to godly character. Zebulun and Isaachar were “everyday people” whose tribes served others but weren’t especially known for their exploits. We need farmers and merchants if the machinery of life is to run smoothly. Finally, only one son—Judah—was preeminent among his brothers, the royal tribe that conquered enemies and produced kings, including the King of kings, Jesus Christ.

The Sons of Bilhah
Bilhah, Rachel’s maid, was given to Jacob to bear him children because Rachel was at that point childless (30:1–8). The descendants of Bilhah’s two sons seem to be contrasting peoples. Dan turned away from faith in the true God and trusted in idols. The people of Dan became a deceptive people who exploited others to get what they wanted. But Naphtali has no judgment against it. When the Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom of Israel, Naphtali was one of the first tribes to be taken and deported (2 Kings 15:29).

The Sons of Zilpah
Zilpah was Leah’s maid, given to Jacob to bear him more children after Leah had ceased bearing (30:9–13). However, later Leah gave birth to Isaachar, Zebulun, and Dinah (vv. 14–21). 

The Sons of Rachel
Jacob didn’t hesitate to make it known that Rachel was his favorite wife and that her two sons were his favorite children. This kind of favoritism caused a great deal of trouble in the family, and yet God overruled it to accomplish His own purposes. Jacob said more about Joseph than about any of the other sons, but he didn’t have much to say about Benjamin. 

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