Genesis 49

Genesis 49 has a family gathering at Jacob’s death bed.  “Jacob called his sons and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come”.  Jacob does some blessing and vision casting for his boys.  It’s been quite a ride together as a family, and now Jacob has them all together for one last time before he passes away.  He brings them together and one by one talks about their future.  This is where he tells Rueben and Simeon that they have blown their place in the future of his lineage through their sinful acts.

Here is the list and words from Jacob:

  1. Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfruits of my strength….Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it
  2. Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords….in their anger they killed men, and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen
  3. Judah is a lion’s cub….The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples
  4. Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea
  5. Issachar is a strong donkey
  6. Dan shall judge his people
  7. Raiders shall raid Gad, but he shall raid at their heels.
  8. Asher’s food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies.
  9. Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears beautiful fawns.
  10. Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall
  11. Benjamin is a ravenous wolf

He talks individually to each of his boys, one by one, except for Simeon and Levi which he addresses together since they committed their sins as one.  Powerful way to say goodbye, as he gives direction for their future and lets them know what lies ahead.  As parents, we can learn much from Jacob’s example here.  We need to speak truth into our kids, even at an older age, and share what God has given us as a message for each of them.  Too often we aren’t very good about sharing God’s vision for our children when we may well be the messenger God wants to use to deliver it.

This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him”.  Jacob is ready to head to eternity with God, and gives one last command.  “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah”.  He wanted to go back home and be buried where his dad and grandfather were laid to rest.  Then he was ready to go to the Lord.  “When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people”.  Are you ready with your legacy?  Is it in place and has it been communicated?

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