Sermons

Summary: Getting right with God does not mean we will avoid trials and tragedies, but we can experience God’s help to get through them -- and leave behind a spiritual legacy.

A Messy Life, A Spiritual Legacy

(Genesis 35-49)

[series: The Life of Jacob finale]

1. According to an AP article posted Friday, "Stocks pared their losses and traded mixed Friday after the White House sought to douse fears that the government would nationalize crippled banks.

"White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday afternoon the Obama administration continues to "strongly believe that a privately held banking system is the correct way to go." http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090220/ap_on_bi_st_ma_re/wall_street

2. It is no secret: the stock market, the banking industry, and corporate America are in deep trouble. We have a real mess on our hands.

3. Some people try to get away from the messes of life by cleaning house. Others take up interests that give them a sense of control.

4. But Christians need to be reminded that God is present in the mess, He uses the mess, and sometimes He wants us to be in a mess.

Main Idea: Getting right with God does not mean we will avoid trials and tragedies, but we can experience God’s help to get through them -- and leave behind a spiritual legacy.

I. Jacob’s Life Was Filled With TRIALS and Tragedies

We don’t want to go into detail in this points; we are covering necessary ground to set the stage for understanding what follows.

A. Rachel DIES giving birth to Benjamin (35:19)

She is prophetically buried near Bethlehem, where she is pictured as weeping during the slaughter of the innocents after Jesus was born…

B. Jacob becomes DISENCHANTED with his oldest, Reuben (35:20)

You can read the text. We got into enough awkward stuff last week.

His behavior meant that Jacob was now disposed to give the rights of a firstborn son to another one of his sons. This comes into play later in our text, as we shall see.

C. Jacob favors Joseph and makes him a special COAT (37:3-4)

Parental favoritism is detrimental to a family, and has consequences.

D. Joseph’s brothers sell him as a SLAVE (37:17-30)

E. They lie and break Jacob’s HEART (37: 31-35)

Getting right with God does not mean we will avoid trials and tragedies, but we can experience God’s help to get through them -- and leave behind a spiritual legacy.

II. Jacob BLESSES His Heirs (48-49)

A. JACOB and Joseph are reunited in Egypt (46:28-30)

Let’s take a moment to read this text and try to envision the emotion of the moment.

Joseph is also somewhat reconciled to his brothers; he has forgiven them, but they do not trust that he has actually forgiven them.

Genesis 50:18-21, "His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. ’We are your slaves,’ they said. But Joseph said to them, ’Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them."

B. Jacob makes Joseph PROMISE to bury him in Canaan (47:27-31)

Could be an emotional request than anything else. But probably more theological: he wants to be remembered as being buried in the land God promised his descendents.

Much of the conflict in the Middle East today is over this same issue: whose land is the land of Canaan? Does it belong to the Arabs or the Jews? Did God truly give the land to Jacob and his descendents or not?

C. Joseph is given the BLESSING of the firstborn (48:5-11)

• "Jacob blessed his sons in accordance with the innermost spiritual characteristic of each… each person is born with his or her own unique personality and destiny. We need to recognize the gift God has given us and to develop ourselves accordingly. Each person should aim to establish his inner foundation before he can progress in the purposes of God…" A Dash of Drash, K. Prior

• Should have been REUBEN’S

Reuben oldest, Simeon second oldest. But they had massacred the men of Shechem’s family, so both were disqualified.

• Additionally, Joseph was the firstborn son of Jacob’s favored wife, Rachel.

1. A DOUBLE portion

2. Grandsons Ephraim & Manasseh considered SONS

• Note that this, in a sense, makes for 13 tribes. But the listing of the tribes throughout Scripture is fluid. Sometimes one tribe is left out or Joseph is included as a separate tribe. If have a paper on the our website about why the tribe of Dan is left out of Revelation 7 -- if you are interested, I have spelled out the details there. Ephraim and Manasseh are called the "half tribes" at times to make the mat work.

• David Guzik comments on why there are 12 tribes, although defined with variation:

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