Summary: By studying Genesis 49 we will be reminded that we can TRUST the Bible even when modern culture rejects it.
Can you trust the Bible? When we say “yes - I believe the Bible,” I think that what many of us are saying is that we believe the STORIES, the MIRACLES, the TRUTHFULNESS of the Bible. We do not doubt the content of the Bible, but do we FOLLOW the Bible? Do we believe it enough that God’s Word is the predominant influence in our lives, or do we simply affirm that we believe the Bible but in actuality follow the crowd around us?
In “The Disciple Making Church,” Bill Hull addresses the dishonesty that often display as Christians. He writes, writes, "The people sitting in the pew are products of television more than the Word of God. Their world views are not scripturally based; rather they disciples of their culture." (Bill Hull, "The Disciple Making Pastor.)
That is a stunning statement, but one that I believe has great merit. We need to be reminded about the truthfulness of the Bible, not just the stories in the Bible but the very Scriptures themselves. One way for us to regain this confidence in Scriptures is to examine the accuracy of the Bible.
Today, we come to an amazing portion of Scripture affirming the accuracy of the Bible.
By studying Genesis 49 we will be reminded that we can TRUST the Bible even when modern culture rejects it. We will also be encouraged to FOLLOW the commands of Scripture because God’s Word is more trustworthy than the ideas of our contemporary world.
I. First, Let’s examine The Significance of Jacob’s Prophecies
Jacob is at the end of his life. He is ready to die, content and satisfied that God has fulfilled all that He had promised. Jacob has lived to witness the miracle that Joseph is still alive and is second in command in Egypt. He has been assured of God’s presence all of his life. Now he is passing on his blessing to his sons and providing each one with an analysis of their lives and an exhortation to live for God.
Jacob’s prophecy is not the first in Genesis, but it is the longest prophetic section in the book. The FIRST prophecy is Gen 3:15, and it is the foundation for all Biblical prophecy. In this “first gospel” fallen humanity is promised that God would send a redeemer to rescue them from the curse brought into the world through their sin. That Redeemer would be born of a woman and would permanently defeat Satan - clear references to Christ.
Here in Genesis 49, in his blessing for his sons, Jacob speaks to the future (49:1 “I will tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.”) These prophetic words were fulfilled exactly as Jacob spoke them!
There are TWO kinds of Prophecies in the Old Testament. First, there are prophecies that remain UNFULFILLED - prophecies such as the Seconding Coming of Christ, the Resurrection of the Saints and the future Millenial Kingdom.
Second, there are FULFILLED PROPHESIES. We have already seen some examples in Genesis
1. Israel will be in Egypt 400 years (Genesis 15:13 (ESV) “Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.”
2. 7 Years of Abundance, 7 Years of Famine.
JACOB’S PROPHECIES are an example of FULFILLED Biblical prophesy! By observing these prophecies and their fulfillment, we can ascertain that the Bible can be TRUSTED. Old Testament scholar Will Varner writes, “Jacob’s deathbed blessings on his sons recorded in Genesis 49 provide on of the most amazing examples of predictive prophecy in the Bible.” (Will Varner, “Jacob’s Dozen,” (23)
II. Second, Let’s look specifically at The ACCURACY of Jacob’s Prophecy. We will do this by focusing on TWO of the prophetic sections - the ones that relate to REUBEN and JUDAH
These prophecies were FUTURE from the time that Jacob spoke them. Most of them were fulfilled in later years, particularly during the time of the Judges - before the kingly reign of David. The prophecy that “the scepter would not depart from Judah” was not fulfilled in until David - from the tribe of Judah - was anointed King. That prophecy will not be completely fulfilled until Jesus, the SON of David rules on his earthly throne during the coming Millenial Kingdom. But for the other prophecies, we can see the fulfillment taking place when Israel wages war against the neighboring nations. “Most of the blessings pronoucned on Jacob’s sons were fulfilled during the period of the Judges, approximately six to seven hundred years after Jacob’s death.” (Varner, 25)
The prophecy for REUBEN was that he was “unstable as water” Genesis 49:3-4
In Jacob’s review of Reubin’s life, he is chastised for a sin he committed many years earlier. Reuben’s sin was sleeping with his father’s wife, Bilhah Genesis 35:22 (ESV) While Israel lived in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine. And Israel heard of it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve.