Summary: A sermon using the 12 tribes as types of Christians.



Some of the world’s unhappiest people are Christians. A man once described today’s Christians in this manner.

= “Some Christians are too Christian to enjoy sinning but too sinful to enjoy their Christianity.”

= “Some Christians have enough religion to keep them out of the bar on Saturday night, but not enough to keep the out of the deer woods – lake – or the golf course – etc…”

= “Some Christians have enough religion to recognize their need for prayer, but not enough to take them to prayer meeting on Wednesday night.”

= “Some Christians have enough religion to keep them from reading obscene materials but not enough for them to read their Bible daily.”

Why do we se this so true in so many people today?


“Which Kind Are You?”

A lot of Christians are like wheelbarrows—not good unless pushed.

Some are like kites—if you don’t keep a string on them, they fly away.

Some are like kittens—they are more contented when petted.

Some are like a football—you can’t tell what way they will bounce next.

Some are like balloons—full of hot air and ready to blow up.

Some are like trailers—they have to be pulled.

Some are like neon lights—they keep going on and off.

Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations: [a treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers]. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

 Jacob’s life is coming to an end; so he calls his sons around him and begins to make predictions about their future and their descendants.

 The predictions are called “blessings” in a general sense. Some would be considered a curse.

 ?? What is the difference between a blessing and a curse??

 In 49:1, we find Jacob’s dying and prophetic benediction. ”I will tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.”

 Taught by the Holy Spirit, empowered by God, Jacob is able to declare the consequences that will surely follow the already well-defined characteristics found among his own sons.

 The features of Jacob’s sons, with their results, are still being manifested among their descendants today – even the children of God.

 We still have among us…

1. Unstable Reuben’s (3-4)

 Reuben had many Excellencies: 1] dignity, 2] power, 3] firstborn, 4] Jacob’s might and the beginning of his strength but being “unstable as water”, he did not excel.

 He became one of the minor tribes and not one judge, prophet or king from this tribe.

 Reuben’s sin with his father’s concubine cost him his birthright. (Gen 35:22)

 The sins of our past, even when forgiven, can really come back to haunt us.

 Reuben is that “double-minded man” that James described in James 1:6-8.

 Reuben is the type of Christian that has many excellent gifts, but has one major besetting sin that acts like the fly in the ointment – SELF-CONTROL.

 Sin always produces instability and leads to the loss of our 1] birthright, 2] our spiritual power, 3] our spiritual dignity 4] our steadfastness.

 If you are a feelings/passion driven person you will not excel in the work of God.

2. Self-Willed Simeons and Levi’s (49:5-7)

 Time had not changed Jacob’s feelings with regard to the crime these two sons had committed. His soul harbored the same response to the acts as it did when he said, “ye have troubled me.” (34:30)

 How much of the trouble that comes upon us and others have at its roots and cause the same evil source of self-will.

 The real problem with Simeon and Levi was their anger. (…in their anger… cursed be their anger, for it was fierce.” Their anger was sin because it sprang from the root of self-will.

 Often, the only difference between a godly righteous anger and ungodly anger is self-will.

 No wonder Jacob said, “O my soul, come thou not into their secret.”

 The conduct of these two sons led to division and scattering.

 One to a blessing. Levi, because of its faithfulness at the episode of the golden calf was scattered throughout the tribe as a blessing.

 The other to a curse. Simeon started out from Egypt as the 3rd largest tribe, 35 years later, 63% had perished (David Guzik: Blue Letter Bible) eventually being absorbed into the tribe of Judah.

 Division and Scattering are always the fruits of a self-willed, self-seeking spirit.

 Do as Jesus did and pray, “not my will but thine be done”, let the cursed self-will go by the way of the cross.


 The name Judah literally means the “praise of Jehovah”

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