Summary: Jacob Blesses His Sons. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Genesis chapter 49 verses 1-28
• A frog went to see a Fortune-teller,
• Gazing into her crystal ball, she said to frog:
“You are going to meet a beautiful young woman. From the moment she sets eyes on you she will have an insatiable desire to know all about you. She will be compelled to get close to you—you’ll fascinate her.”
• The Frog replied: “Where am I? At a singles club?”
• “No!” replied the Fortune-teller: “In a biology class.”
The blessings of Jacob in Genesis chapter 49 also speak about the future:
• For some of his sons it will be good news;
• For others it will be mixed news, both good and bad.
(a). Key observations:
(1). They are Last words (Verse 33):
“When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.”
On the day that Karl Marx died, March 14, 1883:
• His housekeeper came to him and said,
• "Tell me your last words, and I'll write them down."
• Marx replied, "Go on, get out!
• Last words are for fools who haven't said enough!"
Last words can be very revealing.
• Showman P. T. Barnum said, as he was dying, "What were today's receipts?"
• Elizabeth 1st; "All my possessions for a moment of time!"
• The great Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, said as his last words, "Jesus died for me."
• And John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, said, "The best of all is, God is with us."
The dying words of any man should not be taken lightly,
• Especially those spoken by a patriarch; head of the family clan.
• And recorded under the superintendence of the Holy Spirit of God.
(2). They are poetry.
• I hope you have a Bible that distinguishes,
• Poetry from prose (most modern versions do).
• Ill: Prose is when it looks like a newspaper,
• Straight columns.
• Ill: Poetry is when it is written in a lot more space,
• It is very spread out, with much shorter lines.
The different styles of writing conveys to us important truths:
• In prose: God or the person is communicating his thoughts (mind).
• In poetry: God or the person is communicating his feelings (heart).
When you write to a loved one:
• A letter,
• Paragraph upon paragraph - your thoughts.
• Send a valentine card,
• Rhyme or a verse - your feelings.
These blessings of Jacob are poetry:
• These are not the ramblings of a dying old man;
• There are numerous indications in the Hebrew text;
• That these final words of Jacob were thought out carefully in advance.
• Jacob had probably planned and rehearsed this moment again and again and again.
(3). They are prophecy
• While the form of Jacob’s blessings are poetic,
• The substance is actually prophecy.
Jacob’s words will actually reveal “things to come” for his descendants.
• Most of what Jacob predicts is general, it is very broad.
• It is not intended to spell out the future for Jacob’s sons as individuals, but as tribal leaders.
• The future which is foretold is the future of the nation;
• Not individual but collective (verse 28: “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel”)
Jacob’s words do not normally:
• Speak of a particular place, nor of a certain person,
• Nor even of a specific point in time,
• It will speak about the character and disposition of the various tribes;
• Throughout their history.
(4). They are a blessing:
• Genesis chapter 49 verse 28b:
• “He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him”
The blessing of the father to his children was very important:
• All the sons of Jacob were blessed;
• In that they were to be a part of the nation Israel.
• All would enter into the land of Canaan, and all would have an inheritance there.
• Some would certainly receive a greater blessing than others.
• But even those who were rebuked by Jacob and whose future was portrayed as dismal;
• Were also blessed.
(5). They are linked to the past.
One man said to his friend:
• “Say, you look depressed. What are you thinking about?”
• “My future,” was the quick answer.
• “What makes it look so hopeless?”
• “My past.”
• The future which is foretold is not independent of the past,
• But an extension of it.
• In verse 28 we are told that every one of the sons was given;
• “The blessing appropriate to him”.
As we think our way through these blessings of Jacob, we will find that each of them was related to the past.