Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
April 15: Late, because of internet down.
Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
Gen 49:1 (MSG)
Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather around. I want to tell you what you can expect in the days to come.”
“Then Jacob called for his sons and said, “Assemble yourselves [around me] that I may tell you what will happen to you and your descendants [a]in the days to come.”-AMPLIFIED
Jacob calls all of his sons to come to his bedside; for the time of his passing from this life into the next is quickly approaching. Genesis 49 is often referred to as “The Blessings of Jacob”; although it contains not only blessings, but curses too. This is to be Jacob’s last will and testament. He informs his sons that he would tell them of what was to happen in the days to come. Some of what he had to say was good and some was not so good.
Make note of the fact that the blessings and curses that are contained within this chapter where not only intended for Jacob’s sons, but also for the tribes that they each represented. In fact, Wycliffe Bible Commentary shares these thoughts on Jacob’s prophecy, “Jacob called unto his sons, and said, “Gather yourselves together …. and hear.” In his farewell address to his sons, Jacob rose to the unusual stature of a prophet speaking in the poetic language of inspiration. He summoned each son in turn to his bedside to hear words of blessing, of censure, or of curse. In each case he singled out some striking trait of character as his appraisal of the man and his family group. Jacob’s words constituted a prediction of future developments based on the father’s knowledge of the character of each son. The men understood their father’s solemn utterances to be significant and determinative predictions.”
In verse 2 Jacob once again encourages the sons to; “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel.” God is using Jacob to not only bring blessing on his boys, but judgement too. (For we find that Simeon and Levi were to be punished for their violence.) Each son would receive a blessing or a curse based on their own personal character and conduct. (Oh, let us be careful of how we live and conduct our lives.)
1.)Reuben-was entitled to leadership and a double inheritance, but received neither. Instead, he was told he would no longer excel.
2.)Simeon-allowed violence and anger to rule him; so his descendants were to be scattered.
3.)Levi-also allow violence and anger to rule him. His descendants were dispersed throughout the Promise Land.
4.)Judah-his brothers would bow before him. Out of Judah would come the Lion of Judah, the Messiah.
5.)Zebulun-would live along the sea and become a haven for ships and feast on the abundance of the sea.
6.)Issachar-will be strong and heard-working, but will be subjected to hard labor.
7.)Dan-will bring justice to the people, but he will also bring treachery.
8.)Gad-would be attacked, but he will not be overcome.
9.)Asher-will be blessed with rich food and provide delicacies to the king.
10.)Naphtali-a lover of freedom is likened to a hind, or deer set free. His would be a free spirit, enjoying the outside.
11.)Joseph-a man of vision and spiritual strength would be fruitful and multiply greatly. He would be unwavering in his loyalty to God.
12.)Benjamin-would be like a raving wolf, warlike in character; fierce in battle.
Each son was prophesied over and God gave to them according to their character and attitude. Consider what each of Jacob’s sons were thinking as they stood by their dying father’s bedside and he pronounced either blessing or judgement upon them. It must have been a very eye-opening moment for each of them. God sees us for who we truly are; He sees our very heart. Oh, be careful little mind and heart! Let us be known as men and woman of good character and attitudes.
Father, God, I want you to be proud of me. Let me make wise decisions that will be glorying to you. Help me to follow the example that your Son, Jesus, left for your children to follow. I want my light to shine bright for you. I definitely want to be on the receiving end of your blessings and not your punishment. Let me listen to the promptings of your Holy Spirit; so that I live a life that is worthy of you.