The God of Jacob – Genesis 47-50

27 Sep

Jacob

Jacob

 

Wednesday 09/27/17 

Message – The God of Jacob

Series: Thru the Bible – Genesis 47-50

***Video is HERE***

 

The God of Jacob

Genesis 47-48 (We just read and commented)

Chapter 49 – Jacob’s prophetic word over his sons

Vs 3-4 Reuben

  • As 1st born Reuben had certain rights of inheritance, but these he forfeited through pride, dishonoring his father and sexual sin – Gen. 35:22.
  • Unstable as water, you shall not excel: Because of Reuben’s instability the birthright ends up being divided. Usually the firstborn was the spiritual and social leader of the “clan”; but the rights of blessing, priesthood, and ruling authority were divided among the sons of Israel rather than being centralized in one.
  • “You shall not excel”: The tribe of Reuben never did excel. No prophet, no judge, or no king ever came from the tribe of Reuben. Reuben is a great example of how the first can be last (Mat_19:30).
  • Gill says, “the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power; that is, to him of right belonged excellent dignity, power, and authority in the family, a preeminence over his brethren, a double portion of goods, succession in government, and, as is commonly understood, the exercise of the priesthood; and so the Targums interpret it, that he should, had he not sinned, took three parts or portions above his brethren, the birthright, priesthood, and kingdom. Jacob observes this to him, that he might know what he had lost by sinning, and from what excellency and dignity, grandeur and power, he was fallen.”

 

Vs 5-7 Simeon and Levi

 

“Simeon and Levi are brothers;

Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place.

Let not my soul enter their council;

Let not my honor be united to their assembly;

For in their anger they slew a man,

And in their self-will they hamstrung an ox.

Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;

And their wrath, for it is cruel!

I will divide them in Jacob

And scatter them in Israel.”

  • Even as these two are most noted in their lives for the exceeding evil they brought against the men of Schechem, they also shared in the same prophetic pronouncement over their lives – Gen_34:25-29
  • Guzik points out that, “The sins of our past can come back and haunt us. Even when forgiven, they may carry consequences we must face for a lifetime.”
  • Both these brothers had uncontrolled rage and because of the sin produced from their rage Jacob scattered them in Israel.
  • For Simeon, this was manifest by his offspring becoming the tribe with the fewest offspring (Num. 26:14). Their tribe was the 3rd largest when they departed from Egypt 430 years later, but they became the smallest during the wilderness wanderings. 63% of the tribe perished and they became the smallest tribe (Num. 26:14). It is said that this decrease “MAY” have happened during the plague that broke out among the people for fornication and idolatry mentioned in Numbers 25.
  • Also the lot fell to them to share a portion of land appointed to Judah. In fact it was in the middle of the land appointed to Judah. (Josh. 9:1)
  • For Levi, the prophecy took on a different expression. In the same way that God protects the righteous and preserves them – He will also equally not spare the wicked. But what does God do, when a people have been punished due to the sins of their fathers – yet they themselves produce actions of righteousness? God is brilliant – He can both hnor His obligation to punish and yet exalt and preserve all in the same action! You see, in Exodus 32:26-28 we learn that Levi  Because of the faithfulness of this tribe during the rebellion of the golden calf (Exod.32:26-28), their scattering took the form of being separated from Israel for the service of the Lord. They wouold enjoy NO inheritance in the land, but the Lord would be their inheritance! Also to them, the other trtibes would pay tithes of all – Joshua 13:32-33,  “(32) These are the inheritances that Moses distributed in the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan east of Jericho.  (33)  But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance; the LORD God of Israel is their inheritance, just as he said to them.”
  • Guzik offers a GREAT quote here from an American author which I quite personally dislike, but the quote stands alone from the man as being worthy of hearing. It says, “It lightens the stroke to draw near to him who handles the rod.” Guzik then says, “When we suffer from our sin, we should draw near to God and anticipate that in mercy He will turn suffering into blessing.”

 

– Vs 8-12 Judah

 

  • “The scepter shall not depart from Judah.
    • A leader was always present in the Tribe & this point to Christ as well

 

  • “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise;”
    • Again a reference to Christ, though Judah was always the more noble of the tribes.

 

  • Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
    • Mostly a reference to Christ though also true of David being a man of war.
  • Your father’s children shall bow down before you.
    • Again primarily a reference to Christ, but also of David and Solomon

 

  • Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?
    • Judah as a tribe has a rich heritage. Reference is made to a whelp, most probably due to the fact that even though Judah had been a small tribe when they first came into the promised land, they were the first to go up against the Canaanites and overcome them (Judges 1:1) they were strong, courageous and also great in generosity. But as the tribe matured and grew they. Like a mature lion rose to prominence both in separation and ruling like a lion residing on the tops of the mountains after it has be satisified by it’s prey. Like David who after years of war enjoyed peace “had rest from all his enemies” which was also realized throughout the reign of his son Solomon.
    • Of course the greatest realization of this “lion” metaphor was and will be realized in Jesus Who is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah. –  Rev. 5:5

 

  • The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh (Messiah) comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk.”
    • Throughout their history the tribe of Judah distinguished itself from it’s brethren by always having a ruler or governor of some sort until Christ came. Either a king, a sceptre bearer, as there was unto the captivity; or a governor, though under others as in the case of Nehemiah in the Persian Empire, but this happened under the Babylonians, Grecians, and Romans as well. In particular the sanhedrin court, the members were largely of the tribe of Judah, and the head of the sanhedrin was ALWAYS of that tribe, and retained their power to the latter end of Herod’s reign, when Christ came; and though it was greatly diminished, it had some power remaining, even at the death of Christ, but quickly after His resurrection – they had none at all – thus fulfilling this prophecy!!  As such it could be argued that Judah obtained the inherited leadership aspect of birthright which Reuben lost.
      • It is interesting that the rabbis considered it a disaster of unfulfilled Scripture when authority departed from Judah and yet by their estimation, Messiah had not come . So instead of re-evaluating their understanding of scripture, the rabbis walked the streets of Jerusalem and said, “Woe unto us, for the scepter has been taken away from Judah, and Shiloh has not come.” Yet God’s word had not been broken.
      • The portion of the prophecy which mentions wine and milk is both prophetic of the land and produce of Judah whose vineyards were the best, and that of Messiah Himself.
      • “as his donkey to the vine:” may have had a reference to the Gentiles coming to the vine of Christ, since a donkey was considered a base and ignoble creature.

 

 

 

– Vs.13 Zebulun:

 

“Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea;

He shall become a haven for ships,

And his border shall adjoin Sidon.”

  • Zebulun: Jacob now skipped the birth order, moving to the tenth-born and ninth-born sons, but staying with the sons born of Leah.
  • The tribe of Zebulun was noted for its faithfulness to David, supplying the largest number of soldiers to David’s army of any single tribe: of Zebulun there were fifty thousand who went out to battle, expert in war with all weapons of war, stout-hearted men who could keep ranks (1Chron. 12:33).
  • “He shall become a haven for ships:” The tribe of Zebulun’s land which fell to it by lot sate between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee. This was not something they could have controlled – it was the “decision of the Lord”

 

– Vs. 14-15 Issachar

“Issachar is a strong donkey,

Lying down between two burdens;

He saw that rest was good,

And that the land was pleasant;

He bowed his shoulder to bear a burden,

And became a band of slaves.”

  • Issachar was a large tribe – third in size according to the Num_26:1-65 census. Because of their size and abundance, they were often targets of oppressive foreign armies who put them into servitude. Thus, they became a band of slaves.
  • “The meaning seems to be that Issachar was strong, but docile and lazy. He would enjoy the good land assigned him but would not strive for it. Therefore, eventually he would be pressed into servitude and the mere bearing of burdens for his masters.” (Leupold)

 

– Vs. 16-18 Dan:

“Dan shall judge his people

As one of the tribes of Israel.

Dan shall be a serpent by the way,

A viper by the path,

That bites the horse’s heels

So that its rider shall fall backward.

I have waited for your salvation, O LORD!”

 

  • The tribe of Dan did judge His people. They supplied one of the most prominent of the Judges of Israel’s history – Samson Jdg. 13:2.
  • But Dan was also a troublesome tribe.
    • They introduced idolatry into Israel (Jdg_18:30)
    • Jeroboam set up one of his idolatrous golden calves in Dan (1Ki_12:26-30)
    • Dan became a center of idol worship in Israel (Amo_8:14).
    • It is a very interesting idea indeed that the phrase “the serpent by the way” refers to the idea that the Antichrist may come from the tribe of Dan (based on Dan_11:37 and Jer_8:16). Also, some believe that Judas was of the tribe of Dan, but the word  Iscariot means a man from Kerioth in the territory of Judah. WHile this does not make him of that tribe it is at least interesting.
    • It is interesting as well that Dan is left out of the listing of tribes regarding the 144,000 in Rev_7:5-8. But Dan is the first tribe listed in Ezekiel’s millennial roll call of the tribes (Eze_48:1-35). This is a remarkable sign of God’s redemption as the prophecy says, “I have waited for your salvation, O LORD: The Hebrew word for salvation is “yeshuwah.””
    • At this point in the prophecy, when Jacob is so near death, he called out for God’s salvation. He called out for Jesus.

– Vs. 19 Gad:

“Gad, a troop shall tramp upon him,

But he shall triumph at last.”

  • In keeping with his name’s meaning “Behold a troop comes”, The tribe of Gad supplied many fine troops for David (1Chorn. 12:14).
  • However, many times in Gad’s future they would be trampled down by many alien armies. – Jer. 49:1

 

– Vs. 20) Asher:

“Bread from Asher shall be rich,

And he shall yield royal dainties.”

  • As history reveals, this tribe had a enough provisions from their own land as to require no aid from other tribes or lands. Also the land itself was very rich. It was said to be  exceeding fruitful in wine and oil, and especially in the best whea. One particular writer observes that the land contained a valley more than ten miles in length; the soil of which was exceeding rich and produced the most delicate wine and wheat!
  • Also, Moses prophecied concerning Ahser in Deut. 33:24, saying, “Asher is most blessed of sons; let him be favored by his brothers, and let him dip his foot in oil.”

 

– Vs. 21 Naphtali:

“Naphtali is a deer let loose;

He uses beautiful words.”

  • Naphtali’s land was near the Sea of Galilee, the region where Jesus did much of His teaching and ministry. It is fitting therefore to say of this tribe that “he gives goodly words”.
  • Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned” (Matt. 4:12-16).

 

– Vs. 22-26 Joseph:

“Joseph is a fruitful bough,

A fruitful bough by a well;

His branches run over the wall.

The archers have bitterly grieved him,

Shot at him and hated him.

But his bow remained in strength,

And the arms of his hands were made strong

By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob

(From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),

By the God of your father who will help you,

And by the Almighty who will bless you

With blessings of heaven above,

Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,

Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

The blessings of your father

Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors,

Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.

They shall be on the head of Joseph,

And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.”

  • Joseph was truly a fruitful bough
  • The archers have bitterly grieved him: This would most likely refer to his brothers.
  • Guzik says, “Joseph was certainly blessed in his posterity. His tribes were some of the most populous. In this sense, he received the “material blessing,” the double portion aspect of the inheritance of the firstborn.”

 

Jacob reveals things he has learned:

At the end of his days, Jacob now saw just how good God had been to him and he listed those attributes of God he had come to know by name… He was….

  • The Mighty God of Jacob
  • The Shepherd
  • The Stone of Israel
  • The God of your father
  • The Almighty

This is decidedly a great improvement upon his former reference to God as “the God of Abraham or the Fear of his father Isaac” (Gen_31:53). As Guzik, recognized, “Now he knows who God is for himself.”

 

– Vs. 27) Benjamin:

 

“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;

In the morning he shall devour the prey,

And at night he shall divide the spoil.”

  • Benjamin’s was the tribe with a reputation for fierceness.
  • The tribe of Benjamin in one battle won against 400,000 men with only 26,000 men.
  • It is also realized in some of it’s people, like King Saul who as soon as he took the kingdom of Israel, in the morning, in the beginning of that state, fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, Ammon, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines, and the Amalekites, 1Samuel 14:47.
  • Also, Mordecai and Esther, who were of the same tribe, who after the captivity, and in the evening of that state, divided the spoil of Haman, Est_8:1.
  • Also of the Apostle Paul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin and who, in the early morning of his life when he was Saul (and therefore another man) held the coat of a man who along with others stoned Stephen to death and who was (and I quote from Guzik) “a fierce and ravenous persecutor, and made havoc of the church of God” but who in the  evening of his life, spent his days in dividing the spoil of Satan among the Gentiles, taking the prey out of his hands, turning men from the power of Satan unto God, and distributed food to the souls of men. In a spiritual sense he was a warlike man, a good soldier of Christ, and accounted as such, had a warfare to accomplish, and enemies to fight with; and did fight the good fight of faith, conquered, and was more than a conqueror through Christ, and is now crowned: and why may it not be applied to Christ himself, seeing the blessing of Benjamin by Moses, Deut. 33:12 seems to belong to him? he is God’s Benjamin, the son and man of his right hand, as dear to him as his right hand, in whom his power has been displayed, and who is exalted at his right hand; and may as well be compared to a wolf as to a lion, as he is the lion of the tribe of Judah, and as God himself is compared to a lion and bear, Hos. 13:7 and who is expressly said to divide the spoil with the strong, Isa. 53:12 spoiled principalities and powers, delivered his people as a prey out of the hands of the mighty, and will make an utter destruction of all his and their enemies. Some of these things were done in the morning of the Gospel dispensation, and others will be done in the evening of it, Col. 2:15.
  • However, the cruelty of this tribe in general can be seen in Jdg 19:1-30; Jdg. 20:1-48.

 

There is more information in the audio/video of the actual message. I hope you listen, learn and enjoy!

Blessings! 

 

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