1999-02-20 - Genesis
Genesis 49It is difficult to expound all the details of this amazing prophecy in one devotional, so I will undoubtedly spend a few weeks with this chapter. History has shown that Jacob's words came true. Certainly there is a lesson here of personal responsibility, and accountability - for some of the tribes lost their blessingsbecause of the sins of their founders. Sin never pays. There is a way that "seems" right to a man but in the end leads to death.
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, But the end thereof are the ways of death.
Hopefully we are not found wise in our own eyes, but rather we are found walking by faith and not by sight.
I always find it valuable when I can see just how something ticks from historical, true, Bible stories. Israel certainly gives us many lessons to keep in mind. They are lessons that we should apply and also encourage our church families to apply to their lives. They are lessons we should remember so we can make beneficial and correct decisions.
And about those lessons from Israel, the Apostle Paul (a Jew himself) wrote:
I Corinthians 10:10-12 - Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer. Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Some have said that Exodus 34:6-7 is a difficult passage to understand. Keep in mind that a man will reap what he sows and often times what he sows affects his family after him. As true born again believers we do not have to live a life of transcended sin, but we have to make choices - right - choices --not just the ones that seem right but the ones God commands us to make for the welfare and well being of everyone.
Exodus 34:6-7 - And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation.
Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Keeping in mind the above two passages of Scripture let us examine point number one Reuben in our devotional on Genesis 49. I have taken the liberty of placing the passage of Scripture in it's entirety below.
Genesis chapter 49- And Jacob called unto his sons, and said: gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the latter days. Assemble yourselves, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; And hearken unto Israel your father. Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength; The pre-eminence of dignity, and the pre-eminence of power. Boiling over as water, thou shalt not have the pre-eminence; Because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; Then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch. Simeon and Levi are brethren; Weapons of violence are their swords. O my soul, come not thou into their council; Unto their assembly, my glory, be not thou united; For in their anger they slew a man, And in their self-will they hocked an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; And their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, And scatter them in Israel. Judah, thee shall thy brethren praise: Thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; Thy father's sons shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp; From the prey, my son, thou art gone up: He stooped down, he couched as a lion, And as a lioness; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh come: And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be. Binding his foal unto the vine, And his ass's colt unto the choice vine; He hath washed his garments in wine, And his vesture in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, And his teeth white with milk. Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; And he shall be for a haven of ships; And his border shall be upon Sidon. Issachar is a strong ass, Couching down between the sheepfolds: And he saw a resting-place that it was good, And the land that it was pleasant; And he bowed his shoulder to bear, And became a servant under taskwork. Dan shall judge his people, As one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent in the way, An adder in the path, That biteth the horse's heels, So that his rider falleth backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O Jehovah. Gad, a troop shall press upon him; But he shall press upon their heel. Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, And he shall yield royal dainties.Naphtali is a hind let loose: He giveth goodly words.Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a fountain; His branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved him, And shot at him, and persecuted him: But his bow abode in strength, And the arms of his hands were made strong, By the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, (From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel), Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee, And by the Almighty, who shall bless thee, With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that coucheth beneath, Blessings of the breasts, and of the womb. The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. Benjamin is a wolf that raveneth: In the morning he shall devour the prey, And at even he shall divide the spoil. All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them. And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place. there they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah: the field and the cave that is therein, which was purchased from the children of Heth. And when Jacob made an end of charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.
Ok - lets take Reubenpoint #1, the firstborn should have inherited everything from his birthright as the firstborn but he did not. The reason is given and further light can be found in these two passages :
I Chronicles 5:1-2 And the sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel (for he was the first-born; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's couch, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the prince; but the birthright was Joseph's).
Genesis 35:20 And it came to pass, while Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard of it.
There is a classic example of reaping what you sow. Next in line are a couple of his brothers Simeon and Levi. They decided to show some extreme cruelty and guess what? Sin did not pay. Simeon was eventually absorbed into the Tribe of Judah and Levi inherited nothing. By Gods grace Levi was given the priesthood over Israel yet had no inheritance of his own.
Joshua 19:1 - And the second lot came out for Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families: and their inheritance was in the midst of the inheritance of the children of Judah.
At this juncture I would like to say that my point is not about lost inheritance or anger. It is about the willingness to choose a sinful example, that affected their lives and the lives of their descendants. My point is that if a person is truly saved, redeemed, bought with the blood of the lamb, baptized into his death … then he can live by the Spirit of God and not only can he do that - but he is admonished to do it!
A very well known and respected Pastor of our century once said," Anyone who does not love has no right to call themselves a Christian." If we love God and we love our families and we love Gods church (and we sometimes are mature enough to even show love to our enemies) then the Words of the Apostle Paul from Romans chapter 6 will give you a sure reason to do what you know to be right. If not then maybe the realization that what you do will affect others, might help you to do what is right.
But if trouble still persists and deep in your heart, when you are all alone at night and you know there really is not that peace of God in your heart, perhaps you may need to check and see if you really are in the faith and that starts at the cross. There and only there can your sins be washed as white as snow. There and only there will God impart the true Holy Spirit to your thirsty soul, not just a "head knowledge" but truth imparted unto your heart. For without a "heart knowledge" no one can by the arm of the flesh, truly have the fruits of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. We can fill our brains with knowledge of the Bible and sure we can "act" like we have the fruit or "pretend" to ourselves that we have the fruit of the Spirit, but if this is the case it never lasts. A wise man once called it "plastic fruit." It is not about your church ( denomination by choice salvation is by grace) or your attendance or your good works or your "own" righteousness for all of our works are but filthy rags in God's sight. So my friends, I urge you to read these Scripture passages below and ponder the lessons from Israel's history and think about this little quote that passed me on a bumper sticker of a car "KNOW God KNOW peace NO God NO peace."
II Corinthians 13:5 Try your own selves, whether ye are in the faith; prove your own selves. Or know ye not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed ye be reprobate.
Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof. If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.
In closing, I would like to say that I hope this devotional leads you to think seriously about your own life, I also hope it leads you to allow the Lord God to have HIS way in your life. And remember the choices you make will bless or curse you and perhaps the family you love.
In His Service,