And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days: (
If you are taking a trip somewhere that I have been, you are wise to listen to me before you travel. I can tell you the best road to take, good places to eat, where to stay, and what to see. If there are places to avoid, I can warn you. We have the experiences of spiritual pilgrims recorded in Scripture. “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (
1 Cor.10:11) There are life lessons from Jacob’s prophetic
blessing in Genesis 49.
Reuben was commended for his strength (v.3), but condemned for his lack of stability (v.4), which led to immoral sensuality. We are warned of being, “a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (
James 1:8) Such are bound to trip and fall.
If Reuben’s problem was instability then Simeon and Levi’s was cruelty (v.5-7). Rather than controlling their anger, it dominated them. “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (
Zebulun and Issachar teach us about opportunity (v.13-15). Zebulun would seize it, and Issachar would shun it. Dwelling by the sea, Zebulun’s heirs would master commerce. Issachar’s strength gave great potential, but indifference led to enslavement. God gives us such wisdom in His Word about financial matters, but too often, “the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.” (
Dan warns us of duplicity (v.16-18). He is pictured as a serpent lying in wait, striking the unsuspecting. In this he is like his spiritual father—the Devil. Our only hope to escape the same sin and sentence is to cry out to God for salvation (v.18).
Gad, Asher and Naphtali will experience victory and exhibit prosperity (v.19-21). So should we: “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (
Joseph’s life lesson instructs us in purity (v.22-26). His painful experiences were God’s pruning to prepare him for fruitfulness. They had a refining quality that molded his character into a vessel God could us. A sanctified life is one God delights to bless.
Benjamin teaches us about activity (v.27). Morning and evening would find him on the move. His productivity would lead to prosperity. God never blesses laziness! Do we, like Benjamin, have an appetite to achieve?
As you look into the mirror of God’s Word here, what do you see about your life?